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How to Repair a Broken Heart

8 strategies to get you through tough times — and help you to start enjoying life again.

Losing someone we love — whether by death or divorce, sudden or over time — is an assault on every part of our body and soul. It's a period of actual crisis, even if we try to tough it out and act as if everything is under control.

Unfortunately, no easy fix is available for a broken heart. But these eight steps can help you start enjoying life again — even if there is always a part of your heart that never feels quite the same.

1. Don't pretend you're OK. Spend time with friends, and share your grief and heartbreak. Force yourself to socialize — even if you don't want to. Make dates for lunch, dinner and evening activities. Tell your friends to drop in for a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Stay distracted until you feel a lot better, and even then, it's good to keep a full social schedule.

2. Learn something new. Get your brain to focus on developing a new skill. Learn fly-fishing, how to repair your appliances or handicap horses. Take a class that fills up your evenings or weekends. Remind yourself that "an old dog" can learn plenty of new tricks, and that life is filled with new surprises and experiences

3. Write it down. Keep a diary or journal, or maybe even try to write a book. You'd be amazed how writing helps you "talk" to yourself and sort out your feelings. Writing allows you to vent feelings of anger or sadness in a constructive way: You might even consider writing letters to the person you lost to help you clarify your emotions. At a later date, you'll be able to look back on what you've written and gain new insights into yourself by observing how you coped at this poignant time.

4. Connect with community. You may feel alone, but there are loving and supportive networks out there for you. Most religious denominations have programs and get-togethers for people who need comfort. You can also find support groups for others who've had similar experiences to yours, such as the Grief & Loss community group.

5. Get outdoors. Take a trip to the wilderness, a fabulous national park or pristine beach. Let the majesty of nature help you understand the natural cycles of life and how we fit into this plan. Ideally, you should do this with a friend or relative, or even a group tour. Being alone might be too tough. Your goal is to come back feeling refreshed.

6. Exercise. If you don't already have one, start an exercise routine that you'll find enjoyable: yoga, swimming, spin classes, walking for a mile every day. Getting yourself in good physical shape will release those stress toxins, and you'll be surprised by how quickly your mind comes along for the ride.

7. Get a pet. Consider adopting a kitten or puppy from your local pound or fostering a pet. Animals may be a lot of work, but they give love better than just about anything else on earth. And they need you so much. If you have love to give, and no current takers, you can get a whole lot of affection, loyalty and kindness from a new animal in your life.

8. Fall in love again. If you have lost your romantic partner, heed this old advice: Get back on that horse again. Don't force yourself to do so before you're ready; it may take a few years until you're emotionally ready for a new relationship. But whether you're 50 or 80, you need to realize that it's possible to meet another special someone. Remember, we're never too old to love, and love passionately, again.

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