Going through a break up can take a toll on your physical health – from stomach aches, to colds and flu, to brain fog. Here’s the low down and how you can heal – emotionally and physically.
- First, a breakup can leave you with a stomach ache – that slightly nauseous feeling that keeps you from eating. Here’s why it happens: According to research from UCLA, rejection activates one of the same areas in the brain as physical pain. So what can you do to feel better? Tell your friends how difficult the break up is for you. Putting your negative feelings into words decreases the activity in that pain-feeling part of your brain. And spending time with friends helps the brain release opioids – the same painkillers found in drugs like opium and heroin.
- The next effect of a bad break-up: You get every cold & flu bug going around. The reason: Your stress hormones are working overtime – which sends your immune system into a nosedive. In fact, according to psychiatrist Dr. Janice Glaser from Ohio State University, people who have recently separated or divorced have poor immunity for up to a year after the break-up. Your best defense against getting sick after a break-up: It’s ridiculously simple – wash your hands often and get plenty of sleep. Your immunity is cut in half when you get only 3 hours less sleep at night.
- And what about the brain fog that comes after a bad break-up? It’s perfectly natural. Your brain changes when you’re distraught. According to the Journal of Psychiatry, women who hadn’t gotten over a 6 month relationship by 16 weeks after the break up had decreased brain activity in the regions associated with emotion, motivation, and attention. The fix: Have an imaginary conversation with the person who broke your heart. It’s more effective than actually talking to the person because you won’t edit yourself. That advice comes from psychiatrists at Harvard Medical School. And people who used that technique had more relief from their grief than those who didn’t use it.