Why does a broken heart physically hurt? How to heal your body AND your mind
Own The Feels
Own The Feels

Why does a broken heart physically hurt? How to heal your body AND your mind


When we talk about being broken-hearted, the words 'pain' and 'hurt' come up a lot - for good reason! That's how it feels. 

But it's totally legit that you might actually feel pain in your body, too. Break-ups are such a stressful experience, they can even alter the chemicals in your brain - which is probably playing tricks on you. 

Science has proven that heartbreak activates the same areas of the mind as physical pain does - so a broken heart isn't any different from catching your pinky toe on the corner of the couch as far as your noggin' is concerned. 


How does a break up affect your body?

Stress Messes With You: When you go through a tough breakup or lose someone you care about, it's super stressful. This triggers the release of hormones like cortisol, which can cause headaches, muscle tension, a heavy feeling in your chest, or even tummy troubles.



Your Brain Is The Boss: When you're going through a rough time, the brain regions that handle emotions and pain get active. This can make you feel like your heart physically hurts, giving you chest pain, making your heart race, and even affecting your blood pressure.



Chemical Changes: Relationships make your brain release feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and endorphins. But when a relationship ends, these chemicals drop, and it can leave you feeling really down. This chemical shift might lead to aches and pains, like tummy aches, headaches, and feeling like you're carrying a heavy load in your chest.


At the risk of sounding like your mum…everything you know you're already meant to do to look after yourself. Drink lots of water, eat well, try and get heaps of sleep, stay active. 

What can you do?

It might sound boring, but it'll feel good, trust. 

Sweating it out at the gym/on the court/at a dance class or wherever you like to get active will release those same feel-good chemicals that your body will be lacking after a break up. 

Avoiding too much caffeine and junk food will lessen that jittery anxious feeling. 

Taking some time to meditate or practice deep breathing exercises will calm your body's stress response. 

It's also hella important you korero with someone you trust, whether that's friends and whānau or a professional, or both. Bottling up your feelings will have a negative impact on your physical health and wellbeing too. 

Most of all, remember these feelings are temporary, but your relationship with yourself is for life. Put your hauora first and you'll get through this - even better than before.