4 Science-Backed Ways To Have A Massive Glow-Up That Makes Your Exes Cry

Personal Development

We all love a good comeback story. When recovering and healing from a toxic relationship, many women share that they feel they are aging backwards and reverting back to their “true” self before the relationship. This is not surprising, as there are many biochemical and physiological changes that take place in the body and brain during an unhealthy relationship. Once the healing journey begins, victims of toxic relationships often see themselves experiencing a massive glow-up – in reality, it’s just a return to their natural beauty and peaceful mindset. Here are four science-backed ways you can “glow up” in many different ways, physically and also mentally, after a toxic relationship.

Exercise, intermittent fasting, and moderating unhealthy carbohydrates under the strict guidance of a doctor or nutritionist.

During a toxic relationship, levels of the stress hormone cortisol go haywire. What some people may not be aware of is that cortisol also affects insulin levels, potentially increasing insulin resistance which may contribute to excessive weight gain and a plethora of other health issues. One science-backed way to disrupt insulin resistance according to research is intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting and exercise have other benefits as well, since studies show that they both increase brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the brain. BDNF is like fertilizer for the brain, contributing to the survival and growth of neurons and bringing with it antidepressant effects that combat the effects of trauma in the brain. Gentle exercise such as walks are encouraged during this time as well, and nutritionists generally suggest turning more towards eating more high-fiber carbohydrates  and healthy fats (like whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, avocados) rather than simple carbohydrates (such as sugary foods, candy, white bread, and refined starches) in your meals while still ensuring your meals remain nutrient-dense and balanced. This is important since excessive consumption of unhealthy carbohydrates (which are common when one stress eats in a toxic relationship) can affect your health long-term as well. Speak to your doctor or nutritionist about any changes to your diet and be aware that such changes must be heavily monitored, especially if you have a habit of disordered eating patterns. Do not engage in intermittent fasting or special diets, for example, if you have a history of eating disorders, without speaking to your doctor.

Processing traumas in therapy like EMDR or DBT.

Trauma lives in the body and how we process trauma can affect the way we look, think, and feel. Survivors of toxic relationships report that during the relationship, they may have experienced unwanted appearance changes to their face, hair, skin, weight, that seemed to dissipate once they began healing some of the emotional trauma they experienced. They may have also experienced PTSD and intrusive thoughts, memories, flashbacks, and nightmares. Processing your relationship through therapies like EMDR and DBT can help for self-soothing and healing and lower cortisol levels as well.  If you find yourself overwhelmed by trauma, EMDR doesn’t require as much talking about the trauma as it does actually processing the trauma by bypassing the amygdala through rapid, alternating eye movements, and instilling healthier beliefs. DBT teaches emotional regulation and self-soothing skills that can help you during times of acute stress or reliving the traumatic event.

Maintain a mindful lifestyle that incorporates yoga and meditation.

Have a “mindful” makeover of your mindset. Daily meditation and yoga are evidence-based, supplementary practices that can be added to any healing journey. Meditation and mindfulness along with grounding techniques can help enhance executive functioning which includes decision-making, planning, focus, and emotional regulation, all of which are often affected negatively by the trauma of a toxic relationship. If done on a daily basis, studies reveal it can even begin to heal parts of the brain most affected by trauma such as the prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, and the hippocampus. Yoga can also help decrease PTSD symptoms and give you a sense of mastery over your own body and a greater appreciation of what your body can do, which may help battle the effects of body dysmorphia or body image issues. Many survivors have experienced positive effects of both, sharing that they have felt calmer, more peaceful, and able to tackle their goals and dreams with more ease when incorporating these methods.

Channel your experiences into success.

A physical and mental glow-up are lovely, and so is a financial glow-up! Give yourself the “Elle Woods” treatment and replace the dopamine rush of your hot-and-cold relationship with motivation toward your career and financial goals instead. In a toxic relationship, people often lose their sense of self and identity. If you still have distress or anger regarding what you experienced in the relationship, harness those emotions into determination to set goals and chase after your dreams, the ones you may have had before the relationship or could have been inspired to go toward afterwards – whether it be going back to school, refocusing on your career, building thriving social networks, use this time of independence to do what you love and cultivate your gifts and talents to help yourself and the world around you. Remember, success and leveling up are the best and most productive “revenge” there is! Go forth and prosper. You deserve it.

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