The Psychology of Heartbreak (And Ways to Get Over It!)
Do you remember the heaviness in your chest, the uneasy sensation in your stomach, and the sharp ache in your head the last time your heart broke? The millions of songs written about the feelings would say that you're not the only one.
Most of us have had our hearts broken at some point or the other. It might've been the result of a failed relationship, broken friendship, or missing out on a life-long dream. The possibilities are endless. Often the intensity of the heartbreak has little to do with the actual event that causes it. Once lost, every opportunity and person seems too good to have been true when in reality that's usually not the case.
So why does your brain react to heartbreak the way it does and how can you potentially ease the pain? Keep reading to find out!
The Psychological Effects of Heartbreak
Contrary to what the term "Heartbreak" would suggest, love and emotional pain have a lot more to do with your brain compared to your heart. While you're going through a rough patch in your love life, you'll often find people saying "Don't worry, it's just a breakup!", but the dejection and despair can put you in a state that resembles serious mental conditions such as depression.
Heartbreaks are like Coming Off an Addiction
Romantic love activates your dopamine reward system the same way addictive substances like drugs and alcohol do. As a result, you can't get enough of that high when it's in your life but as soon as it's gone, you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
A lot of folks use love to supplement their low self-esteem. Thus, getting rejected by somebody who has been the center of your universe leads to wallowing, an extreme affinity towards going back to the same person, and pouring yourself into activities that generate the same euphoria.
You Devise New Versions of The Truth
We've all had at least one friend who said they broke up with somebody while their partner believed otherwise. Now it's natural for a third party to call them a liar but in reality, research suggests that almost all of us tend to remember things wrong. This tendency is further aggravated when you're afflicted by strong emotions. It explains why people often only focus on the extreme negatives or the positives of a relationship rather than taking it for what it was.
The Pain Caused by Rejected Could be a Nod to your Basic Survival Instincts
Love has hurt people alike over centuries but the severity of social bonds of all kinds may trigger drastic psychological responses because of how essential it has been to the evolution of our species. Back in the days of hunting and gathering, being a part of a tribe warranted food, shelter, and safety. Being shunned would equate to death. Thus your heartbreak could possibly be your brain's way of responding to what it perceives as social danger!
Your Present Trauma May Trigger Traumas from the Past
It's not a coincidence that being heartbroken after the end of a relationship often brings back all the memories of past failures and shortcomings to your mind. You might not be consciously aware of the hurt you accumulated over time due to undealt emotions but it tends to hit like a truck when you're at your lowest point. This transforms your current pain into a larger-than-life agony that you can't seem to get past.
Moving On and Looking Ahead
You know all the symptoms already and you've experienced every bit of the pain, now the question is: How do I get over my heartbreak?
Here are some things you can do to start afresh and give your heart a break from the all-consuming heartbreak.
Reconnect with old and new friends
Relationships can distance you from your social circle so it's wise to fall back into them to seek support when the going gets tough. Not only does it take your mind off obsessive thoughts but also allows you to explore your life in a brand new way.
Take them off your Social Media
This feels like a petty move but it absolutely isn't. The average person uses social media for about 2 hours a day. Watching somebody's life unfold for such an extended period of time each day is certainly not going to help you get them off your brain. Hence, unfollow/unfriend your ex till you have the mental space to finally be around them.
Evaluate The Past
Everything happens for a reason and you can't truly move on till you've accepted and come to terms with what happened. Try to remember why it ended and take away the things you learned from the relationship to build a better future for yourself. It's always great to forgive and forget since resentment only poisons the souls but if you can't absolve past bitterness just yet, know that it's okay to take your time.
Focus on Yourself
Heartbreaks bring in a surge of motivation for each one of us so use it to your benefit. Invest time and resources into personal development or solo travel. Take care of your mind by gaining new experience and your body by eating and exercising well. At the end of the day, the only person you can truly depend on is yourself so treat yourself the way you'd like to be treated in your next relationship.
Heartbreaks can be rough, some more so than others. Venting out your feelings can help you process your feelings and let out the sadness. Iamears provides you a safe space to pour out all your emotions and thoughts anonymously amongst a community of supportive and understanding individuals. You can interact with others on the platform going through the same problems as you and even receive advice from the experts. With Iamears, you've always got a place to confide in and nurture your mental health.