Think Tank

What Exactly Happens During A Heart-break?

What Exactly Happens During A Heart-break?

Have you ever felt your heart contract and shrink during a break-up? Don’t be surprised. Feeling physical pain in your heart is an actual occurrence and not just part of Bollywood films and heart-break poetry.

Heart Break

Scientific studies have shown that a heart-break results in a similar brain activity as occurring during emotional and physical pain. The anterior cingulate cortex becomes more active. (Source) The feel-good hormones in the brain, dopamine and oxytocin, can deplete, while cortisol and epinephrine, the stress hormones can multiply. So the pain is for real.

Some of the effects of a heart-break could be –

  1. Depression
  2. Withdrawal symptoms
  3. Rapid weight loss/gain
  4. Guilt trips
  5. Stress
  6. Anger
  7. Insomnia
  8. Drug abuse
  9. Feeling of loneliness
  10. Panic attacks
  11. Social rejection

Whether it is the loss of a loved one, spouse, pet or friend, heart-break is painful. And it needs to be dealt with the same way as any other problem/illness. Here are a few suggestions that one can follow to recover from a heart-break –

  • Seek counselling – Nothing better than talking to a stranger who is also an expert in psychology. Counselling genuinely helps.
  • Accept the past – You can’t change the past but you can definitely shape your future. Accept the heart-break as an experience that will help you learn, evolve and grow.
  • Shift your focus – Invest more time into work or pursue something creative. Pick up a new hobby. Go on a trekking trip. Shift your focus from the immediate past to the present and to a hopeful future.
  • Spend time with your ‘besties’ – You best friends are the best people to hang out with after a heart-break. They will boost your morale, motivate you to feel better and keep you busy.
  • Volunteer – Offer help and work with an NGO or a charitable institution for the underprivileged or the challenged. It will give you a wider perspective on life and make you realise that your heart-break is not the end of the world.
  • Read – Read something light and funny or engage in puzzles and games.

While the science behind a heart-break is real and causes tangible pain, the odds behind the possibility of a better future are equally real and offer many opportunities. So grab such interesting opportunities and move on!

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