Love hurts. But who woulda thought you could soothe your heartache the same way you might treat a headache?
Scientists, that's who.
Columbia University psychology professor Water Mischel has collated the research in his new book, 'The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control', and it turns out, there's legitimate evidence for using an over-the-counter drugstore painkiller to treat a broken heart.
In a recent UCLA study, volunteers took either an over-the-counter painkiller or a placebo every day for three weeks (they were unaware of which one they were taking). During this time, they also monitored their levels of pain caused by social rejection. Those who took the painkiller reported a significant reduction in their daily hurt feelings, beginning at day nine and continuing to day 21, the last day of the study. Those taking the placebo showed no change.
Crazy, right? But multiple studies have also shown that people experience feelings of romantic rejection in the same way that they experience physical pain. Watch this video for more info:
Whether you try aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen is up to you. Personally? I'd go with aspirin, as a recent study in Annals of Oncology concluded its many health benefits may outweigh a small increased risk of bleeding. Long-term use of aspirin can reduce the incidence of certain types of cancer, as well as heart attack and stroke. (See more here.)
Not keen on taking pills (albeit over-the-counter ones)? Professor Mischel has some more advice for you: stop talking about your breakup. According to new research from Columbia University, some people only get worse by ruminating. 'Self-distancing’ from a negative experience has been shown to lower blood pressure caused by emotional distress.
And if all else fails, check out Katrina's tips for how to look like you weren't just crying.
Have Your Say
What do you think of this research? Would YOU take painkillers for a broken heart?