“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
― Kahlil Gibran
Last week many lovers shared a special time together on Valentine’s Day celebrating their love together. However, there were many of us that were not with a partner and some of us were experiencing a heart break, myself included. Going through a divorce or breakup creates a cascade of physical symptoms, emotional upheavals, mental ruminations, and spiritually, asking why and what grace may be received to ease the pain or even have your partner back.
In going through a split-up, this trauma propelled me into studying the health risks to understand what my body and mind have been experiencing. It’s evident that what we go through physically and emotionally takes some toll. The loss experienced in break-ups include that of security, a family life, the sexual relationship, a home, and even more, there are long-term health consequences that result.
The University of Arizona review of 30 studies found a 23% increased risk of early death in divorced adults when compared to those married. Divorced men fair worse than women with higher rates of substance abuse (70% of chronic drinkers are the divorced male), suicide (2.5 times greater risk than married men), and increase in weight (suggesting that food selection is still often done by the women). Divorced women have higher rates of cardiovascular disease (11% in divorced woman versus 7.3% of married woman). In both men and women, studies suggest increase cancer rates, insomnia, and mental health illnesses.
How can we help minimize these impressive statistics while navigating through the troubled waters of a broken heart? Here are some recommendations that will help reduce some of the immediate physical and emotional symptoms, but also knowing that the journey through the loss and the grief can be mindfully explored while being with this difficult process.
Sherri Aikin is a Fellow of Integrative Medicine, Nurse Practitioner, Sex Counselor, Mindfulness Facilitator, and Life Coach.
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