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How to find happiness after heartbreak - from someone who's been there

Alice Haddon and Ruth Field run retreats for heartbroken women. Here they share how to find happiness again after heartbreak

Red broken Heart on pastel pink paper
23 January 2024
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Happiness after heartbreak becomes possible once we’ve faced the pain and accepted the new status quo, one which incorporates heartbreak into our lives. We have to accept that our loved one is gone and that they perhaps love someone else.

We don’t have to like it, forgive them or condone their actions in any way, but we do have to accept that it is what it is. Radical acceptance is the cornerstone of everything that follows, because freedom lies in acceptance.

We must embrace the freedom to choose new perspectives and alternative ways of dealing with our circumstances and relationships, and perhaps most significantly, the freedom to discover ourselves anew.

two blonde women sitting for a headshot© Katie Wilson
Alice Haddon and Ruth Field run retreats for heartbroken women.

How to find happiness after heartbreak

1. Take it slow

We’d suggest holding off on jumping back into the dating scene for now. The answer to your next chapter will not be found there yet.

2. Prioritise yourself

The antidote to heartbreak is getting back together with yourself, after all, it’s the only relationship you have that’s guaranteed to last until your dying breath, so may as well invest in it now.

Spending time getting to know yourself as you are now and exploring what makes you tick and what really matters to you is key. For many women who have spent a great deal of time in service to others, this may have become obscured.

Heart broken in hands wearing yellow jumper© Getty
Repairing your heart takes time

3. Accept the slow return of happiness

A feeling of happiness isn’t going to return overnight. Your heart is broken and there may still be pain and sadness, but orientating your life around what matters to you will mean your life choices start to align better with what you want and need.

Futures unfold one step at a time, so there is no rush. Each small step back towards yourself counts.

 READ: I learned to love my own company - and now I’m happier than ever 

Finding happiness again

Once the most intense period of heartbreak has passed and the obsessive rumination has died down, you may find your feelings begin to settle and each day is less of a battle to get through.

When you are ready, there is happiness to be found from just being out and about in nature and noticing your surroundings.

INSPIRATION: How to be happy: 30 expert-approved tips to become your most optimistic self

When I’m feeling down or anxious or frustrated and I get outdoors, I make a point of seeing the world with the purposeful intention to discover it anew – and it never disappoints.

The challenges ahead will still be present, but daily doses of joy will help you through the darkest moments.

book cover for Finding Your Self at the Heartbreak Hotel
Finding Your Self at the Heartbreak Hotel by Alice Haddon & Ruth Field is available to buy from 1 February

Finding Your Self at the Heartbreak Hotel by Alice Haddon & Ruth Field is available to buy from 1 February (HQ, £20, hardback).

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