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It’s an experience shared by most people all over the world. A romantic relationship comes to an end and you can’t seem to get the person out of your head. 

For weeks – and even months – you’re plagued by memories and thoughts of regret. 

It turns out the phenomenon has a name: ‘Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda syndrome’, according to some psychologists.

‘I hear a lot of people use the phrase, ‘I should have done it differently” or “I wonder what my life would have been like if only I had (insert lost dream or missed opportunity).” The coulda, woulda, shoulda syndrome can make our lives very difficult to live and even arrest forward,’ says Eric Sudler, a psychologist with the Albert Ellis Institute.’

But your broken-record thoughts are perfectly normal after a break-up – in fact, our brain is wired to have them. Especially if you had unfinished business. 

One noteworthy figure who may relate now more than ever is reality star Scott Disick – the former partner of Kourtney Kardashian, who is rumoured to harbour deep regret that the pair didn’t end up together. 

Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick dated for nine years and had three children together – insiders say Disick has found her new relationship with Travis Barker difficult to stomach

Kourtney, 44, is expected to give birth to her first child with Blink 182 star Travis Barker any day now. She has three children with Disick.

According to psychological science, the suffering is all to do with a phenomenon known as The Ziergarnik Effect – the inate tendency to focus more on uncompleted tasks, than completed ones. 

Brain imaging studies show that information deemed important is quickly moved to a part of the brain responsible for short-term memory, called the hippocampus.

 Many of these memories are discarded or moved to a deeper layer of the brain where it isn’t easily accessed, to make room for new memories.

But if a task is not complete, we are hard-wired to keep it accessible. Brain signals are sent to instruct us to keep rehearsing the information, in order to keep it as reachable as possible, according to studies.

Kourtney and Travis married in May 2022 and the pair are expecting their first child together

It’s only once we complete the task that we can store it in our long term memory bank. 

Studies conducted in the 1960s found proof for the phenomenon. Trials published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that volunteers had better recall of anagrams they couldn’t solve, compared to those they could.

Psychologists say it’s this curious effect – coupled with the acute emotion – that keeps a recently-ended romance in the forefront of your mind. 

So what do you do to stop it?

According to Kelly McMenamin, an organisation and behavior expert, the trick is to plan something to do to about the situation to ‘relieve cognitive tension’.

In the case of a failed relationship, this could be to discuss regrets, desires and hopes with a loved-one, or make plans for your life after the person. 

But experts also say it’s important to give yourself a break. Time is the ultimate healer.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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