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Heartache: 5 ways to change your attitude and get better

heartacheAfter a particularly difficult or unexpected break up, many of us find ourselves suffering from heartache, feelings of disappointment or hurt after the loss of a loved one. It is easy to allow this ache to pull us under. To drown us in a pool of our own sorrow.  Our past is now painful to remember, and we can see only misery and anguish in our foreseeable future.

It is difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  We tell ourselves to move on, to forget about our ex and not to think about our heartache, but once we are in that pool of misery, it is almost impossible to lift ourselves out.  You manage to reach the edge. Just as you’re almost there, you slip and the current pulls you back under. So how can you possibly get out of this pool of misery?  Are you destined to remain here forever?

Of course not.  There are ways to pull yourself away from your heartache. And it all starts with changing your attitude.  Change your perspective, your way of thinking, your mindset. Consequently, that light at the end of the tunnel will become a lot brighter and easier to see. Slowly it will start to get a little closer.  Change your attitude and you will be well on your way to getting over this break up, recovering from your heartbreak and getting better.  Changing your attitude is no mean feat of course. It’s a part of you. It’s the way you are programmed to think and feel about things.  It will not be easy,. Therefore, here are 5 ways you can attempt to change your attitude for the better and cure yourself of your heartache.

  1. Think about your heartache

As counterproductive as this may seem, attempting to force your broken heart from your mind never works, and it ends up lurking beneath your skin like a monster waiting to attack when you’re most vulnerable.  After all, if you’re consciously trying not to think about it, then you’re already thinking about it.  As impossible as this may seem, try to consider the reasons for your break up objectively.

Let go of negativity

Analyse the reasons for your break up, but don’t take any undue responsibility.  You should take responsibility for your own thoughts and actions but not for your ex’s.  Don’t accept all the blame and don’t try to force it on someone else. Start trying to think not of the things you could have or should have done, but of the things that you did do, the things you and your ex succeeded in.  You are the only one who can control your thoughts and actions.  Start trying to replace negative words with positive ones, not just in the way you think and speak about your break up, but in all aspects of your life.

Let go of expectations

If you’re feeling heartache, it is probably because you’re missing your ex, but it may also be because you believed things would be different, because you had different expectations for your life and your relationship.  Perhaps you had different expectations of yourself in general.  Let go of these expectations.  Life never happens as we expect it to and we can’t predict what lies around every corner, and sometimes the mystery is just part of the thrill.  Expectations will inevitably lead to disappointment and failure, and you are trying to eliminate negative emotions like these from your life.

Learn from your heartache

Think of all the things you did well in your relationship and all the things you could have done better (not the things you didn’t do well because we’re thinking positively!).  Perhaps you were very affectionate but you could have been a better listener.  Maybe you were loving but you could have been more appreciative.  Learn something from this pain.  Learn what you’re good at and what you could improve on.  Work on these things, make changes and attempt to apply them in your life, whether it’s providing a sympathetic ear to a friend or telling your mum how much you appreciate her cooking.

Your heartache doesn’t have to be for nothing.  Learn from your break up, work on your shortcomings, and perhaps it will pay off in the future.  Changing your attitude and healing your broken heart has a lot to do with perspective.  Do what you can to clear the negative out of your life and make room for the positive.

  1. Clean up your life

Eat clean, exercise and sleep

Neurologists have proven that what you eat affects how you feel, and therefore your attitude.  If you fill up on junk food and sit in front of the television all day while mourning your break up, you’re going to make yourself feel worse.  Try doing a dietary detox for a week or two: eliminate takeaways, sugary foods and things like caffeine from your diet and see how much better you feel.get better

In the same way, exercise has a way of relaxing your mind, providing an outlet for any pent-up frustration and tiring out your mind and body.  It can also leave you with feelings of satisfaction and pride in yourself, a significant change in the attitude of self-pity you were harboring before.  Spend as much time outdoors as possible.  Obviously in the dead of winter when there’s a foot of snow on the ground this isn’t advisable, but any other time, get as much fresh air as you can.  The clean, crisp air will leave you feeling revitalized and ready to accept any challenges that come your way.

Sleep is also important.  Changing your attitude for the better is going to be a lot more difficult if you constantly feel tired and sluggish.  Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and you’ll wake up feeling energized and motivated to make the changes you want to in your life.

