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What does your brain say about your broken heart?

-Shailee Patel

“I don’t wanna say it, but somebody’s gotta say That It’s Over” - Hayley Warner in Closure.

Everyone has been in love at least once in their lives. We all have had crushes, been in one-sided love, or love with a fictional character, but even if for once - we have all experienced the fresh feeling of being in love. The giddiness you feel as you start your day and the euphoric feeling from the excitement of thinking about seeing them. However, all comes to an end when this love is broken. The thing about heartbreak is that it is not all your heart, it is also your brain that is affected.

Researchers have found through neuroimaging studies that the brain activity of someone who has been recently through heartbreak is similar to that of someone with physical pain. This shows that our brain processes heartbreak as a physical wound and that our brain controls both emotional and physical pain in the same regions.

In response to the increased brain activity to process the pain of heartbreak, stress levels are increased which in turn releases the stress hormone cortisol, which is responsible for heightened heart rate and blood pressure.

During a heartbreak, there is an immense imbalance of hormones, from happy hormones to stress hormones and a change in neuronal activity in different brain regions. This is very similar to what an addict feels during withdrawal because the happy hormones trigger the brain’s reward systems.

"The brain’s reward systems are still expecting their romantic ‘fix’, but they’re not getting the responses they expect, and like someone in the depths of a drug addiction, they turn up the volume in an effort to get you to respond,” points Diane Kelly. As cruel as it may seem, our brain is hardwired to move-on. It takes about three months for the brain to rewire itself and push us to get over our ex.

Although the pain one goes through is terrible, one must take care of oneself when dealing with heartbreak. A few things that can be done are -

  • Push yourself to go out, exercise.

  • Keep doing things you like.

  • Eat your favourite food.

  • Give time to yourself, pamper your needs.

  • Try talking to more friends and keep drinking enough water.

The last but the most important one is to allow yourself to cry, do not bottle it all up..!