As if breaking up isn’t crappy enough, it looks like the feelings of rejection and loss associated with a break up can cause you actual physical pain. Further proof that Shakespeare really knew what he was talking about when he invented the word “heartache.”
In this study, “Psychologists studied 40 recently-dumped volunteers who reported intense feelings of rejection when thinking about the breakup. All underwent four MRI brain scans, including one while looking at a photo of their ex and thinking about the split, and one while viewing a friend’s photo and thinking good thoughts about that person. Another scan took place as the volunteers wore an arm device that produced a gentle, comforting warmth, and yet another when the device was hot enough to cause pain.
“During each of the two negative situations—when the volunteers thought about the breakup and when they experienced a burning sensation—the same brain regions associated with physical pain lit up, suggesting physical pain and the pain of rejection hurt in a similar way.”
The author of the study, Edward Smith noted, “There may be something special about rejection… No other negative emotion, not anger and not fear, elicits reactions in the pain matrix of the brain.”
Image: Courtesy Flickr/oedipusphinx– — – — theJWDban