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So… Do you have to go through the awfulness? Unfortunately I would say yes, as avoidance of any kind of emotion usually comes back to bite you on the bum. However, there are ways to ease the pain. Firstly by understanding the process and secondly by taking action. Stage 1: Shock - The break up has just happened. This is healthy. The best part about this phase is that you can use this indignation to get out the house and start rebuilding your independence. Stage 4: Bargaining - This is a real bugger of a stage. The intolerability of the feelings and separation mean that you suddenly remember the relationship through rose tinted glasses.

In this phase people try to bargain their way back to what they had, either with their ex or with a higher power e. Assuming it will be different this time. Stage 5: Depression - The sadness really sets in this does not mean clinical depression. Appetite changes, the tears come, you want to withdraw from the world. This dark hole can feel like an abyss but its a good sign, you are on the home stretch. Stage 6: Initial acceptance - This can feel more like surrender at first.

Finally giving in to the terms of the breakup. Overtime this will change. While the pain may still be present you can see the relationship more clearly, accepting each person's role in the relationship, the good and the bad. You go out with a friend and realise you are enjoying yourself not just tolerating it like you had been.

Why Does It Hurt So Bad - Whitney Houston - LETRAS

These stages are not set in stone. They are just the current conceptualisation of grief post break up. Also, its not necessarily linear. People go in and out of phases and sometimes round in circles. However, its a good start when thinking about how you are feeling and why you might be feeling it. Furthermore, when you date someone for a while you incorporate them into your sense of identity. Following a break up you can feel confused about who you are. A literal piece of your identity has been torn from you.

Recovering will involve reconnecting with, and rebuilding your personal identity. Surround yourself with loved ones. Friends and family reconnect us with ourselves. They remind us we are lovable. They cause a release of endorphins feel good hormones , and at the moment this can only be a good thing. If there is no-one you feel you can talk to, write it down. Journal about your emotions.

Research shows significant positive effects of journaling during times of challenge. Then just let it flow.

Hurt So Bad

Whatever words and thoughts come up. Write hard or soft, however you feel for 20 minutes. Finish it with three positive sentences to yourself. Something soothing. Something you have noticed about yourself that's a strength. Words of encouragement. Then re-read it and tear it up. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time. Try not to set dates or timelines for your recovery. Get active. This could mean using exercise to trigger endorphins and metabolise stress hormones see this post for more information.

It could mean scheduling your day around the patterns you see arising. For example, if you know that you feel worst in the mornings, go for a walk to get out of the house when you wake up. Meet someone. Notice self-criticism. Notice any time you blame yourself, list your shortcomings, call yourself names or recall rejections.

Doing this is like taking a hammer to a broken limb. Your brain is already running on a survival response. This only activates that further. When this happens think about what you would say to your friend. Say this to yourself instead. You could even write a letter as if to a friend in this situation.

Then read it. Learn how to self soothe.

See these two articles for self soothing tips: one and two. Avoid the things that you know make you feel worse. Such as checking your ex's social media or walking past their place repeatedly. Set boundaries. Assertively state that the relationship is over and you need time apart to heal. Pain is a message, a sort of public service announcement from your brain about a credible threat.

Maybe it does. I always assumed that the explanation for this was that pain has to be extreme to have the desired effect — that the logic of neurology and psychology requires pain to actually be emotionally traumatic in order to ensure that we remain permanently keen to avoid whatever caused it. This rationalization of the severity of pain can be stretched to include basically any kind of pain that has any kind of obvious cause. But what about pain with no apparent cause?

Just what is it that your body is telling you to stay away from when you have an unending case of low back pain or plantar fasciitis? The severity and chronicity of some pain has always been hard to understand in the context of evolution, particularly when it actually interferes with function. But when the message of pain is actually debilitating for long periods, how exactly is that sensation helping? Were cavemen with chronic back pain better hunters or something? Pain has always presented a bit of a problem for evolutionary biology. Why the searing agony, an agony that can last for days, and from which the memory may never shake itself free?

Why so painful? But it turns out that we have a system that purposefully takes pain to the next level. It was just an accident of biology, another design flaw. They descend on the scene of the injury like a horde of microscopic barbarians and generally beat the tar out of any microscopic invaders stupid enough to try to crash the party that is you.

Neutrophils also destroy a fair bit of healthy tissue in the process. They take no chances. This is all a normal part of inflammation, and it all makes perfectly good sense. Consider: susceptibility to flu and cold symptoms is actually sign of a strong immune system, not a weak one! But imagine if your local fire department hosed down your house when there was no fire. Internal injury — sterile tissue damage, any injury where there is exactly zero risk of infection — causes exactly the same reaction.

Neutrophils rush to the scene and start doing their thing. They attack and kill any cells in the area — ours included — just in case. Better safe than sorry, you know! White blood cells migrating through blood vessels Injured liver showing white blood cells within blood vessels A dramatic neutrophil response to sterile injury is not news. The problem is that they have a bogus alarm signal, and identifying the nature of that bogus signal is the science news here.


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But the neutrophils are oblivious to those smells, because there is only one signal that does matter to them, just one telltale sign that crops up inside our very own cells, as well as on actual invaders. But that guest is still foreign, technically. It still smells like an invader — like bacteria, specifically. A long, long long, long, long! Those bacteria became permanent residents of every cell in our bodies. They became, in fact, cellular organs, vital subsystems.

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The mitochondria are arguably the most awesome microscopic machines in biology. They produce energy, and a great deal of it, like a power plant.

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And, it turns out, they also probably distribute it, like a network of power lines. Mitochondria have always stayed true to themselves, remarkably autonomous symbionts. They even still retain their own DNA. Our immune systems evolved relatively separately from the mitochondria, which remained safely tucked away inside our cells. But no one gave them a hall pass … and when cells are damaged and mitochondria spill out into our tissue fluids, the neutrophils attack, because mitochondria look like invaders to stuck-in-their-ways neutrophils.

The Biology of a Broken Heart—and How to Bounce Back

Neutrophils react to all unfamiliar bacteria. And so they are treated like invaders. They are indiscriminate better-safe-than-sorry killers that are only too happy to take out a few you-cells in the heat of battle.

The neutrophils make the situation worse. It means that pain and injury actually get worse for no reason whatsoever. Nor is this overkill even necessary in principle — which is the next topic. Neutrophils are fascinating critters. Regular, moderate exercise boosts the ability of the neutrophils to get to infection sites quickly chemotaxis and attack the bad guys phagocytosis.

And in fact, the neutrophils are still ultra-alert for a couple of months after you stop training. In addition, the researchers found that regular exercise extended the life of the neutrophils. Put these two pieces of science together, and you have an explanation for one of the great catchs of the human condition: exercise is good for you, but it often hurts more than it seems like it should. Athletes and active people are prone to many poorly defined aches and pains, 12 as well as more serious, common and persistent injuries that significantly restrict performance and competitiveness — and sometimes even drive people away from exercise altogether, because the cost is just too high.

And that cost may well be higher for some people than others. Given biology as it is, they have to be the way that they are. Evolution does not dare mess with that over-sensitivity. And that would be very, very bad. Awful catchs like this are actually quite common in evolution. There are many trade-offs: adaptations that help in one way, but sacrifice something else. As long as there is a net improvement in breeding, evolution is happy with the solution, and some of these trade-offs work out amazingly well: elegant optimizations to serve different goals simultaneously as well as possible, exactly the sort of thing you might say must have been intelligently designed.

But many other evolutionary compromises are awkward and ridiculous, and could have been avoided entirely by a designer … even a stupid one.