Clean up your environment

This doesn’t literally mean go outside and pick up litter (although if you do feel so inclined, good for you!).  It means to start by clearing out your home of all those reminders of your break up.  Put away any photos, postcards, souvenirs, anything that makes you feel a pang of heartache when you look at it.  Think of it as a clear out: getting rid of reminders of the old you to make way for the new you.

Once you’ve removed anything that provokes negative thoughts or feelings, it may be a good idea to redecorate.  Obviously, this is not essential, but it’s a great way to distract your mind from your broken heart and focus all your energy on making positive changes.  Why not brighten up your life?  Color has been proven to have a psychological effect on mood, so why not give your home a new coat of paint?  Choose bright colors, shades of yellow, orange, green, blue… avoid heavy or dull colors like red, grey or white.  Brightening up your surroundings can really brighten up your outlook and your attitude to life.

If you don’t want to or can’t go the whole nine yards, you could even just invest in some scented candles or flowers.  Their appearance and scent will stimulate your senses and help to create some positive energy in your home and in your life.

Change your appearance

It’s been said before: if you look good you’re going to feel good.  Get a new haircut, experiment a little with your make-up and buy some new clothes.  Spend an entire day shopping and take someone with you who will tell you honestly when something looks good on you.  Buy clothes that suit you, fit you well and are brightly colored.  Bright colors in your clothing will have the same psychological effect on you as bright colors in your home.  If you look good and you know that you look good, it will do wonders for your self-esteem and confidence.  Your heartbreak will start to seem more distant and soon you’ll have a much more positive attitude to life.

  1. Think positive thoughts

So you’re choosing to remove all negative thoughts and ideas from your life and focus on the positive, but it’s difficult.  You can’t change your entire attitude overnight and part of you keeps coming back to this heartache that just won’t seem to disappear. If you’re struggling, here are some very simple and basic ways to change the way you see things.

Be thankful

Make a list (it can be a mental list, you don’t have to write it down) of all the great things in your life that you’re thankful for: your parents, your siblings, your friends, a job you love, a successful career, a beautiful home…Be thankful for all that you’ve got.  If you struggle to see the value of these things, spend some time volunteering at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter.  Spend some time helping other people who are a lot less fortunate than you are and you’ll soon learn to appreciate the things you take for granted.  Shedding some light on how fortunate you are and counting your blessings in life is a great way to change your attitude.

Surround yourself with positivity

Don’t let other people’s negativity drag you down.  Hang out with friends who are energetic and always looking on the bright side.  If the people you surround yourself with are happy and full of life, then their positive energy is going to rub off on you.  Similarly, if the people around you are sullen and morose, their negativity is going to have an impact on you.

If you feel like your job is getting you down, do some soul-searching, change up your career.  Find a job or career that you really enjoy and think you can be happy in.  Don’t be afraid of change, sometimes you need to take chances to find something that could be really great for you.  And if you love your job, you’ll be much happier to get out of bed in the morning and go to work and you’ll have a much brighter perspective on life.


If you want to think positively about yourself and other people, you need to forgive.  Forgive yourself for the failure of your relationship and anything else you may feel guilty about.  Also, forgive your ex for hurting you.  Forgive anyone else you feel has wronged you.  Don’t hold on to grudges, if you do you’ll always be holding on to some negativity.  Forgiving yourself and others allows you to leave the past behind you, to shed the anger, disappointment and heartache you feel and move on and get better.

  1. Focus on you

Instead of dwelling on the past, your ex and your broken heart, it’s time to focus on yourself.  If you want to change your attitude you have to take care of number one and spend some time concentrating on figuring out who you are and what you want from life.

Be open to possibilities

If you want to change your attitude you’re going to have to be open-minded.  Be open to trying new things, going new places, tasting different foods… you can’t be sure you like or dislike something until you try it.  Fuel your mind with new positive things.  Take up a new hobby; a sport, an instrument, cooking, whatever you want.  Do something for yourself that you will enjoy.  Opening your mind to new possibilities will make the world seem so much bigger and more diverse than you ever realized, and will make your break up seem insignificant by comparison, and hopefully you will start to see your break up that way too.

