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What to Do When Your Heart is Broken: 4 Advice from Psychologist

Written by Cindy NgoUpdated on May 17, 2023

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Have you ever experienced heartbreak? If yes, then it's not only you. Most of us experience this hard and painful experience psychologically. The bitter truth is that it is not easy to overcome; for many of us, it's devastating.
Dr. Guy Winch, who is a clinical psychologist, has many experiences in dealing with patients who suffered and had a hard time overcoming heartbreak, bringing many insightful tips and how to deal with and overcome this situation. 

Heartbreak: Understanding from sciences base

At the beginning of the talk, Winch used an example from one of his patients, who just found her love after overcoming cancer and ended up heartbroken. Despite how strong and resilient she was in life and death situation, she struggled to recover from this emotional trauma. This example reveals that the exact coping mechanism which works for other life challenges often fails us when it comes to heartbreak. 
According to Winch, one of the reasons heartbreak is so difficult to heal is that our instincts can lead us down the wrong path. 
For example, we might reject a simple explanation for a breakup, convinced there must be a more dramatic cause. We might obsess over finding a reason for the heartbreak when in fact, the cause is simply that the relationship has ended. Thus, Winch urges us to accept the explanation we are given or create one for ourselves and move on.
Another reason heartbreak is so challenging is that it can be addictive. 
Do you know that the withdrawal of romantic love will activate the same reward pathway in our brain as after someone uses cocaine or opioids (11)?
Our minds have the ability to trick us into believing that we are trying to solve a mystery or that we need closure when in reality, we are just feeding our addiction and deepening our emotional pain.

How do you mend a broken heart?

During the talk, Winch also gave some suggestions for anyone struggling with heartbreak to take these steps to get healed from this emotional trauma.

1. Face reality: You're addicted

You need to admit that you are addicted to the person who broke your heart. Thus, you should stop revisiting your memories of stalking your ex on social media because this will help you to stop your addiction.

2. Accept and let go

The second step is that you need to accept your relationship is over and it’s time to let it go and never hope that it will be rekindled. As this thought continues, it will just deepen your wound.

3. Remember: No relationship is perfect 

Winch suggested that you should balance out your idealized memories of the relationship by reminding yourself of the bad times and compiling a list of all the reasons that person was wrong to you. You can save it on your phone and look at it whenever your mind is not listening to you.

4. Filling the voids

Winch also stresses how filling the voids after the heartbreak is really important, as this relationship with one person is just a part of your life; it’s not your whole life. Moreover, you also have friends, family, and other activities too that you need to re-establish your identity and social life, and more importantly, engage in activities that can bring you joy and fulfillment.


  • Heartbreak is a complex psychological that can affect one's life in multiple ways.
  • Our instincts often lead us down the wrong path when it comes to heartbreak, and our minds can trick us into believing we need closure or are trying to solve a mystery.
  • By following the 4 steps that Dr. Guy Winch suggested can help you go through this and get healed better from the heartbreak.
  • Healing from heartbreak is a journey that takes time and effort. However, with the right tools and mindset, we can minimize our suffering and move forward to a brighter future.


Author Bio

Dr. Guy Winch is a distinguished clinical psychologist and accomplished author who operates a thriving private practice in the heart of New York City.
In addition to his Ted Talk, Winch has given numerous talks on mental health and relationship issues. 
Dr. Guy Winch is the author of several books, including "The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way to Get Results, Improve Your Relationships, and Enhance Self-Esteem," and "Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts."

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