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Have you ever had a broken heart? Then you know crushing grief that smothers your chest, fills you with pain, and creates an endless stream of tears. You then cry yourself to sleep only to wake up again with even more pain and even more tears. It sucks. It hurts. It's frustrating.
But why are broken hearts painful? Why are we vulnerable when we love? Turns out we can blame nature for that. Humans are wired to maintain close relationships. In the early days, it's essential for survival. If the bonds are strong, it is likely that we'll stay with our mate and our tribe. If we lose these relationships, however, pain happens. The more attached we are, the more painful the loss is.
And that emotional pain translates to physical pain. Broken heart syndrome is a thing and people die from it. So when we hear someone say she’s dying of a broken heart, there is some truth to what she is saying. She may be exaggerating, but it’s not just all drama. In extreme cases, the pain mimics heart attacks. And pretty soon, someone dies or at least feels like it.
Heart attacks and broken hearts are clinically different and not equally fatal though. Usually, the typical heart attack patient has a variety of illnesses and symptoms that are not always present in broken-hearted people. A heart attack patient may have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, with a sedentary lifestyle, etc. Broken-hearted people manifest physical signs too. They may have hearts that have weaker contractions in the middle and upper sections. This symptom, expectedly, is also caused by stress. So a stressed, broken-hearted, not-physically-fit person is in real danger of dying from heart disease.
So what can you do to survive heartbreak? The best way is to give yourself time and the chance to heal.
Then, there’s is also the widowhood effect. In this case someone who’s been in a long, usually fulfilling relationship dies shortly after the death of a partner. Routines that have been in place for many years are disrupted. Major changes happen. Imagine that your partner has prepared your coffee all these years. When he dies, you’ll still have the coffee maker, but no coffee. It may be trivial, but this disruption can be heartbreaking. Broken hearts and old age can be a fatal combination.
So what can you do to survive heartbreak? The best way is to give yourself time to heal. There’s this myth that says that recovery is half the time that you had that relationship. So if you were together for two years, give yourself one year to recover and so on. Fortunately, there’s no truth to this as for example, what happens if you were together for 20 years? Will you be miserable for the next 10?
So there is no scientific proof about the length of time to recover, though most peg it at a few months to a year. Many never fully recover, and just gain enough strength to move on.
You might not want to believe it now, but broken hearts do eventually heal.
You can also do a lot of things to start the healing process:
You might not want to believe it, but broken hearts do eventually heal. You can’t go on eating tubs of Ben and Jerry’s forever. Or not.
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