Health

Can You Die From a Broken Heart: The Science Behind It

can you die from a broken heart
Can you die from a broken heart? The short answer is yes, you can, but most people do not and the good news is there are ways to treat your emotional health and overcome it.

Don’t let this article make you think that you will suddenly drop dead from a broken heart, instead, use it to understand how to manage emotions, and subsequently, your personal health.

We are all familiar with the heaviness of a broken heart, but do we really know what is going on in the body? Would you like to know how to shake it off? Let’s get to it so you can start looking up!

In a study about breast cancer and the emotions, they state “It is a common fact that 90% of all illness is due to stress. Stress creates a cascade of physiological responses that affect our hormones and our Immune System.

In other words, if you have a stressed mind and heart, you will have a stressed body. A stressed body is more vulnerable to toxic overload, DNA damage and replication of unhealthy cells, i.e. Cancer.”

So, can you die from a broken heart? Like anything else, it’s possible, but you can prevent it easily.

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Why do I feel so weird?

Are you ready to get all scientific about it? Hormones regulate the feelings in our bodies. The heart produces a hormone called oxytocin which regulates our moods and can make us feel like we are on cloud 9 or in the gutter, so to speak.

When we have a fight or breakup with our man, our body is filled with hormones that can cause physical symptoms. You may feel nauseous, tired or not be able to focus easily. These feelings are temporary and time lessens them dramatically.

“As part of our genetics as tribal creatures, we have chemicals that make life more pleasant when we are in a relationship and less pleasant when we are separated from our beloved,” says Joseph Hullett, MD.

If you ever have thoughts of suicide, it means your body is not responding well and you should not try to cope with it on your own. Always seek professional help if you have these thoughts or any reckless behaviors. People study these reactions we have, and they can help us in extreme cases. Remember, drinking is not a way to get over heartache. Alcohol is a depressant and will only make you feel worse the next day.

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What if I didn’t feel anything?

If you are surprised that you were completely unmoved by a breakup, you may just have been preparing yourself for it mentally or maybe your mind just really understood and supported your reasons for the breakup. If you feel like you should have been more upset, think about why you may be possibly suppressing your emotions.

It’s not good to push our emotions aside and act like we don’t have them for the sake of looking tough. This can also cause long-term health problems and is a leading cause of chronic pain. Allow yourself to grieve and let the tears come. Being strong is dealing with and facing your emotions so they don’t store in your body.

Broken heart syndrome is real

Cardiomypathy is caused by experiencing severe stress. The symptoms are similar to a heart attack and include chest pain, shortness of breath and low blood pressure. Usually these symptoms occur within a short time period after the event. Cardiomypathy is also referred to as broken heart syndrome.

The American Heart Association explains that the symptoms are similar to a heart attack, but different in many notable ways. While a heart attack usually takes a while to recover from and can be damaging to the heart long-term, broken heart syndrome can be quickly overcome and it does not damage the heart. Also, heart attacks and linked to clogged arteries, but broken heart syndrome is not.

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There is another syndrome called ‘Limerance’ which is an addiction to love. Dr. Joseph Hullet, MD of OptumHealth Behavioral solutions explains that some people have a hormone imbalance that creates a tendency to get obsessive or addicted to things.

This will make people obsess over the feeling of love, continuously fall in love and have a ton of drama surrounding their love life. If you think you have an addictive personality, work with a naturopath and a therapist to balance your mind and body.

Other effects on the body

A breakup can lead to other effects such as depression, mental health problems and a suppressed immune system. The cardiovascular effects do not happen to everyone and you’re more likely to get the symptoms of depression. These symptoms include fatigue, loss of motivation, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, anger, appetite changes, sleep disturbance and reckless behavior.

When our emotions are negative, it can greatly suppress the immune system and make us vulnerable to viruses and other illnesses. Stress can affect our morphogenetic fields which the study of epigenetics shows can trigger diseases we are genetically predisposed to.

In a book called ‘The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of The Your Energetic Anatomy’ it is said that often a traumatic experience can trigger body changes such as new food intolerances.

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How do I know if my heart is broken?

Certain tests can be done for broken heart syndrome such as a blood test, an angiocardiography, an echocardiography, EKG or an MRI. Alternative healing methods to lower your stress and avoid the need to medicate involve restorative yoga (which helps reduce depression), massage, meditation, sound healing and aromatherapy.

Incorporating some of these into your daily routine to lower your heart rate and reduce stress is important, especially when you’re going through a stressful time.

How do I mend my broken heart?

Our mind and attitude are a key factor in healing from emotional toxicity as well. It can take half a year and sometimes up to two years to mend a broken heart, but really, no matter what, you need to do the emotional work so you can be sure not to repeat the whole process again.

