When you have physical symptoms of heartbreak, you might feel like you are going to die from the pain.
When you have physical symptoms of heartbreak, you might feel like you are going to die from the pain. Metaphorically speaking your heart was pounded with a sledgehammer over and over.
You cry for days and spiral into depression listening to Cat Power and Coldplay. You sleep hoping the pain will go away, but the dreams of him keep coming back.
Heartbreak is more painful than having a baby, kidney stones, and the ominous paper cut.
And you are not alone.
We’ve all been there and if you feel like your heart is breaking, well— it is, and there are physical symptoms that are like having a heart attack.
You would probably choose to get your foot run over by a mac truck than to have your heart broken again, and the struggle is real, it’s not just “in your head.”
Science shows up that heartbreak is for real, (I’m sure you already know this), and I’m going to go into some of the symptoms in case you were wondering.
The symptoms of heartbreak
Your brain tells you that you are physically hurt.
When your boyfriend of 9 months suddenly stops taking your phone calls and just disappears out of thin air, it can feel like this is the end.
I lost him. It’s over, and so is my life!
It can consume every waking minute of your day. Thoughts of him, how handsome he was, and what an amazing lover he was, and the things you could have done to stop the breakup.
A Women’s Health Naomi Eisenberger, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, says that your brain is tipping off your body that being dumped hurts you physically.
When you are in the throes of passionate love the pleasure centers in your brain are lit up and when the focus of your affection up and leaves, the feel-good chemicals that used to be there tumble down leaving you more vulnerable to stress hormones.
When your heart is breaking it hurts like hell, and it’s not pretend hurt. The pain you feel is real
Heartbreak Tip #1. Start practicing mindfulness.
Live in the moment. Breathe and step outside of yourself. Practice being compassionate with your heart.
Be mindful of the physical symptoms of heartbreak instead of being overwhelmed by them. Notice your surroundings and tell yourself that you will be OK.
You lose weight or gain weight.
When I went through a bad breakup, I lost 20 pounds in one month. The thought of eating more than two bites of a sandwich made my stomach turn.
The depression diet was real. The anxiety puts my body into overdrive and made me think that I didn’t need food. It was disgusting.
While other people binge on potato chips, cake, mac n cheese, or pretty much anything you can get your paws on all day every day.
These physical symptoms of heartbreak are common seeing that your body is working to repair itself from the damage.
Eating food comforts you. And from an energetic standpoint, I believe that your body is telling you that by adding an extra layer of fat to your physical body will somehow protect you from the pain.
But it will still hurt no matter how many tubs of ice cream you eat.
Heartbreak Tips #2 Eat more fruits and vegetables.
According to Science Daily, a study at the University of Warwick Research supported the theory that subjects who increased their fruits and veggies increased their life satisfaction.
If that cream cheese danish is calling your name, top it with some apple slices or blueberries. It’s not rocket science adding more healthy food to your diet, but this simple trick could help you feel better faster.
When you eat something healthy, you are telling yourself that you deserve health and happiness.
Stress hormones take you over.
When the feel-good hormones like dopamine and oxytocin are flowing, they activate feelings of happiness and pleasure.
When these go away, the good feeling hormones disappear, and the stress hormones like cortisol are front and center.
Cortisol tells your brain to send more blood to your muscles and resulting in the painful feeling in your heart that you feel as physical symptoms of heartbreak.
Heartbreak Tip #3 Decrease cortisol with these easy tips:
2. Don’t drink caffeine in the evening.
3. Sleep in a dark room.
4. Get enough sleep.
5. Take some quiet time before bed. No music, television.
6. Read a feel-good novel before bed; this will take your mind off of your problems.
7. Take naps.
Depression is your new best / worst friend
According to Psychology Today there was a study at Virginia Commonwealth University that studied 7,000 twins and their levels of depression based on traumatic experiences in their life.
The researchers found “losses that involved lower self-esteem were twice as likely to trigger depression as ones that involved loss alone.”
Rejection is a massive blow to your self-esteem, we all have felt this before, and it is devastating.
Heartbreak tip #4 Set goals.
Make a to-do list of things every day and make sure there is at least one thing that you can do to make yourself feel better. Take a bath, do yoga, have some herbal tea, watch a funny movie, or talk to your best friend on the phone.
At this time self-care should be on the top of your to-do-list.
Heartbreak withdrawal symptoms are like those of a cocaine addict.
Love has similar addicting qualities in your brain of cocaine. When a cocaine addict is cut off from their fix, withdrawal symptoms occur.
When your love fix is cut off, you also go through symptoms of withdrawal.
Heartbreak tip #5 Delete your ex from all social media.
Unfriend your ex from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you’re social media stalking him, you will be putting yourself back to the painful place and will have heartbreak withdraw symptoms again. The more you torture yourself, the longer the pain will last.
According to The Frisky, these areas of the brain are lit up after seeing photos of your ex, but like any other withdrawal symptom, it will go away.
Don’t call him. Don’t text him.
Heartbreak tip bonus. Be Social
When you go through a bad breakup, you might want to crawl under the covers forever. Give yourself a couple of days to cry, hit your pillow and binge on Netflix, but do not make this a habit.
Do something that makes you feel good off of your couch, and out of your bed. Go to the gym, go shopping, join a book club, go to dinner with your besties, or go dancing.
Anything to get your dopamine levels higher. When this happens, you will start to feel better and feeling better is good for your soul. Over time, you will find that your heartbreak symptoms disappearing from your body.
Your life will always have ups and downs, and if you can feel this bad, you can also feel the opposite.
You can and will feel good again (even after losing they guy you thought was your soulmate).
Be gentle with yourself and don’t “blame” yourself for everything that happened. Breakups are a two-way street, and it is not all your fault.
And even though breakups are painful they will help you become wiser. Soul wrenching experiences help you expand into something even better. This experience is part of your soul growth, and that my sister is a good thing.
You are lovable and will have love again. I promise.
Broken Heart Syndrome Treatment
According to Mayo Clinic, broken heart syndrome treatment and heart attack treatment are pretty similar. You will be given medication like ACE inhibitors and anti-anxiety medicine to help relieve heart tension. Broken heart syndrome treatment is expected to last a few months.
Psychological Effects of Heartbreak
The psychological effects of heartbreak are as painful as the physical. The brain continuously cycles through the memories and experiences with our ex, forcing us to ruminate the past when you’re having physical symptoms of a broken heart.
In our high-stress state, it is important to respond rationally to the intrusive thoughts to manage the psychological effects of heartbreak.
What are the physical symptoms of a broken heart?
Here are a few physical symptoms to look out for:
- Weight Loss/Gain
- Chest pain
- Shortness of Breath
- Increase in Stress Hormones
- Withdrawal Symptoms
Go see a doctor if any of these heartbreak symptoms worsen or interfere with your daily life. These are real side effects of heartbreak and it’s not only in your head. Seek the help you need.