Well everyone, it’s cuffing season. It is that time of the year as we approach the Holidays when we see many new blossoming relationships that hadn’t previously existed. One of two outcomes happen after cuffing season. Either
- The couple stays together and lives happily ever after OR
- The relationship ends just as quickly as cuffing season did.
Personally, I’m as single as a Pringe right now. However, everytime I think about breakups, I can’t help but wonder just WHY we feel so emotionally defeated after them– sometimes, you literally feel like your life is falling apart. So, I did some research and starting searching four studies and articles posted that address the topic of heartbreak and how it affects us physically and mentally.
To get a general idea of the science behind heartbreak (because Lord knows I’m not scientifically inclined and needed verbal explanation to help me understand it), check out this video.
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An article published by science alert addressed the issue and explained that long story short, the feelings of “heartbreak” are solely caused by hormones. As a matter affect, these heartbroken feelings are caused by the same hormones that produces extreme happiness when you are falling in love! Ironic, huh? Chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline have been shown to induce feelings of nausea, breathing difficulties, and even legitimate wearing of the heart muscle. Next time someone tells you to “suck it up” or “you’ll be fine” … hit them with those facts! The human body IS negatively effected by a “broken heart.”
So my next question was “How do we know?.” Well, there’s even more proof in the brain. Studies on the brain done through the use of MRI scans have produced images of brains that belong to people who have recently gone through a breakup. These brains show obvious signs of elevated activity levels in the area of the brain that registers physical pain. Additionally, in 2010, Rutgers University produced a study of 10 women and 5 men who were still in love, but had been broken up with. They were given an MRI while looking at a picture of their recent ex. The null hypothesis of this study was that looking at pictures of their previous significant other wouldn’t affect brain activity. The alternative hypothesis was that brain activity would somehow be affected once the emotions of the subject were affected by heir “broken heart.” The data was crazy, I almost didn’t believe it when I first read over it. The MRI’s showed brain activity that is similar to the scan of an a cocaine addict that is going through withdrawal. Insane, right?! This actually makes a lot of sense, because when you’re falling in love, neurons in your brain are activated and release dopamine… which is why you’d feel the same sensation as withdrawal once this person who made you so happy was removed from your life against your will.
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The article goes on to say that within three months, your brain takes one for the team, rewires itself, and helps you move on. It takes time, but you truly will be okay! Long story short, if you’re participating in “cuffing season,” check in with yourself and don’t let your feelings get the best of you! The next couple of months are extremely important for us as students… and we can’t have dopamine interfering with that.