Can science solve your broken heart?

There are tons of movies on it. There have been tons of songs written about it.

What am I talking about?

Heartbreak. 

We’ve all been through some heartbreak at one point in our lives: the awful feeling in your chest, the nausea, the lethargy… I can go on and on about how utterly terrible it is. But did you know that the emotional pain you feel actually translates to physical pain?

Yes, there’s a scientific reason to why you feel so bad and don’t want to get out of bed, kind of like this little guy below. But what is it?

When we suffer from emotional pain and forms of rejection, our brain translates this as the same thing as physical pain–the region in our brain that lights up when we’re in physical pain also lights up when we experience a breakup. The chemicals present in your body when you’re in a happy relationship and that make you feel great–dopamine and oxytocin–also disappear, leaving you more receptive to other, less pleasant hormones (like stress hormones).

Heartbreak puts your body under a ton of stress, and a long-term buildup of stress hormones can have terrible effects on your health: your muscles swell up, you get tense, you get headaches, you start to have digestive/stomach problems, and your immune system goes down!

So what can you do, besides binge-watching Netflix and stuffing your face with ice cream (not recommended, by the way)? I don’t have the key to getting over heartbreak (I wish I did), but I do have some tips that will help you feel a bit better and hopefully get you feeling back to normal in no time:

  • Practice some natural ways to calm your body down. Deep breathing is an example of a great technique that effectively calms your whole body.
  • Be active. Yup, you’re going to have to drag yourself out of bed and get moving. Working out will lift your mood (and improve your health) by stimulating the release of endorphins, hormones that make you feel great and give you that “runner’s high.”
  • Go back to doing things you like, or if that’s too painful, try some new things. Having any type of fun will help to lift your mood, and get rid of the physical pain of heartbreak as well.
  • Surround yourself with friends. As cliche as it may sound, you don’t have to go through all of this alone–in fact, getting together with some friends also stimulates the release of the hormones that your body once had during your past relationship.

 

What are your go-to methods for dealing with heartbreak? Feel free to share them below in the comments, or check out this article for more info.

 

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