If you are a teen going through a breakup you are likely experiencing a range of emotions from sadness, anxiety, anger, and confusion. Having breakup anxiety may make you feel on edge, nervous, and restless. You may even experience physical symptoms such as rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, fatigue, and increased heart rate. Let your parent […]
If you are a teen going through a breakup you are likely experiencing a range of emotions from sadness, anxiety, anger, and confusion. Having breakup anxiety may make you feel on edge, nervous, and restless. You may even experience physical symptoms such as rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, fatigue, and increased heart rate. Let your parent or trusted adult know about your symptoms so you can get proper medical care if needed.
Breakup anxiety can include negative thought patterns, irritability, trouble falling or staying asleep, and difficulty concentrating. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step. Although you may be craving answers and may want to reunite with your ex, take this time for some introspection and self-care.
Taking the time to process and understand your emotions will help you on the path toward healing. Here is a list of coping skills from A to Z, that hopefully are easy to remember and can help you to better manage your anxious feelings and negative thought patterns:
Accept the painful thoughts. It is okay to grieve the ending of your relationship and not push the feelings away.
Breathe. Taking deep breaths enables more air to flow into your body and can help reduce anxiety.
Change the Channel. Asking the same questions repeatedly (where did I go wrong? will I feel like this forever?) will keep you stuck. Try to change your thoughts to different things other than your ex.
Do the opposite. If you are in your bedroom and are worrying about how to get over your ex, go outside to get the mail or turn on your music and sing your favorite song out loud.
Exercise. It can be a distraction and releases chemicals in the brain that make us feel better.
Focus on your strengths. Labeling our strengths and leaning into them can keep our stressors in perspective.
Get support. Reach out to family or friends who have supported you in the past, or you could contact a licensed mental health professional to discuss your emotions about the breakup.
Hear your compassionate voice. List things that make you you. (I am a good friend. I want to keep up my good grades. I have a track meet that I am looking forward to this week.)
I can handle this. List and prioritize doing the things that usually help you feel better: going for a walk, working out, playing the piano, and going to the movies.
Just be. Non-striving is the ability to let go of “doing” and to focus solely on just “being.” Practicing meditation is one way to practice being present.
Limit social media. Looking at your ex’s socials will likely keep you stuck in your negative thoughts and feelings.
Move your body, move your mood. Do things that make you happy like spending time with family, friends, and pets.
Notice what your body needs. Getting plenty of rest, keeping up with your personal hygiene, and eating a healthy diet are natural ways to reduce your anxiety and feel better.
Observe and describe. Being able to name what you are feeling and thinking can help you to stay present and do what you know can help you to feel better.
Pause. Before you reach out to your ex, think about how you may feel if you do not hear supportive or loving feedback.
Quiet your inner critic. Avoid blaming yourself for the breakup. Remember what happened and that it may be healthier for you to be without your ex.
Reframe your thinking. Offset a negative thought with a more helpful one based on your truths. For instance, “I will never enjoy myself again” can become “I actually felt good going to the gym earlier today.”
Sleep. The biology of getting rest and restorative sleep helps us to be less reactive tomorrow.
Time your worry. Give yourself a preset time to think about your ex (say for the next 30 minutes), set your timer, then turn your focus on your Netflix show, go out for a walk, or play a video game.
Unlearn unhelpful habits. You may have urges to use drugs and alcohol to numb your breakup pain which can have a lasting impact on your mental health and well-being. If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources.
Validate your success(es): journal, tell a friend, or share with a family member 3 things that went right and what you did to make them work.
What have I learned about myself? Remember self-introspection and learning is the upside of healing after a breakup. List your values, strengths, supports, and coping skills.
X marks the spot….. the no-judgment zone. Awareness of the here and now without judgment can help to decrease anxiety.
You choose what to pay attention to. Try the grounding exercise with Name 5 things you see right now, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, 1 thing you taste. This can help you to stay present.
Zen. Remember this pain you are feeling at this moment is temporary. It will pass.
If you find it challenging to manage your anxious thoughts, or if you are considering unhealthy habits, consider reaching out to a medical doctor or a licensed mental health professional that can help you process your anxiety in a safe environment.