How to Cope With Anxiety After a Breakup
One of the biggest signs of anxiety after a breakup is a restless fear of the future. Here are a few ways to cope with anxiety after a breakup. You are worthy of being loved, cared for, and cherished by someone who will be grateful to have you!
The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry by John Forsyth and Georg Eifert will help you cope with anxiety after a breakup. They use acceptance and commitment therapy to help us see how our minds trap us, keeping us stuck and struggling in anxiety and fear.
To cope with anxiety after a breakup, you need to learn how to nurture your capacity for acceptance, mindfulness, kindness, and compassion. My tips below will help, but they’re only a starting point. The best way to heal is to systematically work through your anxious feelings. If your anxiety doesn’t go away a few months after the breakup, you might think about calling a counselor to help you work through your feelings.
“A terrible thing happened to you, but you mustn’t let it define your life.” ~ Cheryl Strayed. The key to finding peace after a breakup – and coping with the anxiety you feel – is to refuse to allow the breakup to define who you are.
I don’t know if your breakup was terrible (perhaps your ex betrayed you by cheating or stealing) or if you are depressed and anxious for other reasons (maybe you have pre-existing health or career problems). But, regardless of why you’re consumed with anxiety, the first step is to accept that breaking is a huge life stress.
The breakup is a loss you need to grieve – but it doesn’t define who you are or how valuable you are.
5 Tips for Coping With Anxiety After a Breakup
You broke up, you know it’s better this way, and yet you can’t seem to adjust to being “broke up.” I hope these tips for coping with anxiety after a breaking up help ease the pain – or at least give you a new way to think about your life.
1. Trust that you are being taken care of
Today I heard the best tip for coping with anxiety after a breakup: Trust that you are being taken care of by God (or the Universe), and that you have nothing to worry about. You are loved and cherished, and you have nothing to worry about. You have no need to be anxious, scared, or worried about your future. The breakup hasn’t destroyed your life. You are just as lovable as you were before the breakup, and anxiety has no place in your heart, body, or mind.
In fact, the breakup may be the best thing that has ever happened to you – especially if you start thinking about specific ways to start over after a bad relationship.
2. Stop anxiously clawing up the wall
“When you hit a wall, you must not claw at it. Back up. Take a look around. Let go of your needs and desires, and surrender.” – Iyanla Vanzant.
What are you fighting against – and what do you need to surrender to? Think about the biggest three adjustments you’ve had to make now that you’re living alone. Is it possible to stop fighting those adjustments, and instead start flowing with them? Whether the adjustments are big or little, they still sting. Accept the breakup – and even your anxiety about breaking up – as if you’d chosen it. Because in some ways, you have.
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3. Start letting go of the way you were
The reason my article about letting go of someone you love has been in my Top 10 since the day I wrote it is because we struggle to accept loss. We fight reality, and rail against the truth. We refuse to accept what is right in front of us, and it makes us miserable. Life is loss and pain. It’s also full of incredible riches, people, and experiences! What do you want to focus on? It’s up to you. You decide. One of the best tips on how to cope with anxiety after a breakup is to change your mindset and thought patterns.
4. Wrestle with your inner demons
Here’s a wonderful tip for coping with anxiety after a breakup, from Forbes.com:
“Take some time, hard as it may be, to reflect on why your relationship went wayward. Maybe you and your ex were never really compatible to begin with. Maybe you entered into your relationship or marriage with unrealistic expectations. Maybe you have a tendency to want to “save” those you love.
One of the perks of living on your own is that you will be forced to wrestle with your inner demons. Learn to pinpoint and recognize these shortcomings, and try to find ways to balance out these irrational behaviors. Journal, meditate, join a church group, create art or read self-help books to help you on your journey to knowing your inner self.” – from Living on Your Own After a Breakup.
If you haven’t been to counseling about your anxiety yet, a breakup might be the best reason to go. Coping with the loss of a relationship is difficult even for people who aren’t prone to anxious feelings. You may do better with outside support.
5. Hold on to your hope for the future
Back to Dear Sugar’s tips for coping with anxiety after a breakup:
“…your grief is extraordinary. I’m so sorry for that. I’m sorry you got your heart crushed. My inbox is full of emails from people who are suffering for similar reasons and there’s nothing I can do for you or for them but say there are better days ahead. Time will heal this wound, sweet pea. I know that for certain, though I also know that feels impossible to you right now. There is more love to be found and you’ll find it someday and everything you learned from your 13 years with your former boyfriend will contribute to your ability to do it better next time around.” – from The Truth That Lives There.
In a few months, living alone won’t be such a big adjustment. Time will give you freedom and peace, and your anxiety about breaking up will start to fade.
What do you think about these tips for coping with anxiety after a breakup? I welcome your thoughts, but I can’t offer advice or counseling. If you’re confused about the degree and depth of anxiety you feel, read 11 Emotions You’ll Feel After a Breakup.