Can heartbreak be measured?

Fitbit records heartbreak

A man’s tweet about the heart rate changes his Fitbit recorded, when his relationship suddenly and unexpectedly ended, has created much interest. A screenshot of the Fitbit’s reading shows a sudden increase in heartrate, exactly at the time when he experienced the heartbreak of a relationship breakdown. However, should we be surprised?

I am sure most people have experienced severe emotional pain at some point in their lives. We are so used to thinking of emotions and the physical body as separate, that it may be unexpected, to see them having a real measurable physical effect.

So where do emotions ‘sit’? There are actually many mechanisms that link emotions in a physical way with the body, for example via the nervous system, hormones and immune processes. Time limited thoughts and emotions will only show short lived changes, however chronic thinking patterns will lead to ongoing activation of certain pathways in the body, resulting in equivalent long-term physical changes, which can ultimately result in disease. This is what is known as the mind-body link.

Conventional medicine usually only deals with the symptoms of illness, whereas the strength of many holistic approaches is to look at root causes. Giving medication to cover up symptoms can ease physical discomfort, but it is through learning to understand mental and emotional patterns that we can really recover.

This means that many conditions are not random or poor luck, but when approached with curiosity can rather be explored and used to improve health and life in general.

With my best wishes,

Stephanie x