Meditation For Breakups: Get Over Your Ex With Mindfulness

meditation for breakups

Several of my students have asked me about using meditation for breakups. And no surprise. We live in a time when breaking up is normal.

According to a study by Case Western Reserve University, more than 90 per cent of college students have broken up with someone they love and 90 per cent have dumped someone. 

And according to the American Psychological Association, approximately 40 per cent of married couples in the US end up getting divorced.

Clearly, this is a common occurrence. But it can be a painful one.

Whether it’s divorce, losing your first love, or ending a long-term relationship, breakups hurt.

You might experience:

Breaking up with someone can have a serious effect on the brain, leading to pain, inability to focus, and emotions like sadness and grief.

Melanie Greenberg, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and life coach, says, “Breakups can trigger withdrawal, just as you would feel after giving up a drug.”

Thankfully, we have the power to heal ourselves.

Of course, the quickest way to overcome the pain of breaking up with someone is to take a meditation lesson with me. I will help you heal your mind so you can be happy once again.

But let me show you one wonderful meditation for breakups. And by the way, if you cry during this meditation don’t worry, it is normal and healthy.

Try This Meditation For Breakups

 

1: Sit or lie down

For our Breakup Meditation Script, we are going to start by sitting or lying down with good posture.

To lie down, use the yoga asana Shavasana.

To do this, lie down on your back. Place your feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Rotate your ankles outwards a little so your toes are pointing out at about 45 degrees from your body. Make sure your spine is in alignment. Place your hands palm-up by your sides.

Or you can sit.

To sit down, sit comfortably. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and grounded. Check your spinal alignment. Lightly tuck your chin down a little to elongate your neck.

Now, close your eyes and focus on breathing.

2: Put your hands in Hakini mudra, the best mudra for breakups

For our meditation for breakups, we want to use Hakini mudra (hand position), which is the best mudra for breakups.

To do this, simply rest the tips of each of your fingers against the tip of the opposite finger.

Now hold your hands in front of you, like you’re doing prayer position but with the fingers spread a little.

This is the best breakup mudra. It fosters positive emotions and feelings of wellbeing, which are essential for overcoming the pain of breaking up with someone you love.

 

3: Reconnect with the moment by breathing mindfully

Naturally, when we are talking about how to get over a breakup, we need to stop all those painful thoughts and feelings. To do this, we focus on the present moment.

Start breathing mindfully (here’s a guide to how to breathe in meditation).

Focus your mind on your breathing in a mindful, non-judgmental way. Simply observe your breath moving in and out of your body. This will increase your present-moment mindfulness. 

Plus, mindful breathing will help to reduce the effect of painful thoughts and memories, which is vital.

Research by cognitive scientists at Columbia University using fMRI scans showed that people dwell on painful memories and thoughts after a breakup.

Thinking of your ex causes parts of the brain to light-up. Specifically, thinking of your ex after a breakup causes your insula and anterior cingulate cortex to light up. Hence why breakups can feel like physical pain.

Thankfully, research shows that meditation helps us regulate both pain and emotion, partly because of the effect of meditation on the insula [1].

 

4: Get over your ex with a mantra

Next, we are going to get over the ex by meditating on a mantra. This will reduce ruminating thoughts.

You might have noticed that you feel motivated to connect with your ex. Many people still send their ex text messages and call them, and even show up places uninvited [Dr. Helen, neuroscientist, Harvard Medical School].

The reason this happens is due to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Your brain has become accustomed to associating your ex with pleasure. Your brain always wants to be rewarded, and so even now, after you have broken up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, your brain is still seeking out your ex as a source of dopamine (a source of reward). We need to change this.

Thankfully, research shows that transcendental meditation techniques that use mantras can help to balance dopamine levels. This will stop you from, feeling like you need to contact your ex. [2]

5: Meditate on “Om”

Continuing from where we were with our breakup meditation, start reciting the mantra “Om”.

Meditate on the sound of this mantra. Do not try to control the mantra but instead let it go where it will. If the sound changes let it happen. Simply continue to meditate on the sound.

While you are doing this, you are balancing your dopamine (the “reward” chemical). This will stop you from feeling like you need to contact your ex-husband or ex-wife.

Dopamine is used in the connection between the ventral tegmental (VTA) area, the ventral striatum, and the nucleus accumbens. These are reward / motivation systems. Therefore, by balancing these areas you will feel less compelled to constantly message your ex-lover.

Reciting “Om” will also stimulate serotonin, another neurochemical, which will help you to feel happier. Finally, it will stimulate the production of Alpha brainwaves, which are brain waves associated with relaxation.

6: Now you’re deep breathing and reciting a mantra, it’s time to change your thoughts about your ex

This article has been quite deep so far. But essentially, all you should be doing right now is sitting comfortably, breathing deeply, and meditating on the mantra “Om.”

While you are doing this, we are going to change your thoughts about your ex.

It is only natural that you will experience negative thoughts about your ex after a breakup. You might feel angry at them for breaking up with you or letting you down. You might be self-critical and thinking about what you did wrong. Maybe you feel a deep sense of grief or loss. And perhaps you’re asking, “Can I get back with my ex or is it too late?” And so on. 

We will change those thoughts about your ex by using Vipassana meditation technique.

7: While deep breathing and reciting “Om”, start to label your thoughts and feelings.

Now we will overcome negative thoughts. And this will help us to let go. 

To do this, calmly observe any thoughts or feelings in your mind.

When you experience a thought or feeling, imagine taking a step back away from that thought / feeling. Now observe the thought or feeling in a calm and mindful way. Don’t engage with the thought. Just say to yourself, “This is just a thought”, and let it pass.

In other words, calmly observe your thoughts and feelings without reacting to them.

This method (which is essentially the Buddhist meditation Vipassana) has been scientifically proven to reduce reactivity to thoughts [3]. 

This means that, even though you will still experience thoughts of your ex, you will be less affected by them.

8: Continue for 20 minutes.

So now we are:

  1. Deep breathing
  2. Meditating on the mantra “On”
  3. And non-judgmentally observing and labelling thoughts and feelings. 
  4. Continue for twenty minutes. And that is our meditation for breakups. 

In this meditation session, we have relaxed the mind, reconnected with the present moment, overcome our obsession with the ex, and removed painful thoughts of the ex.

If you would like to learn more about this and other meditations, contact me for an online meditation lesson.

And when you’re ready to move on, you can also use meditation for dating. 

 

Sources

1: Grant J.A.; Courtemanche J.; Duerden E.G.; Duncan G.H.; Rainville P. (2010). “Cortical thickness and pain sensitivity in Zen meditators”. Emotion. 10 (1): 43–53. doi:10.1037/a0018334. PMID 20141301.

2: Bujatti M, Biederer P. Serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine metabolites in transcendental meditation-technique. Journal of Neural Transmission. 1976;39:257–267

3: [Meditation (Vipassana) and the P3a Event-Related Brain Potential,B. Rael Cahna and John Polichb, International Journal of Psychophysiology].

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.