Science Figured Out Why Your Heart Hurts When You're Sad Or In Love

By Muk Khatri in Amazing On 23rd August 2015

#1 Raise your hand if you've said one of the following phrases:

"My heart skipped a beat."

"I'm dying of heartache."

"I've got butterflies in my stomach."

"I feel it in my gut."

You better have your hand up because EVERYBODY says these things all the time. The question is, why?

#2 We almost never stop to think about how a neuron firing in our brain could make us feel things so intensely in our abdomens. Now science is one step closer to an explanation.

A 2013 study examined 700 participants, and found what they believe could be the key to unlocking our mind-body link.

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#3 As Robert Emery and Jim Coan, professors of psychology at the University of Virginia, explain in Scientific American, our "heartache" may be the work of the anterior cingulate cortex, a region in the brain thought to regulate emotional reactions.

Study results suggest that the anterior cingulate cortex becomes more active during stressful situations. This is significant because this region is also thought to stimulate the vagus nerve, which starts in the brain stem but eventually connects to the chest and abdomen. This stimulation could be the "pain" we feel in our chest when strong emotions strike.

#4 Researchers also confirmed that different emotions make us feel things in different parts of the body — so there's a very good reason why fear makes your stomach drop, while spotting your crush give you goosebumps.

In the study, anger, anxiety and fear were all associated with strong sensations in the chest area. On the other hand, volunteers reported that happiness and even love sparked activity all over their body.

"Unraveling the subjective bodily sensations associated with human emotions may help us to better understand mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, which are accompanied by altered emotional processing," the researchers explained.

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