The Science Behind Heartbreaks: This Is Why It Hurts

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I saw a tweet recently. The tweet described how a goose left its nest, and when it came back its eggs had been smashed by some idiots with bricks. The goose saw the smashed eggs and died on the spot. It literally died of a broken heart. That got me thinking … what actually is a broken heart?

Can Anyone Be Too “Hard” To Get A Broken Heart?

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According to Queensland Health, your brain registers the emotional pain of a heartbreak in the same way that you feel physical pain. And that’s why it actually hurts.

And the reason that there’s any pain at all is that we become addicted to love. Research by psychologist Art Aron (source: Greater Good Magazine by UC Berkley) involved scanning people’s brains in an fMRI machine.

Let’s avoid all that technical stuff we probably wouldn’t understand anyway. Simply put, when you’re in love your brain releases dopamine—which is literally a chemical that makes you feel good. If you take Nicotine or Cocaine, the same chemical is released. It feels good and you want to keep feeling it.

Heartbreak Is What Happens When The Thing That You’re Addicted To Is Taken Away

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When you become really attached to someone, your brain releases dopamine (the feel-good chemical) when you interact with them. However, when heartbreak happens (because men/women are trash) those hormone levels just drop. In addition, they are replaced by Cortisol; a hormone that is associated with stress.

So, yes … you do feel everything physically. However, like stress in general, the pain will begin to alleviate with time.

Source: Queensland Health / Greater Good Magazine


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