How to heal a broken heart

A broken nail, twisted ligament, broken arm… But what about a broken heart? Heartache can feel physically painful too, and everyone who's ever tried it knows how much it can hurt. Luckily enough, unlike some other anatomical fractures, the heart can't literally break into pieces, right?


Yes, it can happen. Or in fact, it happens every year for about 30 Danes, mostly ±60-year-old women. The heart gets paralyzed, it stops beating and the left ventricle rises to the breaking point. It is probably the stress hormones in our bodies that cause this heart-failure, and the condition can, quite naturally, be life-threatening.

In Japan, they call it Takotsubo, since this phenomenon was first discovered by the Japanese scientist who noticed that the heart with a swollen main chamber looks like a basketry trap used by fishermen for catching squids - a takotsubo. In the Western world, this disorder is simply called Broken heart syndrome.

Stress or a great deal of grief such as heartache can therefore trigger a heart failure, and the symptoms are confusingly similar to a blood clot: Severe chest pain and suffocation. Such symptoms imply that a person is in a serious, life-threatening situation and should be hospitalized immediately. Fortunately, most people recover from it, their hearts begin to pump normally again, and they can go on with their lives again. But hey! What if emotional problems and love-sickness have caused all this trouble in the first place? Could it then happen again? Well yes, it actually could.

That's why a heartache is like a shipwreck. It is all about getting away from it and then reaching safely ashore. Not only to avoid being affected by the rare Broken heart syndrome but also to get away from the traumatic condition that a broken heart can cause.

Read also: How to find a partner in 2020

But what's a man to do when you've been abandoned or have lost your loved one?

Researchers from the United States have shown that love pain, along with dating problems in general, activate processes in the brain, similar to those which occur when you burn yourself. So, something does happen. It is not "just" gloomy and sorrowful emotional state or mood that one feels powerless over. And just like a broken nail, twisted ligament or broken arm, heartache can also heal. But to make it happen, you have to reach out for a whole a lot different first-aid-kit.

Use your brain

Everything inside you screams, telling you to curl up in your bed and cry your eyes out. And just like wasp circles around a marmalade jar, you circle around your love tragedy - unable to think of anything else. But this is necessary. By using your brain in a game of chess, a Sudoku or Tetris, you'll block your memory and you'll be able to shift your focus. Soldiers with war traumas have successfully used this healing method to get better.

Use your body

Motion and fresh air provide new energy and get your mind off things. Nature is incredibly capable of creating a distraction, but so is a floor mopping as well. It's just about what kind of activities you enjoy the most and how much time you have… Anything other than staying in bed all day watching cheesy romantic TV series is highly recommendable.

Think ahead

There seems like there's absolutely nothing to look forward to when you're suffering from heartache. And even though the good old sayin' "time heals all wounds" cannot apply to people who have lost their sight, hearing or mobility, it surely applies to the emotional wounds. Over time, grief fades, and you may even reward a new man or woman with the "my one and only" title. Yes, it might be tough to imagine it right after a breakup, but give it a thought.

Cry it all out

Crying releases some hormonal substances that have a pain-relieving and calming effect, and you've probably noticed that it's easier to fall asleep after a good sob. Therefore, the skies ahead might look brighter after you've let it all out.

Read also: That’s why we’re happy to be together

Stay out of trouble

Alcohol, drugs and overeating do provide instant relief from all sorts of misfortunes, but the misuse of it can also cause unrepairable damage to your self-esteem. Besides, it's not good for your physique either. So, before you start destroying your body, think for a second - isn't it enough that I already feel down mentally? Yes, it is.

Pamper yourself

If there is a time when you need encouragement, it is now! The rumour says that a broken heart is not healed by traveling, getting a new pair of shoes or the latest iPhone. But so what? Being your own best friend, especially in a difficult situation or a period of life, is an excellent strategy.

Let it hurt

It would have been SO MUCH better without having to go through this! For sure! Definitely! But no one gets through life without bruises. Sometimes it's hard, painful, unimaginable, and by accepting that circumstance, it can be easier to deal with it and go on. It may seem impossible to handle this emotional tsunami that comes with a breakup. One day you feel miserable and paralyzed, and the very next day, you are almost ferocious, ready to clean the entire apartment upside-down. Letting these mood swings pass as changing weather helps to find your way back to the good old, normal-self.

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