Breakups: How They Affect Your Mental and Physical Well-Being



As the song goes, “Breaking up is hard to do.” Nevertheless, it’s an inevitable occurrence for couples who couldn’t mend their differences. I personally experienced a breakup, and I know it can be excruciating. You go into bouts of depression and you can lose all your will to live. But, eventually, I realized that time stops for no one and that life has to go on.

Thus, I was forced to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and leave my extra baggage behind. And the pain truly disappeared with the passage of time. Nonetheless, I can attest to the fact that the physical pains you would experience after a breakup are genuine. You have to learn what happens to your body in order to help you cope get over a breakup to ensure that you come out of it with less emotional and physical injury.

Coping With Chest Pain or a Heartache

This can be one of the first physical pains that you would experience. Your heart aches and it feels like something heavy is pressed hard against your chest. You have difficulty breathing (dyspnea). This can be accompanied by hyperventilation. If this condition prevails, it can lead to a heart attack and an acid-base imbalance. It can even aggravate to coma and death.

Naturally, you could go to the hospital to get treatment, but you have to know how to do some first-aid at the onset, to alleviate your condition.


If you’re alone, lie down on a safe and secure area of your house. Control your acid-base balance by breathing back and forth into a paper bag. Hyperventilation can cause respiratory alkalosis because of the rapid elimination of carbon dioxide.  So, it’s crucial that you have to maintain the balance.

Breathing into a paper bag will allow the expelled carbon dioxide to return to the body. This will maintain the normal pH of your blood, which is from 7.35 to 7.45.

Chest Pain and Dyspnea

According to a recent review conducted by the University of Miami, School of Medicine on romantic breakup distress: Breakups can cause chest pain, depression, a sense of betrayal and many other symptoms.

Aside from the study, many experts agree that the chest pain and dyspnea are caused by the release of the stress hormones (catecholamine). To ease the symptoms, you have to send a different stimulus to your brain that your body is not actually in distress. This would trigger the hypothalamus to stop releasing your stress hormones.

How can you do this? By letting your mind and body return to a relaxed state. Keep in mind that your symptoms are caused by the way you think. The way you think generates your feelings, and your feelings are fed to the brain to trigger it.

After your hyperventilation is controlled with the paper bag, close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose. Pause for 6 seconds, and then exhale forcibly through your mouth. Feel the air entering your nose and your lungs, and feel it leaving your lungs too.

While doing the breathing exercises, you should mentally psyche yourself to relax. Allow the muscles in each part of your body to relax. You can start with your toes, going upwards until you reach the top of your head. Do this several times, until your breathing becomes regular.

When your breathing has returned to normal, this will feed a message to your brain that your body is no longer in distress. Hence, the brain will command your adrenal glands to stop producing more stress hormones.  Your heartache, chest pain, and hyperventilation will then disappear.

Of course, the symptoms will be intermittent at first, but you have to be patient to keep doing these procedures until you have recovered.

If your will is weak, this might not work for you. In this case, you can ask the support of your family and close friends. Perhaps, a sympathetic ear is all you need. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you can opt to consult a psychologist or a doctor.


This can be due to a lack of sleep or food. You will have to get enough sleep, at least 8 hours a day, and don’t neglect your nutrition. Eat vegetables and fruits and reduce your carbohydrate and fat intake. Don’t resort to alcohol or drugs because these are counterproductive. They are addictive substances that can affect your cognitive abilities.


When your mind is muddled, you can’t sleep. So, calm your mind by performing the breathing exercise. You could take a warm bath and drink hot milk with banana. These substances are sleep inducers. You can also read a book while trying to catch sleep. If you have an exercise regimen in the evening, perform it two hours before you intend to sleep. Exercising would rejuvenate your body to stay awake.


Headaches can also be caused by insomnia and the hypersecretion of the stress hormones. Thus, relax your body and get enough sleep and rest. When your body is rested, the symptoms will disappear. This is because a different ‘message’ is now sent to the brain – “the body is no longer stressed”.

Depression and Anxiety


These are natural behavioral occurrences right after the breakup. Based on a study, heartbreak can be debilitating. But a positive frame of mind can gradually drive away these monsters. Thinking that you’re a strong individual with your own sterling qualities and that the breakup doesn’t make you a lesser person, can help a lot in combating your depression and anxiety.

Knowing how to keep yourself busy with fruitful activities would help you recover from your breakup. I’m sure you will meet a more deserving person in the future.

In cases when you feel you need professional help, don’t hesitate to consult a licensed doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, as the case may be. However, remember that you don’t have an illness yet. So, only you can truly ‘cure’ the pains caused by your breakup. This is due to the fact that your pains are only generated by your mind.

Coping with the pains of your broken heart can be easy or difficult depending on how you approach it. If you bear in mind that you have sole control of your own body through your mind, then everything would be smooth sailing.  You’d get over your breakup pains in no time at all.


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