There’s A Way To Overcome A Breakup With Almost No Effort
While we can unanimously agree that breakups suck, it is largely up to us to determine how long they suck for. You can draw out the awful effects of a breakup from here to eternity, or you can make an active decision to move on. How? Well, according to a recent study, faking it is the best and most fuss-free way to overcome a breakup.
How Can Faking It Help You Overcome A Breakup?
If it sounds overly simplistic, you may be surprised to hear that this is the result of a study conducted by the University of Colorado, Boulder. The brand-new study titled “Frontal-brainstem pathways mediating placebo effects on social rejection”, which was published in the official journal of the Society of Neuroscience, “JNeurosci”, came to the conclusion after performing a number of tests on 40 participants who had recently experienced unwanted breakups.
First, the scientists went about proving that the pain from heartbreak is real. They did fMRI scans on the participants’ brains when they touched their left arm with a scorching stimulus. This is how they determined the brain’s activity during actual physical pain.
Then, they asked the study subjects to look at a picture of a friend of the same sex and a friend of their ex right after. Performing fMRI scans on them again served to prove how emotional pain affects the brain in a way that is similar to physical pain.
So, if you are coming from a separation that was not your choice, feel safe in the knowledge that it’s not an exaggeration: your pain is real. But there’s good news.
The Good News
Luckily, the study also came to some positive conclusions about the way we should go about overcoming a breakup. Apparently, we should forget about sitting at home sobbing over a kilogram of ice cream as we watch marathons of romcoms. We should also stop talking about the breakup with our friends and thinking of days gone by 24/7. The trick to getting over a breakup is, according to scientists, all in our head. If we believe that everything is normal and act as if we are already over the breakup, our minds and bodies will be fooled into thinking the same and we will start feeling better more quickly.
This was found after another experiment, where all participants were given a placebo medicine in the form of a nasal spray that contained only a simple saline solution. Half of them were told that the spray would ease their heartache. The other half were told the truth: that it was just a placebo.
When they had taken the spray, all participants were asked once again to look at their exes’ photos and were subsequently given another fMRI scan. Surprisingly, the participants who were told the spray would soothe their emotional pain showed an increase in the part of the brain that controls emotions and a decrease in the part associated with rejection. What is more, they found a boost both in the brain’s natural painkillers, like opioids, and the brain’s mood-enhancing chemicals, like dopamine.
In conclusion, even though the pain we experience after a breakup is as real as physical pain, we can control this pain and ease it just by drawing from our mental strength and acting as if everything’s OK.