“When people hold genuine core heart feelings such as appreciation or compassion, it naturally increases their heart coherence.”-The Heart Math Institute

When we sit and focus on positive emotions such as love, gratitude, compassion, joy, excitement and forgiveness, we start to change the electrical circuitry of our heart. The heart has four times the amount of electromagnetic frequency as the brain.

The Heart Math Institute has done a lot of scientific research to understand how the heart emits frequencies based on our emotional attitudes that affects our decision making more than the brain. There are over 40,000 neural connections in the heart and it greatly influences the brain, it can remember and store information. It has been called a second brain.

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“The mind and heart feelings are energetic sources that underlie our thoughts and emotions. They are primary drivers of our biological systems.”-The Heart Math Institute

To learn more about creating coherence in your heart, watch this video and check out the Institute of HeartMath which has information that will help you learn how to take responsibility for your own energy. Here is a book which can help you overcome the feelings of depression and hopelessness that come with a broken heart.

How can I shift my emotions?

First, let’s talk about how to stop feeling like the victim. We attract every relationship to us and we are responsible for letting that person into our lives. We can learn how to see the red flags we missed for the next relationship, but there’s much more to not taking another person’s actions personally and it’s about the ability to respond or response-ability.

We can put ourselves into that person’s shoes and realize they have stress, they are growing, they are not perfect and they experience temptations, guilt, moments of mental relapse and have to learn as well.

When we can send them love and realize their actions do not change who we are as a person and are separate from us, we can stop hating them and release anger.

When we have sympathy for their learning process and remind ourselves when we did things we were not proud of, we realize that they also are just human like us. The positive emotions to focus on are forgiveness, compassion and thankfulness. Be thankful you were able to learn from the relationship.

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Now, how do we deal with guilt? Well, we can replace the low vibration feeling of guilt by focusing on our positive traits and building them. Focus on giving positive support to others and you will start to feel good about yourself again. Try using affirmations such as, “I release all guilt I have surrounding this situation.” Realize you are doing your best and forget the rest.

Make a list of actions you can take to not repeat whatever you may be feeling guilty about and then focus on the feeling of gratitude for being empowered not to make the same decisions that will cause you pain in the future.

Think about where your reactions and decisions came from, how you were influenced by your prior experiences to do what you did. Maybe you have witnessed similar behaviors or you were struggling with your self-esteem.

To build up your self-esteem and regain a feeling of optimism, focus on the emotions that make you feel excited about your life. Affirmations such as, “I believe I can accomplish my dreams,” “people enjoy being around my positive energy” and “all women have natural beauty,” are examples of ways to create new neural pathways in your brain.

If your relationship left your confidence in the gutter, you can start to rebuild it right now. Make a list of your positive traits and the things you’re good at, and then create a list of goals that use those traits.

When you have something positive to look forward to and work toward, you will feel optimistic about the future.

Don’t be afraid to love again

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Please don’t be afraid to love just because it can cause physical symptoms. Blocking ourselves to love can also create them. We must work on healing ourselves so we will stay open to love and open to learn.

We can only protect ourselves from the physical effects of stress by learning how to manage it, not avoiding relationships. Relationships that are healthy can keep us healthy too because the positive energy you put into the relationship will come from the positive emotions you generate in your body.

It is said that it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. We don’t learn and grow by keeping ourselves locked up in a cage. We will always experience some kind of a challenge, the goal is that in the process we learn from it so the next time we have better skills to avoid harsh learning lessons. Life becomes softer as we age because we gain wisdom and the ability to react maturely.

Realize everyone experiences this

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It can help to open up to some people about your experience in a breakup. The more you realize you’re not alone in your struggle of heartache, the easier it will be to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Try to focus on keeping yourself surrounded by positive people and doing healthy things like eating well and exercising regularly.

You can overcome this with a little support from your loved ones and shifting your focus to taking care of yourself.

Finally, as a yoga teacher I must say I have spoken to many individuals that have used yoga to strengthen themselves or find their inner resolve to help get over heartache. Yoga helps to boost your immune system and balance your hormones. It helps you focus on positive emotions and release negative memories.

Combined with a healthy diet, it can not only help you overcome heartache, it can help many other aspects of your life. Your confidence will return and the more often you go, the better you will feel as the endorphins release in savasana (the final resting pose at the end of class).

Hopefully, you found this valuable, so please share your experiences below and don’t forget to check out our other valuable articles for you here on YouQueen.

About the author

Shannon Y.

Shannon is a contortionist and yoga teacher that loves to inspire people to lead empowered and healthy lives. She writes practical advice for health and gives real world insights to empower women emotionally.

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