| 9.6°C Dublin

More to Adele than a shiny surface

A Vogue cover, the biggest-selling album in decades, a herd of celebrity fans . . .

Adele certainly seems to have the world at her feet. Yet scratch the surface, and Adele herself admits that she doesn't have it all. In a recent interview, she admitted that she would 'do anything' to be back with the boyfriend who inspired her smash hit Someone Like You. Famous though she may be, the 23-year-old is still human, and vulnerable when it comes to matters of the heart.

As it goes, rare is the girl who can dust herself off and soldier on after a break-up without breaking pace. Cheryl Cole spent months on the proverbial ropes after her split with Ashley Cole. Likewise, Demi Moore cuts a gaunt and forlorn figure after her recent heartbreak. And you can bet that Kim Kardashian is nursing some wounds behind closed doors and beyond that glossy exterior.

Back in the real world, there can often be some old flame in the background who will always be your personal Achilles heel. And, after almost two decades of hunting high and low for Mr Right (or even Mr Might Be Right), I've been there, done that, and bought the requisite ice-cream-and-wine combo.

I follow the same sorry post-split pattern to the letter; wound licking, a spot of cyber stalking, chronic mentionitis among friends, and plenty of retail therapy.

I make all sorts of noises about 'moving on', but a small part of me -- my ego, mainly -- remains dented, wounded and hell-bent on revenge. All told, I've become a masterclass in what not to do after a break-up.

And so the question looms large; how to move on fully from a break-up with minimal blowback? Here's how to get over heartbreak . . . without the help of our two friends Ben & Jerry.

1look after your health Proof that break-ups are in fact bad for your health: rejection may take such a toll on a person that their heart actually stops, according to new research. Dutch scientists have found that romantic rejection and other psychological pain can make your heart stop momentarily.

Research shows the brain uses some of the same regions to process physical and emotional pain, affecting the nervous system as well as hurting your feelings.

"Women can be affected by break-ups on a psychodynamic level, meaning that if you're angry, you're pretty much priming yourself for a heart attack," explains Allison Keating of bWell Clinic.

"Adrenaline passes through your body and hardens your arteries. Worse, people get transfixed by this anger."

The best post-split tactic is to get back on that horse . . . or rather, back on that treadmill. A known stress reliever, exercise will also get your endorphins (feel-good hormones) flowing again. Plus, you will look pretty good to boot, which is no bad thing when you're single and ready to mingle.

2wallow . . . but not for too long The fact remains: you are slap bang in the middle of a grieving process. "Females project a future with the men they meet . . . even from the first date they're imagining wedding bells and a future together. If you've invested a lot in the relationship, you're grieving the future you thought you'd have, but now won't," explains Jenny Grainger from the Irish School of Life.

"You have to allow yourself to feel that pain and it's a process you need to go through, so cry your eyes out and get your girlfriends around."

This phase, however, has a shelf life: "Allow it for a few days," concedes Jenny. "Then, try and get yourself into a position of power, regardless of how the break-up happened."

3don't use facebook as a weapon It's easy to tell when a girl is freshly 'liberated' from a relationship, because all of a sudden her profile is teeming with proclamations that "life is AMAAAZING!" and "there are SOOOO many hot men in my life right now! I'm deliriously, face-achingly happy, SEE?"

The golden rule of Facebook is, if you're telling everyone how fabulous your life is, your life probably isn't all that fabulous to begin with. If it was, you wouldn't be online saying so. Certainly not at 3am on a Tuesday.

If you're creating a fabulous new you for the sake of your ex, your efforts could well be in vain. "You can ensure you have great photos of yourself online, but the reality is that most guys don't care about this stuff," warns Joan Mulvihill of the Irish Internet Association.

"The chances of him looking at your post-split profile is pretty much nil. When you want revenge after a break-up, a much safer bet is to pray quietly that his football team loses over the weekend."

4think twice before reuniting If you ended the relationship, there's a good chance that you will feel as though you've made a huge mistake. Starved of affection and scared of the big bad world of dating, some people would rather take the path of least resistance and return to the safe confines of their old relationship.

"Thinking that you have made a mistake by breaking up with someone is really normal," says Lisa O'Hara, author of When a Relationship Ends: Surviving the Emotional Rollercoaster of Separation. What else is going on in your life?

"There's chance your ex may have been a good support in the past, and you're struggling with something now. Try to find another person to help in difficult times," she says. "The thing is, it's okay to miss an ex but if you don't understand that it's a normal part of the process, you could make a huge mistake."

5don't rebound It's long been said that the best way to get over a man is to get under another: not strictly true. "If you broke your legs, you'd expect to take time out and recuperate," says life coach Jenny. "The same can be said about a broken heart. You need to take stock, and ask yourself what you learned about yourself, and what you do and don't want out of your next relationship."

6don't turn your lukewarm relationship into the great romance Take off the rose-tinted lenses, and see the relationship for what it really was. "When a relationship ends we get very romantic about it all," observes Jenny. "The reality, of course, is that this might not be strictly true. Get a piece of paper and write out the truth about him, who he really was and what your time together was really like."

Adds Lisa: "It's normal to idealise a lost person. However, this can stop you moving on. More often than not, we believe that we have strong feelings for an ex without checking, 'do I really feel this way?'"

7be kind to yourself Give yourself a week of watching daytime TV or eating junk food with impunity . . . but be sure to stick to your seven-day deadline. And, on your week off from the world, resist the urge to ruminate, lay blame or rake over old arguments. "Are you being kind to yourself or giving yourself a hard time over this relationship?" says Jenny. "You need to nurture yourself and bring yourself back up to strength."

8don't get stuck Experts will tell you that there is no time limit when it comes to the grieving process. Yet if you find yourself stuck on a person several years after you've broken up -- much like poor Adele -- this may be a problem.

"You can get stuck in the grieving process, and this often has to do with feeling abandoned or rejected," observes Lisa. "If you're really finding it impossible to let go after a significant amount of time, you may need to consider professional help. Your inability to move on may stem from abandonment or rejection earlier on in life, or other unresolved issues."

9get with your gal pals If your social life has been more candlelit dinners, snuggles and mini-breaks than cocktail hour and karaoke, you may find yourself out on a limb socially after a split. Naturally, you'll want to enlist your friends for morale-boosting nights out, but proceed with caution.

"If you've dropped your friends for a man, you have to navigate quite carefully and adopt the 'softly, softly' approach," says Jenny. "It's not appropriate to cry on their shoulders if you've been nowhere to be seen before this."

10stay away from your ex "Most women try to keep that connection open, even though it is akin to masochism," says Jenny. "That person's been a big part of your life so it's normal to want contact. But try to avoid it at all costs. Seeing him flirt with other girls in a bar won't make you feel better; in fact, it will perpetuate the bad feelings. Ask yourself this every time you go to call him, stalk him on Facebook or try to see him: does this bring you peace, or does this bring you stress?"