Breaking up hurts – and sometimes that pain is physical in addition to emotional. Research has found that people who have experienced a painful breakup actually show brain activity similar to those who are in physical pain.
Why do heartbreaks hurt?
Researchers have compared the brain activity of those going through the emotional pain od a breakup alongside people who are in physical pain. The results showed that emotional and physical pain are processed in the same part of the brain.
Of course, pain is subjective, so pain research is hard to quantify, but it does explain why breakups can hurt so bad.
We’ve long known about the mind-body connection, but this is next-level.
Research by author Meghan Laslocky (cited by Healthline, below) suggests that heartbreak hurts so much “because both the sympathetic and parasympathetic activation systems are triggered simultaneously.”
Healthline explains: “The parasympatheticsystem is the part of your nervous system that handles relaxed functions like digestion and saliva production. It slows the heart rate and breathing. The sympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, gets the body ready for action. It’s the “flight or fight” response that sends hormones rushing through the body to increase heart rate, and wake up your muscles. When both are turned on simultaneously, it stands to reason that the body would experience discomfort — possibly even chest pains.”
Don’t discount emotional pain
People have had heart attacks and have even died after experiencing heartbreak. But these are extreme cases.
Still, it would be unwise to discount the pain someone is going through after a breakup of the death of a loved one. Heartbreak can lead to changes in appetite, low motivation, weight loss gain, headaches, and stomach pain.
Even worse, unlike physical pain, medicine doesn’t help heartbreak. The only real remedy is time. – WTF fun facts