Heartbreaks & Mental Health
Heartbreaks are essentially an interesting phenomenon, not necessarily the term you were expecting, but isn’t it? Love is a beautiful thing when feelings are mutual between two parties. Still, unfortunately, both parties may make commitments that no longer meet up, resulting in mutual or non-mutual separation. However the case may be, breakups hurt. We often describe the gushing sensation of a breakup as the “state of being broken-hearted” because, indeed, the heart is breaking (though not physically).
This is because the pain is real, at least the brain thinks it is. According to FMRI, studies of heartbroken people have revealed that heartbreak activates similar mechanisms in the brain to those activated when we experience physical pain. In some studies, the emotional pain people experienced was rated as equivalent to “nearly unbearable” physical pain. Amongst these, other effects of heartbreak include; increased stress, reduction or increase in weight, feeling of hopelessness, self-deprecation, depression and even suicidal thoughts. Heartbreaks can be a lot to handle because love is a drug.
Being in love helps the brain release feel-good chemicals such as oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine – these chemicals cause feelings of happiness and pleasure. But, unfortunately, these chemicals are how our bodies reward us for connecting with others, and these chemicals can be addictive. Just imagine how it feels to pull the plug on it or, instead, take away drugs from a junkie; there will be withdrawal symptoms; the same goes for heartbreaks.
Here are five helpful ways you can manage your mental health during a heartbreak.
- Acknowledge the breakup. Denial might be easier, but acknowledging the breakup event will mentally prepare you for the hurt to come.
- Allow yourself to feel; you will have a rollercoaster of emotions; don’t clog those pipes. It will burst the pipes, so just the feelings flow.
- Cut communications with the ex; you might want closure; however, their decision to leave tells you they have made a decision. Please take solace in that and move on.
- Watch the negative thoughts- self-blame and deprecation would occur- this is just a friendly reminder that you are worthy of love and being loved right.
- Love yourself; this might be difficult to do, but it is only in loving yourself and working on yourself that you can heal from this hurt.
Healing takes time, so don’t rush things- take it one step at a time and remember you are not alone. Reach out.
Mental Health Referral Centre
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