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Mind

Gemma McCaw's tips on how to mend a broken heart

Here's how to develop the right tools in your emotional first-aid kit so you know what strategies to reach for when times are tough.

Former Black Sticks captain Gemma McCaw has made a career out of being fit and healthy, so she knows a thing or two about wellness. Each week Gemma shares her tips on how to live healthier, from getting started on your fitness to how to increase your water intake. This week she gives her advice on building yourself an emotional first aid kit.
If you have ever had a broken heart, chances are you know that emotional pain can be just as cruel as a physical blow to the body. But when we have a broken bone or a bad cut, we know what must be done to fix it and heal. So why, when it comes to our emotional wellbeing, do we sometimes tend to ignore our feelings?
Unfortunately, there is still some stigma attached to emotional pain. But if we can develop the right tools in our first-aid kit, we will know what strategies to reach for when times are tough. Never be afraid to talk to someone – remember that a problem shared is a problem halved.

Pull out the positive thinking

We have all experienced failure at some stage in our lives, and it's always better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. When something doesn't work out how you want it to, take a step back and think about setting a new goal.
Foster a growth mindset and look to approach new challenges with a glass-half-full attitude.
Find ways to turn setbacks into stepping stones, rather than roadblocks, and you'll be well on the way to your next journey.

Take time to feel gratitude

Often when we feel rejected, thoughts of sadness, doubt and the fear of not being good enough can creep up on us. We must learn how to silence the harsh inner critic and realise that a relationship ending does not make us unlovable or that missing out on a job doesn't make us incompetent.
It is important to acknowledge what has happened, recognise that you're not alone in your feelings and replace them with a positive mindset that doesn't cause any further pain or anxiety. Draw upon gratitude in your emotional first-aid kit and really think about what you are grateful for. Try to note down three things you have learned from the experience. This will help give you perspective and enable you to move forward.

Use mindfulness to manage your stress and anxiety

When we are worried or anxious, we tend to churn things over in our minds. It affects how we live and often we waste time imagining worst-case scenarios that may never eventuate. Mindfulness and meditation can make a huge difference.
They enable us to feel the thoughts and experience the physical sensations that accompany these emotions, but in a non-judgmental way. We learn to understand that emotions are just data and that they are our thoughts, not truths. If meditation isn't for you, try yoga – it will allow you to feel the mind-body connection.

Be curious about who you are

If you're feeling lonely, try to tap into your inner curiosity and get to know yourself better. Think about your spirituality – it might be time to open your heart and mind to discover who you are.

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