Sunday, September 21, 2008

Why does it actually ~hurt~?

When you have a broken heart, why does it actually hurt?

I was thinking about this phenomenon and I just don't understand it. When my heart it broken, it hurts. The space in my chest is tighter and I feel like it's being squeezed. It literally hurts.



bleu said...

Because emotions, especially high emotions, manifest themselves physically. Extreme happiness does as well but since it is pleasurable it is not as dissected.

Denise said...

What made you think about this?

Bleu's explanation makes sense to me. Emotion is so closely connected to our physical selves. I wonder if there is some chemical reason for it. Now you've got me curious.

Denise said...

Here's one explanation on yahoo answers:

Deb said...

I can go completely sciencey here:

The reason we feel physical pain when we are emotionally distressed is because we're using the same part of the brain to deal with both experiences.

That's from a study done by US and Australian docs to answer that age old question.

Here's a link to the study and results if you get really, really bored someday:

Mrs Woggie said...

Here from ICLW.

I don't know why, but mine feels the same, it actually hurts and aches.

Sarah R said...

I don't know, but I would imagine the hurt came first before someone coined the phrase "broken heart". I hope yours isn't broken! Hugs...

Io said...

My head hurts thinking about it.

Wordgirl said...

Nancy -- how is your heart -- I hope it's not broken...xo


Lori said...

Energetically, the heart is your emotional center. An energetic assault can be just as painful as a physical assault. The key is to allow flow, so that nothing gets stuck. When you have a heartache, feel the grief, mourn the hurt, and let it have its way with you for awhile. It WILL move on.

I wrote more about the heart center at

Sara said...

I think about this too. I have experienced a broken heart - truly broken- once in my life. When Samuel died, and ever since, I literally hurt at times. It is a physical pain. I would like to know why.

I sure hope you aren't experiencing a broken heart right now. If you are, I am sorry for whatever has happened and I hope you feel better.

sara said...

Hmmm - I know that others have chimed in with scientific reasons, but even the nurse in me just thinks that sometimes we feel things so deeply it just hurts. There's only been a few times when I've been so sad my heart has actually hurt - but I know that when it has, it truly does.

I hope that whatever makes you think of this goes away soon...thinking of you!

Jen said...

I really never thought that a broken heart actually exisited. I kind of just thought it was something that a person "made up" when they broke up with a boyfriend or girlfriend or that type of situation.

Since losing Shawn and our baby 5 weeks ago I now believe in the expression of having a broken heart. And I don't like the feeling at all. My heart has never hurt so much as it has the last month. Sometimes it hurts so bad that it actually takes my breath away. Like my heart physically hurts. Other times it is more of a dull ache. My heart hurts because I miss my husband so much right now words can't express my feelings.

I think we actually feel the hurt because the emotion people feel when there heart breaks is such a real pain.

Maybe it is kind of like when your heart swells when something really good happens and you feel good about it. Like the day I found out I was pregnant, and we were finally starting our family. My heart was swelling because I was so happy with my life.

Then with in one week I went from having a swelling heart with happiness to a hurting heart from losing my husband and baby.

I really don't know why the heart actually hurts, but I can for sure tell you I don't like it and it sucks in a huge way.

I hope your heart isn't hurting.

Anonymous said...

I do not know, but am going through the same feelings just now. Some days it just feels like a huge gaping hole in my chest and I have to wrap my arms around myself to help keep it from spreading. I've never cried so much in my life. I feel sick a lot of the time and can't eat. I just feel a huge wreck right now. It's awful that it happens but having a broken heart helps strengthen us. I'm looking forward to the day that I can say "I'm stronger because this happened". Right now, it takes everything in me to not break down in front of my children. They have to know that mommy is happy, even if she isn't. Man, it hurts. :( I hope your heart isn't hurting.

Anonymous said...

I know - it is very strange and I like Bleu's answer, but I also think it comes down to mind over matter - we are sad so we "trick" our heart into feeling sore...

jenn said...

That's the definition of emotion- a mental & physical response. You can't really have the deep emotion without the physical pain (or pleasure). I think it is because we are human- the human condition & all. I wonder if animals have true emotions or if that is unique to us because we can express it?

Tricia said...

I don't know why.. but, it sure does, doesn't it?

Your's isn't broken, is it? XXXX

Kristin said...

I'm sure the scientific explanations are valid but I have never felt that fully explained the phenomena. I hope your heart isn't hurting right now.


Angela said...

I agree with all the above answers. Those of us who deal with depressive disorders actually feel physical pain in addition to the emotions, so the literal pain in the chest when we are "heart-broken" makes complete sense.

Cara said...

Ok I have no scientific backgroud here but I can say I KNOW THE FEELING. It only closes in on me a couple times a year now...but it used to be a daily thing.

Just breath...and will eventually squeeze less (most days)


Jewels said...

Here's my answer.

Thought is energy - enough energy compressed together creates matter.

Matter is the substance of which physical objects are composed.

That’s why when you hurt, something is quite literally “the matter”.

It's physical and it's real.

Maybe people will say "Its all in your head" because that's where it originated, but now, it's in your heart, your stomach, your nerves, creating stress and other emotional distress and illnesses.

And I believe that's why they say "Feelings buried alive never die".

But you taught me a great lesson once about the mind, back when I was having pregnancy symptoms (about a year ago) and they were so real, I didn’t understand why my body was feeling that way. You gave me an explanation of how the mind doesn’t just make you THINK you have symptoms,(Like you think your boobs are sore instead of them actually being sore) you said the mind actually makes you HAVE the symptoms, they are real. Just not pregnancy related. Only Desire induced, but still real.

Those were not your exact words, but that's what I heard.

Morgan said...

This is really a comment to your "Math" post...but I go by the "what to expect when expecting book" as corny as it sounds. They do it like this..
Weeks 1-4 = Month 1
Weeks 5-9= Month 2
Weeks 10-13= Month 3
Weeks 14-18= Month 4
Weeks 19-22= Month 5
Weeks 23-27= Month 6
Weeks 28-31= Month 7
Weeks 32-36= Month 8
Weeks 37-40= Month 9
So that's probably why people say during week 24 they ARE in their 6th month technically. Maybe not MATHMATICALLY, but TECHNICALLY that's how it goes during pregnancy. My OB also gave me a list to go by that says the exact same thing as WTEWE book says. Basically they say it goes the first month is 4 weeks, then the next month is 5 weeks, then the next 4..and so on. That's probably why people get confused.

JamieD said...

A broken heart feels like just that - broken. It the be the most intense, crushing, breath-taking pain.

We had a patient not too long ago who was admitted with Takotsubo Syndrome or Broken Heart Syndrome. It is a temporary weakening of the heart usually brought on by emotional stress. These patients will present with symptoms of cardiomyopathy and/or a heart attack but all of the tests come back showing a clean heart.

Sadly, it is most common in women.

I hope your heart is feeling happy today!

MrsDrink said...

That happens to me too, almost like I can't breathe. I like Bleu's response too, makes a lot of sense.

I think our emotional part and physical part are so closely connected, it's like they're twins...when one feels something, so does the other, ya know?

Morgan said...

I figured I'd comment on this post too. I have always realized that and wondered the same thing, it's like you LITERALLY have a pain in your chest, you can really feel your heart broken. Just curious, why do you ask? Are you ok?

Anonymous said...

I never know why one's heart hurts, like why one's head hurts (because mine hurts a lot).

Here from ICLW.

Anonymous said...

Broken hearts hurt to make us realise the enormousity of what we have lost.

Gargi Singh said...

YUp it hurts physically...dis is d first time i noticed...may be cuz its d first time its hurtin so bad..