Do you know what it feels like when you’re longing for someone? Maybe you can’t concentrate on anything else because you’re constantly thinking about a love interest or love lost. You may be experiencing lovesickness, which can occur when you’re feeling sad, unmotivated or even physically ill because of your lover’s absence.
The truth is that there are some varieties of lovesickness, and the emotions can feel like a bit of a roller coaster. Why does this happen, and if you’re trying to move on, how do you overcome feeling lovesick?
What Does It Mean to Be Lovesick?
Lovesickness occurs when you’re longing for someone so intensely that it’s changing the way you think and feel. This can occur after you’ve lost a loved one and are grieving, perhaps from a breakup or death.
You may also feel lovesick when you have unmatched feelings for someone or when you’re distanced from a partner and can’t connect emotionally or physically.
As you may already know, the feeling of love is not triggered by the heart, but comes from activity in the brain and hormone fluctuations.
A 2018 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology suggests that lovesickness alters dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline, testosterone and cortisol levels. Researchers indicate that being lovesick can cause traits that range from frenzy and intrusive thinking to despair and depression.
The term “sick” is used for a reason — you may actually feel both physical and emotional symptoms when experiencing lovesickness. Being lovesick can interfere with your normal life and routine.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- lack of motivation
- sadness or depression
- trouble sleeping
- mood changes
- loss of appetite
- irritability or agitation
- increased pain or tension
- digestive problems
- thinking about the person excessively/constantly
- feeling isolated
- poor dietary and lifestyle choices
Now, it’s not uncommon to feel lovesickness symptoms when you’re first starting to fall in love. That excitement, inability to focus on other things, euphoria and feeling of desire are sometimes described as being lovesick, but using the term lovestruck is more accurate.
While it can feel confusing and overwhelming to fall in love, the experience is generally positive and exciting, which makes it different than feeling lovesick.
How to Overcome Lovesickness
There may not be an overnight cure for lovesickness, but there are ways to reduce the symptoms and change your mindset so you can better cope with the loss you’re experiencing. In most cases, lovesickness is temporary and will fade over time, especially if you help yourself to get back on track with your normal lifestyle.
1. Practice Self-Care
One of the best things you can do for yourself when feeling lovesick is love yourself more than ever. Recent research defines self-care as having the ability to care for oneself through awareness, self-control and self-reliance in order to achieve optimal health and well-being.
You can do that with self-care activities or exercises, like:
- reading inspiring books
- spending more time outdoors
- getting more involved in your community
- decluttering your home,
- working out daily
- improving your diet
- getting enough sleep or downtime
2. Spend Time With Friends and Family
To ease those lovesick symptoms, engage in face-to-face interactions with loved ones. This promotes a feeling of connectedness and boosts those happy hormones.
Nurturing the relationships you have boosts your mood and self-confidence. In fact, research shows that having strong, healthy friendships is associated with life satisfaction.
3. Talk About It
It’s not healthy to suppress your feelings, even if it feels like the easier thing to do. Talk about how you’re feeling with someone close to you or a professional. This will help you to process your emotions and work through them over time.
A 2018 study published in Clinical Epidemiology found that early treatment with talk therapy is associated with reduced long-term risk of serious mental health conditions in people dealing with serious bereavement after the loss of a loved one.
4. Increase Oxytocin
Oxytocin is the love hormone, often called “the love drug.” It’s responsible for many aspects of pleasure and social bonding, but it also helps soothe the body and mind.
There are ways to naturally boost the production of oxytocin, like:
- hugging friends and loved ones
- getting a massage
- watching a funny movie
- listening to calming music
- speaking to someone you trust
Risks and Side Effects
It’s not uncommon to feel lovesick after a breakup, separation or loss of a loved one. If this begins to impact your day-to-day routine and ability to function, seek help from a trusted source or professional.
Remember to prioritize self-care and your own personal health.
- Lovesickness occurs when you’re longing for someone so intensely that it’s changing the way you think and feel.
- Feeling lovesick may occur after you’ve lost a loved one and are grieving, perhaps from a breakup, separation or death.
- Some signs of lovesickness include trouble concentrating, fatigue, insomnia or restlessness, mood changes, appetite changes, and digestive issues.
- If you’re experiencing these symptoms, prioritize self-care, connect with friends and family, talk about your feelings with a trusted source or professional, and work on boosting your happy hormones by getting outside, laughing and being creative.