What exactly does it mean to have a “broken heart?” Is it a legitimate medical condition or merely a side effect of an emotional disturbance? Is it more psychological than biological? Is it possible to cure it?
As with most things concerning human nature, a broken heart is a multi-faceted issue that cannot be lumped into a single category. It can most accurately be described as a conglomeration of multiple factors. These factors are better understood if they are examined individually.
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The internet is a buzzing arena of advice regarding love and relationships. Broken heart quotes, sentimental websites, and online chatrooms are frequently erected to help those suffering from heartbreak.
However, these online tips fail to educate audiences on one of the most fundamental aspects of heartache. By doing this, sufferers are not given a comprehensive understanding of their condition. The first thing to realize about a broken heart is that it is a real medical condition.
Broken Heart Syndrome
This medical condition is known as Broken Heart Syndrome. It is a temporary heart complication brought about by stressful conditions, such as divorce, a breakup, or the death of a loved one. As a result, the heart will pump with unusually forceful contractions caused by the heart’s reaction to a strong surge of stress hormones. This temporary disruption is what inflicts the ache that is often associated with a broken heart.
Broken Heart Syndrome vs. Heart Attack
Broken Heart Syndrome is often mistaken for a heart attack. However, its symptoms follow extreme stress, whereas a heart attack can occur with little or no external provocation. Listed below are some basic variations between the two conditions:
- The EKG (a test that records your heart’s electric activity) does not look the same as the EKG results for someone having a heart attack.
- Blood tests show no physical signs of heart damage and no signs of blockage in the coronary arteries.
- Tests demonstrate “ballooning” of the left ventricle.
- Recovery time for Broken Heart Syndrome is usually within a matter of days. Recovery time for a heart attack, by contrast, can take up to a month.
Although the depictions of heartbreak in literature can appear dramatic and overdone, experts state that dying from a broken heart is actually within scientific possibility. People have been known to die from what seems to be, based on all physical analysis, a broken heart.
Although the physical manifestations of a broken heart recede within a week, the emotional and psychological trauma is quite another matter.
How to Cure a Broken Heart by Practicing Good Thoughts
A broken heart has many of its roots in psychological factors (i.e., memories, guilt, and so forth). Because of this, experts have accumulated tips throughout the years designed to equip sufferers with a series of mental techniques. The goal is to shed further light on how to get over a broken heart and demonstrate to sufferers that the road to healing is not as obscure as they may think.
When you suffer from a broken heart, this goes against all of your natural inclinations. Most of us would rather run from pain than fling ourselves into its arms. However, burying your emotions will only allow all that negative energy to smolder beneath the surface. After a while, they will reach an excruciating boil that may break you worse than a confrontation would have. Sometimes a firm acceptance of pain is the best way to repair your broken heart.
You do not want to indulge in extreme fantasies, but thinking about the good times you had with your significant other is normal and even healthy. Recollection may bring pain, anger, or bitterness, but repressing things would only worsen. Let your emotions, as contradictory and powerful as they may seem, have their course.
Crying is not a weakness. On the contrary, grieving is a natural process, and there is no need to be ashamed of it. Moreover, many physiological advantages can result from weeping. For instance, some experts have evaluated “the healing power of tears” and have discovered that tears contain biochemical byproducts. Weeping can remove these toxic substances and relieve the body of stress.
It is natural to want the agony to pass as soon as possible when you buckle beneath the pain of a broken heart. Yet it is important to recognize that mending a broken heart can take a while. Be patient with yourself. It does not matter if the healing takes three months or three years. Quietly take the pain as it comes, and do not get angry for feeling the roller coaster of emotions you will feel throughout this process.
Other Considerations: Psychological Benefits of Religion
It is always helpful to gain some new perspective, and many people attempt to achieve this through religion. For them, religious doctrines serve as an unbiased party that can provide them with further advice on how to handle their heartbreak.
Buddhism, for example, advises one to accept the fact that loss is inevitable. What is required is acceptance and subsequent detachment. Christianity also addresses heartache, although it treats it in a more sympathetic light than the Buddhist. Rather than denouncing or dismissing suffering, Christianity provides ways to channel heartache through prayer (i.e., through the Psalms).
This last possible explanation for heartbreak is one of the more interesting considerations. It has to do with modern society’s role in exacerbating the condition of a broken heart. This may seem like a bold assertion, but a closer look provokes a rather disturbing implication: society pressures us to pursue love at all costs—even if that cost is our overall happiness. Furthermore, the societal notion of “love” is nothing but the shameless, over-sexed exploitation of natural human instincts.
Sexuality and the Human Person
A quick note is necessary before a more in-depth explanation is provided. The purpose here is not to imply that sexuality is intrinsically shameful. Sexuality is a drive that can give rise to many noble and necessary inclinations, including the need to love and procreate.
Because it is such an important aspect of human nature, sexuality is meant to be respected, developed, and properly channeled. Yet one has only to walk outside to perceive that society does not think similarly.
Wherever we go, our eyes are assaulted with sensual depictions of the human anatomy. These displays are almost laughable, as they are often used to sell the most common (i.e., shampoo or cologne).
Yet this brief amusement must eventually give way to thoughtful consideration. The matter is far more serious for those who have grown up immersed in this thriving pulse of exploited sexuality.
A Confusion of Terms
Love, lust, courtship, attraction, infatuation—in modern society, these words have all been thrown into one bowl and mixed into a single concoction. As a result, each term has become so watered down that any kind of individuality that may have once existed between them is now practically invisible.
For example, “love” is often used in television and literature to describe physical sensations. Characters will declare that they are “in love,” but anyone can perceive that they are merely experiencing the initial highs of a budding relationship. With no clear distinction drawn between love, infatuation, lust, etc., the seriousness of love diminishes until it is eventually dismissed.
While physical sensations are certainly an integral part of love’s first stages, placing overt emphasis on them is like neglecting to see the entire garden because one is too busy gazing at the petals on the ground. Yet this is precisely what modern society has done.
An Unsteady Foundation
How does this emphasis on sexuality affect those suffering from a broken heart? The problem is that society’s attitude does not equip men and women with a realistic view of love in the first place. As a result, they are doomed to fail from the start.
They are taught that “love is all that matters,” but this “love” referred to is based on something that is not concrete. When physical attraction ceases, the involved parties suddenly feel like they no longer have a purpose.
This does not suggest that heartache would never occur if we lived in different times. Instead, the point is merely to suggest that society’s over-sexualized viewpoint builds relationships on an unsteady foundation from the start.
How to Get Over a Heart Break: Conclusions
No matter what others may say, you are not a failure if your relationship does not work out. Instead, it is important to remember that relationships and heartaches are simply a part of life. Facing them will enable you to confront your pain, overcome new challenges, and emerge stronger.