real life

Still mourning a relationship lost 17 years ago: How hypnosis can heal a broken heart.


Nothing hurts like the pain of a broken heart. Romantic love is a glorious thing, and when that love breaks down or is not reciprocated, it can be gut-wrenching. The experience can trigger a range of negative emotions that affect every part of your life, including feelings of worthlessness, despair, self-blame, loneliness, insomnia, lack of appetite and binge eating.

The roller-coaster ride of emotions is different for everyone. Some people recover quickly while others will hold onto hurtful events and negative feelings for a very long time.

I once had a client who described the pain of her difficult divorce to me. The intensity of her feelings made me believe the divorce had only just happened. Turned out, it had happened 17 years earlier.

Hypnotherapy and heartbreak
Mark Stephens is one of Australia’s leading lifestyle hypnotherapists. Image via Facebook.

Intense feelings of anger, hurt and guilt are perfectly normal after a breakup and going through them is an important part of the healing process. But getting stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk that you can’t find your way out of is quite a different matter. Fortunately, there are ways you can take control of your emotions and learn to enjoy life again.

Hypnosis and meditation have been used for centuries to help people overcome life’s challenges and can be very effective tools for fast-tracking the healing of a broken heart.

Meditation works to gently calm the mind. It allows you to breathe your way back into life as you release the toxic thoughts that may be keeping you trapped in a negative state. Hypnosis taps into the unconscious part of your mind where negative emotions and thoughts are stored with the aim of reprogramming negative feelings to be more positive. This releases feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins and can make you feel more positive almost immediately.

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During my 25-year career as a lifestyle hypnotherapist I have helped thousands of clients change their negative thought patterns with self and guided hypnosis and meditation. Most of my clients are women. Nearly one in two has gone through divorce, and nearly all have experienced one or more relationship breakdown during their life. Many are surprised at how quickly and easily hypnosis and meditation can change the negative thoughts patterns that have been weighing them down for years.


Take my client Joanne Gibson, for example. She came to one of my Inner-Makeover retreats at age 63. Three months earlier she had lost her husband to a quick and aggressive illness. The love of her life was gone and her heart was shattered.

Joanne had turned to comfort eating to dull the pain, and weighed 119 kilos. She had never exercised and simply walking to the letterbox was a struggle. Using a combination of hypnosis and meditation, just eight months later Joanne had lost 60 kilos and was preparing to compete in a triathlon at the World Masters Games. By learning how to replace negative self talk with uplifting and nourishing self talk, she’d managed to overcome her emotional pain, stop emotional eating, and was feeling more positive and motivated than ever before.

Positive thinking might sound like a cliche, but in matters of the heart, it might just be the most powerful weapon you have.

DIY Heart-Healing Techniques

This quick and easy exercise combines meditation and self hypnosis in one. It only takes a few minutes and can be done by yourself at home:

Step one.

Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit where you won't be disturbed.

Step two.

Close your eyes and be aware of your breathing flowing in and out. Count your breaths backwards from five down to zero (if your mind wanders bring it back to your breathing.)


Step three.

Be aware of any thoughts floating through your mind. Without attaching a story or giving any attention and energy to the thought, notice it and let it pass.

Step four.

When you reach zero, include a mantra with your breathing. As you breathe in, say the first half of the mantra and as you breathe out, say the second half of the mantra.


To heal a broken heart, your mantra (or affirmation) might be “I feel at peace – I am at peace, let it go, I am me – I am free, peace – release.” Each time you sit to meditate you could try a different mantra – a personal message that works the best for you.

Listen to an audio program:

Try the heart-healing techniques on the MindFree app. It guides you step-by-step through relaxation exercises and a range of hynptotic exercises.

Other steps you can take:


Do not underestimate the power of crying or try and hold it back – it can be a powerful tool to help you move on from pain.


Practicing gratitude helps you appreciate what you do have rather than focusing on what you don't. Keeping a gratitude journal can help.


Do things for yourself such as a warm bath, having a massage or getting a facial.

Legally Blonde Breakups
Breakups suck. Period. Image courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.


Accepting the situation will help you let go of the pain attached to it. Repeat to yourself: “That was then, this is now, and I'm okay”.

Be present: 

After a breakup, many people will continually replay events in their minds. Practicing mindfulness can help stop you from doing this. When your mind wanders, bring your attention back to where you are right now and what you are doing, whether it’s washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, eating or simply walking.


Sharing your feelings with a friend or therapist can be very helpful.

Mark Stephens is a lifestyle hypnotherapist and owner of Little Forest Health Retreat and creator of the MindFree app. To find out more about Mark's work and his self-help meditation and hypnosis programs visit the MindFree website.

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