Dealing with emotional pain is extremely difficult. Learning how to cope and heal from this pain in a healthy way can be even harder. Emotional pain can come from many circumstances such as grief, loss, trauma, stress or toxic relationships. Developing good coping skills is really essential to the process of healing. We all need outlets. We need healthy ways to express our feelings and emotions. Actually healing from emotional pain is so important and powerful, versus getting stuck and letting negative feelings hinder you from moving forward and living to your full potential. Most people attempt to avoid emotional pain that they are feeling and this often causes them to get trapped in a cycle that actually ends up holding onto negative emotions. Some people may use unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol or other substances as a means of numbing bad feelings. Often, this is unconscious. This, unfortunately, just temporarily masks the pain and does not actually help in the healing process. Another common response to negative emotions is simply trying not to deal with them at all. Unfortunately, when we engage in this behavior, emotions do not heal and they will work themselves to the surface, but often in a very negative way. For example, with unresolved grief or other emotional pain, a person may find that they later have an increase in periods of high anxiety or acute stress. They may also notice more physical symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping, upset stomach, constant worry and rumination or even high blood pressure. It is crucial to learn healthy and appropriate ways to work through these difficult emotions. Learning good coping skills and self-care can heal pain and help to move forward.
10 Tips For Healthy Coping:
1. Write in a journal
Writing about emotional pain can be very powerful and help to actually release the emotions. Journaling allows you to mentally think about and process your feelings while you are “expressing” them, by writing, which can, in turn, release them and encourage the healing process. There have been many positive benefits seen from journaling about emotional pain. To start journaling, find anything that you feel comfortable writing in and just begin! If it’s more comfortable to be structured or use prompts then think of questions for yourself, such as “how did I get to the place where I am today?” “in my darkest place, I felt …” or “what have I learned from this experience?” The point is to write about your experience in great detail and write thoroughly about how you are feeling. This allows for the “expression” of the emotion and the symbolic “release,” which is critical to healing.
2. Use Your Creativity
This could be drawing, knitting, art, dance, photography, music, pottery, or really any activity that you enjoy. This exercise is similar to writing in a journal as it allows for the release of emotions. Through activities, we are able to find fun, freedom, distraction and often times, relief from holding onto negative emotions. This is another avenue that allows you to process and express emotions; therefore, release and heal from them.
3. Find a Healthy Support System
This could include talking to a friend or family member or even joining support groups. Having a social and emotional outlet is important. Also, speaking with someone and actually saying the words out loud about how you are feeling can be beneficial to healing. One word of caution with this step; however, is to not get too bogged down with just repeatedly venting where it can turn into unhealthy rumination and you get stuck. It’s important that you are using your support system to discuss how you are feeling, in a healthy way.
4. Use Self-Reflection
Think about your own role in the situation that is upsetting you and look for ways in which you can improve. Most of the time, when we become angry at someone else, we finger point and look to blame. We may focus on the ways in which the other person has hurt us or what they have done wrong. It can be important to express how we have been wronged and discuss that with the person who wronged us, but it is also helpful to look at ways in which we could have handled things differently, what we can change about our own behavior or how we can approach a situation differently in the future. Another example is when people experience a bad situation that is outside of their control and they were victim to something. This can lead people to feel helpless and as though they had no control over their situation. While this may be true, it’s important to focus on what things they can do or change for the future. Perhaps it’s focusing on the positive and building their current relationships or focusing on bettering their health. These are things that we can control and keep us focused on the positive and moving forward.
5. Try Relaxation Techniques
There are many different types of relaxation techniques that can be helpful during the time of emotional pain and stress. These include using simple breathing techniques, meditation or mindfulness activities or it could even include grounding exercises, which are helpful in situations of trauma or acute stress. The point with these activities is to slow yourself down, to be very present in the moment and give yourself an opportunity of calming and healing. A simple breathing exercise could take just a few short minutes to do and have very helpful effects. Here is an example of a simple breathing exercise: breath in and count to 5 as you are doing so, now hold your breath and count to 5 again and then exhale for 5. Repeat. This will allow you to slow your breathing and pay more focused attention on how you are feeling. After a few minutes of this calm focused breathing, you will notice a calming in your mind and your overall state of being.
