While conventional wisdom tells you that moving on from a breakup is much easier if you distract yourself from thinking too much about your relationship or your ex, that may not actually be the best advice. In fact, a new study claims that doing the exact opposite may be the key to getting over things more quickly.
According to research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, dwelling on things a bit and reflecting on both the good and bad parts of the relationship allows you to better process the emotions involved in a breakup and leaves you with a greater sense of self when all is said and done.
To come to this conclusion, study authors had 210 volunteers who’d recently been through a breakup to submit to either an interview, psychophysiological measurements, or lengthy questionnaires. All portions of the study were focused on “self-concept reorganization,” which is basically just a fancy way of seeing how you view yourself as an individual, separate from your relationship or your ex. What they discovered was that those who had to think deeply about their experience bounced back better.
As study co-author Grace Larson explained, “The process of becoming psychologically intertwined with the partner is painful to have to undo. Our study provides additional evidence that self-concept repair actually causes improvements in well-being. It might be simply the effect of repeatedly reflecting on one’s experience and crafting a narrative—especially a narrative that includes the part of the story where one recovers.”
So there you have it. Next time your friends seem sick of hearing you cry and complain about your ex, tell them that you’re actually helping yourself get over them faster, and they should be grateful that you’ll soon be ready to get back out there again. You can try, right?
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