How a breakup can affect your brain
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Five ways in which breakup can impact your brain

By Harish P Tuesday, July 4, 2017 - 14:57
While most of us know about the general effects of a breakup, there is little awareness about how it can specifically affect one's brain. Read on as we take you through five ways in which a breakup affects those little grey cells…
  1. It hurts. Literally like a physical blow would
    A study by cognitive scientists at Columbia University found that that the same parts of the subjects' brains lit up when they were shown memories of their exes as when they were made to feel physical pain on their arms, but not when they were shown pictures of old friends. This shows how our brains interpret a breakup like a physical pain. And just like it is difficult to take your mind off an aching tooth, it is difficult to downplay the painful effects of a breakup!
  2. It's pretty much like quitting an addiction
    Research has also claimed that thoughts of your ex could actually trigger the reward mechanisms in your brain resulting in more dopamine-release and increased motivations to meet or interact with your ex more to satisfy the resultant craving! The neurology of these processes often results in silly attempts to try and getting back to the partner. This is just like how an addict's brain almost compels him/her to get back to alcohol or drugs or nicotine in the early stages after s/he quits.
  3. A breakup is capable of affecting IQ, at least in the short term
    Now we know why so many young adults suffer so heavily with their grades post a breakup! A 2002 study at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio suggests that rejections affected the analytical skills up to 30 percent and overall IQ up to 25 percent. It was also observed that aggression levels went up in subjects exposed to possibilities of rejection! This has been attributed by the experts as a result of a decrease in self-control which is very necessary to function intelligently in society.
  4. It could have one go like, 'Who am I, really!”
    A 2010 research paper published in a psychology journal explained how breakups could affect one's sense of identity. The gist of the research is that when a person is a relationship, his/her self has parts which overlap with the partner's. But after the breakup these parts are cleaved away from a person and s/he feels lost in terms of who s/he really is!
  5. Your brain wants you to let 'em blues coming!
    After all the gloomy talk, this comes as some cheerful news! All those who are going through a breakup, take note. Sad music could help you in a major way to get through your breakup. And now scientific evidence seems to back it up. A Freie Universität Berlin study has experimentally confirmed what most of us had already guessed – sad music can uplift a person already feeling low!

All the research cited thus suggests that the post-breakup trauma is like any other pain, a natural response by your body. The need is not to deny it but to embrace and deal with it. With care and patience, it too can heal!


What's your breakup story? Did it impact you strongly? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. If you have a personal question, please visit our discussion forum.


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