6. Distract Yourself
There are times when our emotional state can be overwhelming and difficult to manage. This is when having a distraction could be helpful with coping. A distraction can be something as simple as watching a movie or having coffee with a friend. It just allows you a moment to not think about your emotional pain and in some ways, regain composure and control over how you are feeling. A distraction is a temporary relief strategy, but should not be your constant. It’s important to actually sit with your emotions and heal from them; therefore, distraction is best used only to help you through the process when you need a break or things feel too heavy. Having a temporary break from emotional pain and distracting yourself can be really important in the process.
Physical exercise is a key component of mind-body wellness. Movement can allow for our negative emotions to become unstuck and actually move; therefore, allowing us to process these emotions and release them. So, do not discount the importance of going for a walk or going to the gym. Exercise can also help in reducing any negative impacts that stress has caused to the body. If you are not someone who exercises often, then a simple 20-minute walk around the neighborhood may be a great place to start to get your body and mind moving.
8. Identify Unhealthy Thinking Patterns
Learn to identify unhealthy patterns with your thinking, such as rumination or negative thinking and work toward changing those patterns. This is a common cognitive-behavioral strategy that is often seen in the management of stress or even depression and trauma. For example, when you notice yourself engaging in negative thinking or ruminating over the bad situation that happened, use self-talk to change that pattern. You can say things like, “I will get through this,” “I am strong” or “I am brave.” First, you must identify when we are not thinking in a healthy manner and then work to change that. Changing the way that we think can have a very positive impact.
9. Sit With Your Emotions
Now, this is the opposite of what I described above with distraction, but both can be healthy and healing in their own way and at the right time. As difficult as it can be, there is importance to just sitting and being present with how you are feeling. This allows you to be very aware, in the present moment with how you are feeling and to not dismiss or hide from painful emotions. It allows for an opportunity to reflect and validate your emotions and how you are feeling. It also allows for you to express these emotions to yourself and perhaps allow yourself time to cry or grieve. This again will help you to process how you are feeling and work toward healing.
10. Look Forward
It is important in the process that we do not get stuck in a negative cycle for too long. It’s crucial to keep moving forward. Of course, you should always allow yourself time to heal because this is an extremely difficult process. However, it is also important that you are working toward progress and looking for a future time when these emotions do not weigh heavily on you. This could include setting goals for something in the future or perhaps making plans for an activity as something to work toward and look forward to. This action of thinking about the future can be helpful. When people are overwhelmed with difficult feelings in the moment, it can be hard to think about the future or even picture a time when they aren’t experiencing this emotional pain. So it’s a challenge, but a purposeful one that can actually be quite helpful. This can get you setting future goals and thinking positively, which helps with healing. Positive thinking can have a major impact in a good way toward healing. Many people underestimate the power of positive thinking, but it can help us to adjust our mood and the way that we think overall. When we have gone through a difficult situation and are working toward healing from emotional pain, it can be extremely challenging yet helpful to find something positive and meaningful in our situation, such as something we learned from the experience or how we can take a bad experience and move forward in a positive way. Working through painful emotions is never easy. The importance here is that you are finding healthy activities and coping mechanisms that will promote your healing in a positive way. Each person is different and the situation that they experienced is very different; therefore, the coping strategies and personal preferences will also be different. It’s essential to find things that work well for you and stick to it. Painful emotions take time to heal so don’t give up right away. Keep moving forward and working on your own self-care. Healing will come and you will get through this.
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What is Emotional Pain?
When you experience difficult emotions, you experience emotional pain. A person may experience emotional distress due to various factors, including grief, loss, trauma, stress, or toxic relationships. These experiences leave an imprint on the mind and body. Even though these experiences can empower you and teach you valuable life lessons, suppressing emotional pain can negatively affect your health, success, and happiness. The actions of others can sometimes cause emotional pain. Depression or
anxiety could also be the reason, in other cases. A person’s thoughts can often trigger emotions. Therefore, mental and emotional pain are interconnected. Having anxiety, for example, affects how you handle emotions and may prevent you from going about your usual routines. A traumatic event also causes emotional pain for some people, such as losing a loved one. Some of these signs may also lead to emotional pain:
- Less time with family and friends
- Anger issues
- Having trouble eating
- No motivation to do tasks
- Feeling helpless, guilt-ridden, or hopeless
Regardless of the cause, emotional pain affects many different aspects of a person’s life. It is essential to learn how to deal with it in healthy ways. Using suitable coping mechanisms can help you with healing emotional pain and overcoming it.
