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Do’s and Don’ts When Dealing with a Break-Up: Lessons from the Movie “Begin Again”

I just saw a great movie about dealing with loss and break-ups, Begin Again, and have been listening to the soundtrack over and over again for the past 24 hours. I had no idea that Keira Knightly was such a talented singer, and I certainly rediscovered my appreciation for Adam Lavine and his electrifying falsetto.

The movie touches on love, infidelity, loss, parenthood, music and creativity, but most importantly, it shows how to channel the energy of a broken heart into a creative gift for humanity. Since I’ve been undergoing my own transformation in private practice, having to say goodbye to many of my clients in order to allow time and space to say hello to hopefully many new ones, I figured I use the movie as an example and write about coping with loss and break-ups.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when trying to deal with the loss of a loved one:

Do listen to music. Here is a great quote about music from Dan, a disgruntled, yet brilliant music producer, who’s been drowning his sorrows in liquor until he meets Greta, a charming singer-songwriter with a broken heart, and decides to pursue her talent. I can’t begin to tell you about the great music in this film, you just have to listen to it.Begin Again

Do create. Making art is a great way to transform the feelings from the loss into something meaningful that others can see, feel, touch, hear or appreciate. In the movie (spoiler alert), we see Greta do this when she writes a song about her ex-boyfriend and sings it to his voicemail.

Do focus on your work. If you are not big on creativity, focusing on your work can be a great distraction for awhile.

Do watch good movies. We tend to identify with one or many of the characters in a film, thus experiencing their lives as our own. Check out the trailer for Begin Again if you feel like watching it.

Do work out. Putting your energy into physical activity helps both on an emotional and physiological level. Stimulate those endorphin-producing centers of your brain with an hour on the treadmill or join a group class.

Do connect with your friends. Needless to say, one of the most important parts of overcoming a break-up is reconnecting with your friends and spending quality time with people, who love and care about you.

Don’t call your ex-partners. It is natural for people to revisit all of their past losses when they are dealing with one at the moment and it’s not unusual for folks to want to call ex-partners. You don’t have to do that. Let the bygones be bygones and focus on the present.

Don’t drown your sorrows in liquor. I am not saying that it won’t be okay to have a drink or two if you are feeling heart-broken. However, drinking is never a good solutions and it will only make matters worse. Alcohol is a depressant so you really don’t want to make yourself feel worse than you already do, do you?

Do change something. I cut my hair the day after my last day at the group practice to symbolize the change in my life, leave the “old” behind and move on. Many people change their hairstyles, grow beards or remodel their homes after a break-up or some form of personal transformation. It’s a good thing. It allows you to mark the change in your life in a tangible way.

Don’t rush into dating right away. Rebounds and one-night stands are many people’s go to’s when facing a break up but honestly, this may only make you feel worse. Before you decide to jump into the dating scene again, it is important to take the time to mourn the lost relationship.

Do allow yourself time to mourn the loss. Grieving is a normal part of life. We grieve when we lose someone we love, when we say goodbye, when we move to a new home, when we leave the past behind. Sometimes, people come to our lives only to leave soon afterwards. It is what we’ve had together than matters and it is only through the process of mourning that we can internalize the good parts of the experience and leave the bad parts behind.


Are you someone going through a break-up or a loss? Please, share what works for you in overcoming it?

Do’s and Don’ts When Dealing with a Break-Up: Lessons from the Movie “Begin Again”

Mihaela Bernard, MA, LCPC

Mihaela Bernard, MA, LCPC is a licensed clinical professional counselor and founder of Inside Family Counseling, LLC in Chicago. She is a Professional Member of the American Counseling Association and a member of Chicago Psychoanalytic Circle of the Freudian School of Quebec, Canada. She is the author of Mental Health Digest electronic magazine, your free, easy-to-read electronic resource on common mental health issues affecting you and your family, plus some suggestions on how to address them. She specializes in psychoanalytic psychotherapy for troubled children and adolescents, who face behavioral and emotional challenges at home and at school. Her mission is to empower, support and guide children, adolescents and their parents to a happy and healthy family. Mihaela also writes a Parenting Blog, where parents find helpful resources and practical tips on how to support their child and adolescent's behavioral and emotional development. You may find out more about her at

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APA Reference
, . (2016). Do’s and Don’ts When Dealing with a Break-Up: Lessons from the Movie “Begin Again”. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 6, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Nov 2016
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