Your to-do list

Remember all those plans that you had before you settled down and got comfortable in your relationship? Maybe you wanted to travel, maybe you wanted to swim with sharks, or maybe you wanted to do extreme winter sports or be a contestant on Total Wipeout.  Grab a pen and a piece of paper and start writing your ‘to-do for me’ list.  Include all those things that you wanted to do before you met your ex, things you never got around to doing, and include anything else you can think of that you would really like to try.  In the next few weeks, make an effort to do at least three of the things on your list.  Challenging yourself to do something new will make you feel freer and help you develop a go-getter attitude.

Feel fulfilled

heal heartPart of your problem right now is that you gave so much of yourself to your relationship that now that it’s over you feel empty and unsatisfied.  Do things that make you feel fulfilled to restore your thirst for life, and prove to yourself that there are much more exciting things in life than sitting at home watching television night after night.

Explore your passions; your new hobbies can help you with this. Go travelling.  If you’ve always wanted to see the world then now is the perfect opportunity for you to do so.  Visit Europe, Africa, Asia… you’re only limited by your own imagination.  Nothing is more fulfilling than visiting new places and experiencing different cultures.  Or if that’s just not for you, try looking closer to home for a sense of fulfilment.  Help others if that’s what makes you feel good about yourself.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a charitable organisation to give yourself that sense of satisfaction and completion that will contribute to your new positive attitude.

  1. Take back control

Your break up happened.  Your relationship ended and you cannot control your heartache. Therefore, look to other things in your life that you can control.  You’ve already taken back control of your home and your appearance. Now you’re trying to take back control of your mentality in order to change your attitude and get your life back on track.

Live in the present

Don’t spend your days looking to your past to remember happier times. Instead, search for happiness and gratification in the present, whatever that may be. The simple pleasure of spending time with family or friends, the satisfaction of doing the things you love or even happiness with a new lover.  Whatever it is you’re looking for, look for it in the here and now, not in the past.  Living in the past will only serve to make you miserable.  Live in the present and look to the future to encourage a more positive way of thinking.

Do the unexpected

Don’t be afraid to do the unexpected.  If there’s something that you really want to do or that you feel very passionate about, go and do it.  Don’t worry about what other people think and don’t worry about defying conventions.  If you want to swim across the Atlantic, do it.  If you want to climb Kilimanjaro then do it (although preferably with all the necessary training and equipment).  Take back control of your life and do the things you want to do.  Live your life to your own standards, not someone else’s.

Change yourself

You can’t control other people and you can’t control the world around you, so if you want to see some change it’s going to have to come from yourself.  Learn more, improve your understanding and develop your opinions.  Adapt yourself to change your attitude to life.  Adapt yourself to get better and move on past this heartache.  You can’t change the past, but you can change yourself to give yourself a better present and a better future.

Create goals

Take control of your future and create goals for yourself, but also be flexible.  Your expectations for your past relationship fell flat. So don’t set yourself up for that kind of failure again.  Give yourself realistic expectations: for example, « one year from now I want to have visited at least one new country ».  This is a small goal, but gives you something to take control over and look forward to. Hence the proactive, forward-thinking attitude this will develop in you is sure to change you for the better.

Dealing with heartache can be one of the most terrible and isolating ordeals many of us ever experience.  It can make us fade into the shadows of our own minds, retreat into ourselves, and force on us this surly, miserable attitude that can invade every aspect of our lives.  And once we let these negative thoughts and ideas take over, it is even more difficult to push them away and get back to the person we were before. But there are ways to change our attitude for the better and cure ourselves of this debilitating pain.

Learn from your break up

Don’t ignore your break up.  Think about it without berating yourself and without blaming anyone.  Let go of the negativity of your break up and learn something from it. Then clear it from your life and your home.  Wipe the slate clean. Do things to make you feel good inside and out. Brighten up your life with colour and things that you enjoy.  Be thankful for all that you’ve got. Surround yourself with people who have the kind of positive attitude that you want to emulate.  Catch up on doing the things that you’ve always wanted to do and the things that make you feel fulfilled. Instead of focusing on the things you can’t control, focus on the things that you can. Do what you need to do to feel in control of your own person, of your own life.

Recovering from heartache is never easy. Nevertheless, it will be much less painful if you’ve got a positive can-do attitude to help you get through it.

Antoine Peytavin, fondateur du site

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