What effect does love and heartbreak have on our hearts?

It is Valentine's Day! Today we celebrate love, or are perhaps reminded of a recent broken heart... You may be wondering: what effect does love have on my heart?  Can I really have a "broken" heart due to heartbreak? In this blog, we will explore these topics.

The human heart is often associated with emotions of love and heartbreak. These complex emotions that can also affect our physical well-being.

Impact of love on the heart

Love, whether romantic or platonic, can have a very positive impact on your mood, but how? Love releases hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine. These are also called "feel good" hormones, they reduce stress, contribute to an overall sense of well-being and promote a positive mental state. 

In addition, some studies say that experiencing love may have a protective effect on the heart. People in loving relationships may have lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and better cardiovascular health. Love may even provide a buffer against the harmful effects of stress.

Can you really have a broken heart?

On the other side of course, is heartbreak. A broken heart can impact our emotional and physical state. The stress and grief following the breakup of a romantic relationship can lead to a spike in the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. 

This spike in stress hormones could have an adverse effect on the cardiovascular system. Chronic stress, which often results from heartbreak, is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Heartbreak can cause increased blood pressure, palpitations, anxiety and a weakened immune system. The heart may even ache, feeling like chest pressure. Fortunately in most cases, heartbreak, as well as the physical symptoms involved, is only a temporary chapter in life. 

Did you know that women generally experience the symptoms of a "broken heart" more often than men?

How the heart and emotions affect each other

As we have read, our emotions can affect the heart, but this also works in reverse. For example, the condition of our heart can in turn affect our emotional well-being, keeping us alert, to ensure both our physical and emotional health remain positive and stable! 

There are a number of things you can do to increase emotional well-being, for example:

  • Self-care: exercise regularly, make sure you get enough sleep and maintain a balanced diet. Good self-care contributes to better emotional and physical health!
  • Social network: by building and keeping your social ties strong, you can create an important support system in times of love and heartbreak. Sharing your emotions with friends and family can reduce stress.
  • Mindfulness: there are several meditation and mindfulness techniques that can help reduce stress, provide a sense of calm and promote emotional balance.