Does this breakup tradition sound familiar? Binge watching Love Actually while shoveling Ben and Jerry's into our mouths at the speed of light. While what we do when we break up sounds almost identical to our version of a rowdy Saturday night (sad, we know), breakups are usually described as being painful. Although this word describe our emotional state, it can actually synonymously apply to our physical health too.
In a 40-person study, all of which whom had gone through a recent breakup, their brains were scanned while they looked through photos of their exes. While they were fixated on the photos and continuously thinking about the breakup, the part of the brain associated with physical pain was found active.
Our brains love to love. The feeling of love induces happy hormones and our brains essentially float up to cloud nine. However, things aren't so dreamy when love leaves us. Instead, we begin to release stress hormones like cortisol (which we are all used to anyway, right?). While small doses of stress hormones are beneficial to us, a long-term heartbreak can trigger an overflow of these hormones. Here's what happens to us physically when we go through a breakup:
The 'breakup cold'
When stress hormones are out of control, our immune system can hit a wall, making it difficult for our bodies to fight off bugs and illnesses.
Cravings and addictions
A broken heart activates the part of our brain that is responsible for cravings and addictions.
Too much cortisol
Cortisol is the stress hormone we release. When too much is released, it sends blood to our muscles, making them tense. This can result in headaches, muscle swelling and a tight chest. The cortisol also diverts blood away from the digestive system which explains appetite loss. The steady release of cortisol can also cause sleeping problems as well as our ability to make logical decisions.
But, for now, we'll take back to back binges of our favourite soppy movies and a tonne of junk food, thanks.
Photo credit: thesource.com