Being dumped sucks — just ask anyone who's ever been dumped.
But how do you stop yourself from becoming a pathetic, mopey, loser version of who you used to be and start MOVING ON?
Well, obviously, all your friends have some sort of advice for you.
"Find a rebound!" "Take some time to focus on yourself." "Binge on rom-coms and eat lots of ice cream." "Get drunk." "Go to the gym."
But you're not messing around with this old advice anymore. You're SICK of feeling like this, and you want a surefire way to move on. Well, ask and you shall receive, my friend.
A new study by researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder found a method that's scientifically proven to get you over your ex... and it's pretty freaking easy.
All you have to do is fake it 'til you make it.
That's right. Just act like you're already over them. Do things that you're convinced are helping you get over your ex, whether it be hooking up with someone new or sitting on the couch watching rom-coms, and eventually, you will be over them.
The study's senior author, Tor Wager, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Boulder, explained, "Just the fact that you are doing something for yourself and engaging in something that gives you hope may have an impact."
The researchers came to this conclusion by testing the placebo effect on study participants who had recently gone through breakups.
First, they proved the pain of heartbreak is real.
The study's first goal was to do a series of fMRI scans to compare what happens in our brains during physical pain to what happens during emotional pain.
The researchers commissioned 40 volunteers who had recently experienced an "unwanted breakup," and they were asked to bring in two pictures: one of their ex and one of a friend of the same gender.
To see what happens in their brains during physical pain, the researchers scanned the participants' brains while they applied an uncomfortably hot stimulus to their left arms.
To see what happens in their brains during emotional pain, they watched how the brain activity shifted when the participants were shown the image of their ex after the image of the neutral friend.
What they found was pretty interesting: HEARTBREAK IS REAL PAIN, YOU GUYS.
The activity in the brain during physical pain mirrored the activity during emotional pain, meaning the pain you're experiencing when you get dumped is no joke.
Wager wanted everyone experiencing emotional pain to know “your pain is real – neurochemically real.”
Next, they figured out how to fix it.
If heartbreak is a pain just like any other, then there should be a cure for it just like any other, right?
The researchers decided to look into how the placebo effect works on curing heartbreak by giving all of the participants a nasal spray.
Half of the participants were told that the spray would ease their emotional pain. The other half were told the truth: that it was a simple saline solution.
After having taken the spray, participants were given another fMRI scan while they were asked to look at the pictures of their exes one more time.
The placebo made a pretty big difference.
Participants who were told the spray would help ease their emotional pain showed an increase in the part of the brain that regulates emotions and a decrease in activity in the part of the brain associated with feelings of rejection.
There was also a spike in the brain's pain-reducing chemicals, like opiods, and chemicals that boost our mood, like dopamine.
The bottom line? What you're feeling right now is real. But that doesn't mean you can't trick your brain into getting over it.
Citations: The Best Way To Get Over Your Ex: Placebo Effect Can Ease Physical Pain Of A Broken Heart From A Breakup (Medical Daily), Frontal-brainstem pathways mediating placebo effects on social rejection (JNeurosci)