Wednesday, September 20th 2017

The science of healing a broken heart

Summertime, and the loving may not be so easy — until you engage your “heart-mind”

GUEST COLUMN: JEANINE AUSTIN — “This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” Eat Pray Love ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Most people would agree the pain of a broken heart is one of the most challenging injuries to endure. Most of us know that the pain of a broken heart literally physically hurts.

The sadness often permeates our minds, bodies and spirits.

Certainly, a broken heart can have a variety of causes. Perhaps, it is the death of a friend, the loss of a child (by all accounts the most heart wrenching loss), the death of a relative, the death of a dream, a trauma, or the loss of one’s beloved.

Today I will focus on the loss of a romantic partner.

Books, movies, poetry and film throughout the ages are largely a testament to the pain and longing for the elusive beloved. It seems almost an unavoidable part of the human experience, at some time in our lives at least, to be estranged from the object of our heart’s romantic affection. This is a universal story; the lament for the beloved is something most everyone can relate to.

How do you fill the hole in your heart?

When it seems we have lost the attention of the person we love, we are often tempted to do just about anything to assuage the relentless pain. Some turn to use or abuse substances. Others will find another type of distraction or way to numb themselves such as endless television watching, over eating and over sleeping.

And of course, there is the age old band-aid, taking up with another lover. For me, this calls to mind the anthem of abandoned lovers “Love the One You’re With” by Stephen Stills.

While many of these aforementioned coping strategies may be tempting, many of us who have weathered a storm or two will attest that there is no real way around the pain. For healing’s deepest resolution, we must go through the pain.

We must allow ourselves to feel the loss.

Round and around we go

In Welcome to Your Crisis, Laura Day writes about rumination as a way those in crisis may try to figure out how to get beyond their pain. We may go around and around in our minds trying to think of how we could have done things differently, better of course, so that we would not be here now at loose ends.

This rumination keeps us emotionally tied and locked into a vicious, frustrating cycle of focusing on what we would have, could have and should have done. We often add to the pain of loss self recrimination and frequently deep and pervasive toxic shame and guilt.

In order to take a break from this seemingly never ending cycle and to begin to cultivate a new habit of taking refuge from behaving and thinking in ways that make us feel worse, we may want to spend some time with our heart.

Many scientific studies are suggesting that the heart is actually a brain of sorts.

This new scientific evidence shows that the heart uses methods to send our brain extensive emotional and intuitive signals. Along with this understanding that the heart is in constant communication with the brain, scientists are discovering that our hearts may actually be the “intelligent force” behind the intuitive thoughts and feelings we all experience.”

How to employ your heart mind

To begin a healing process, we can put one hand on our heart. While our hand is in place we keep it there engaging our center. From here we can begin a healing and soothing dialogue with our heart. We might tell our heart that we are committed to its healing.

We could say to our heart that it actually is okay and that soon it will be loving again. We might tell our heart that it is only being strengthened by this experience, and it will love more deeply and truly in the future.

We may add that while we honor its need for some R & R that we pray that it will stay open, soft and true rather than closed, hard and fixed.

We can tell our heart that ultimately it will realize its most profound destiny: to heal other hearts.

To heal other hearts is our heart’s purpose here on Earth. What better vision for the life of our broken but soon to be healed hearts?

Jeanine Austin has a Master’s degree in clinical social work, a Doctorate in life-coaching and is a certified hypnotherapist. Tapping the latest advances in depth-psychology, along with a spiritual perspective, she assists her clients worldwide to live realized lives.  For a free consultation please complete this form, and return by  email.

Read Jeanine’s other articles on Soul’s Code: A checklist for how to trust again,  and Questing for compassion.

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