From literature to plays and movies throughout the world, humanity’s obsession with heartbreak is just as strong as our obsession with love. But, is a broken heart an abstract concept or are there physical effects on the body and brain?

Heartbreak is not just s failure in the domain of emotions. To many people the pain is quite physical.

The Physical vs Emotional Pain

Pain is the way the mind responds to the trouble inside the body.

Broken heart symbol

Broken heart symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we endure a physical pain, like a cut or an injury, the anterior cingulate cortex of the brain is simulated. Strangely enough, it is the same region of the brain that is activated when we face seclusion or the loss of a social relationship. Hence it could be said that the physical and emotional pain is not as different as we had imagined.

No wonder, many metaphors of lost love depict some sort of physical pain. For example, “He ripped my heart” and “It is like a slap in the face”. Hence, philosophers never come up with totally foolish ideas, there is always some basis!

Studies have shown that most human beings would rather be physically scarred rather than emotionally pained.

Why Humans Despise Heartbreak

According to the evolutionary studies, human beings tend to persist upon activities that ensure their survival and better chances of successful evolution. The rise of relationships and social bonds between people has become an important part of survival for many species.

How to Alleviate the Heart Ache?

Studies have shown that higher level of social support is related to lower levels of pain. During heartbreak, socially alienated people show poor adjustment. If someone is feeling broken hearted, he shall seek the company of friends and family. If you know of someone going through a break up, be there for social support.

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