The feeling of being heartbroken can be so overwhelming and profoundly painful that often it’s really hard to even know what (if anything) you can do to feel better.

Of course there’s drinking, television, video games, a bowl of wings…

But often these just distract the thoughts, and often when you’re done you are usually right back where you started.

What can you actually do to make you feel better?

It’s so easy to get caught up in all the thoughts racing through your head and forget that your whole body is being affected.

In fact, a huge part of what heartbreak really is the “fight or flight” reaction your body is having.

Your body really doesn’t know the difference between a real threat and an imagined one, and with all the bad emotions you’re feeling it reacts to it in a very primal and powerful way.

It says “We must be in danger.”

Its no wonder that part of feeling heartbroken isn’t just that pain in your chest…

It’s this profound edginess, this feeling like you have to do something.

When it really gets bad that’s when you start feeling that urge to call, text, or see your ex… Or see what she is up to on Facebook, look at pictures of her or call and talk to one of your friends about it.

If you’ve made the decision to not call or talk to your ex (congradulations by the way) or you have figured out by know that contacting her while you’re having a “love attack” usually ends up with you saying something you’ll regret or feel stupid about later, then you need another way to vent that anxiety.

In the past five years research has pretty much solidified the case cardiovascular excercise is the single most powerful antidote to crippling and painful anxiety attacks…

And there is reason to believe this applies to the feeling of being “heartbroken” just as much.

How to do it:

  • Do thirty minute of cardio 5 days a week.This can be jogging, running, stairclimbing, eliptical (I mean, if that’s your thing) or any kind of sport that involves sustained cardiovascular excercise.
  • Do your cardio in mid-day.Alot of the bad feelings and thoughts that keep bubbling up for most people usually start to build up the most steam by the evening (nights are usually the hardest for people) and if you can break that momentum with an early evening session it will make a big difference.
  • Sun and greenery make a huge difference. It’s pretty much proven at this point that the amount of sunlight we’re exposed elevates our energy and our mood (and our ability to sleep at night) and that green parks have a calming effect on people. Take advantage of both of these.
  • If you are already a regular exerciser, take it up a notch.Within reason of course… But the idea here is to burn that excess anxiety that has built up, so if you are already used to regular cardio you may have to do some more to get the same effect.

I imagine by know that last thing you want is another person telling you to excercise… And chances are when you feel like hell its the last thing you want to be doing.

But if there is a time in your life that this will help you the most, its now. Not only will it make you feel better instantly right after you do it, but the effects stack up the more you do it.

Here is what will happen when you start to do it on a regular basis.

  • The constant build up of tension has a release: Because you are burning all that built up internal tension, cardio is the single most effective emotional reset button. Remember, your body is having a stress reaction, which at its most primitive level is preparing you for action. If you aren’t using that potential energy it can actually become corrosive to your body in the form of stress.
  • Your mind becomes clearer and far less muddled: During and right after exercising you are going to get some mental and emotional clarity that you may not have had all day. The amount of time you feel this relief after jogging actually gets longer the more you do it.
  • Your brain can naturally balance itself: A growing body of evidence is showing that cardiovascular exercise is as effective at treating depression as Zoloft (the most widely prescribed anti-depression medication). Exercise has been shown to provide much of the stimulation to the brain needed for it to balance all the various chemicals that are most likely to become imbalanced during times of extreme stress. This is especially important for PREVENTION of depression, so if you do this proactively it will make all the difference.
  • Promotes growth and adaptability: New research is also showing that cardiovascular exercise also encourages what is called “neurogenesis” which is the creation of new cells in your brain.  You have a lot of change ahead of you as you are going to be replacing many old habits, thoughts and associations. You’re mind needs to be in an optimal state to be able to adapt to these changes.
  • Puts you back in control: There is something really interesting that happens when you consciously exercise to speed up your recovery. There may be a lot of things going on with your own mind and emotions that may feel like they are out of your control. Exercising is one of the few ways you can DIRECTLY affect them with your own action and this shifts the sense of control back to you. The confidence you start to feel from this has a snowball effect and gives you the strength to move on faster.