How to heal yourself emotionally? Blocking the thoughts and feelings you don’t want to feel might not be healthy. Moreover, suppressing emotional pain can manifest as physical symptoms such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and self-harm. Healing emotional pain takes time, patience, perseverance, and love for yourself to accomplish. How to Cope With Emotional Pain? Emotional pain is inevitable, and anyone can experience it. The distressing effects of emotional pain often lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, including alcohol and drugs. Though they relieve pain briefly, these methods cause more significant harm over time. It doesn’t matter whether the pain is from trauma, loss, or disappointment; you must devise a strategy to handle and cope with it. The following are healthier ways to cope with emotional pain: 1. Spend Your Time Doing Something You Enjoy Yes, you can cry about your loss, grief, and painful experiences. There’s a saying, «Cry until it hurts no more.» And that is natural. However, would you still keep on dwelling on it? Are you going to stay in that past forever? If you prefer, you can try something productive to help you overcome life’s challenges and obstacles. Some people manage their Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after trauma by punching a heavy bag to let go of the extreme tension inside them. It is indeed an effective way to deal with severe emotional pain. If your emotional pain is less intense, you can try a new hobby, focus on your career, or do things you enjoy. Try to distract yourself with something more positive. 2. Move Your Body. Even if your emotional pain may devour you, you need to get up and get moving. Try a new sport or activity. While hiking, biking, and yoga can be great activities to fill your time, they can also make you feel good. Put your health first. Getting physical exercise is a great way to deal with feelings of emotional pain because it improves mood. Taking a walk is worth it for your mood rather than browsing social media. 3. Take Control Of Your Anxiety or Depression. If you ever have anxiety or depression, emotional pain may trigger them. Relaxation exercises, physical exercise, or yoga can help you cope with these feelings. The best method for improving your mood involves relaxation, stress management, and cognitive restructuring. Relaxation can reduce emotional pain by letting your muscles relax and deepening your breathing. 4. Service Through Volunteering Volunteering boosts your self-confidence and a sense of purpose. It can be a way of coping with emotional pain, as well. You will learn new skills, form or strengthen your community ties, gain new experiences, and meet various people by volunteering. In the same way, giving to others can also enhance your mental, physical, and emotional health. There are many benefits to volunteering, but it doesn’t entail a long-term commitment or consume a lot of your time. Volunteering is not only good for those in need, but it is good for you as well. 5. Write Down Your Emotions In a Journal Writing down your emotions gives you freedom. No one can interrupt your peace of mind, let alone encounter criticism. Your emotions are a part of you. When you write about your emotions, you will reflect, analyze, and learn to change them, which helps overcome your emotional pain. 6. See a Therapist Seek counsel from a therapist to deal with emotional pain if you are having trouble managing it. If you experience mental health or emotional issues that interfere with your daily life, you may need therapy. These therapies might help you in coping with emotional pain:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of several therapeutic approaches. According to the American Psychological Association, it effectively treats depression, anxiety, and other disorders caused by emotional pain.
- Psychotherapy. It involves talk therapy that can improve your mental wellness. Also, psychotherapy can enhance emotions and behaviors and lead to positive changes in the brain and body.
problem-solving approach is also a practical component of group therapy. You can form groups to assist with coping and social skills in the aftermath of trauma or loss.
- Laugh as much as possible to boost your spirits. It is good medicine.
- Listen to music that soothes you.
- If you feel like crying, do so, as it is a healthy release of emotion.
- Engage in enjoyable activities to keep your mind off stress.
If you don’t cope with
emotional pain, it can cause serious harm to your lifestyle. No matter how much you have changed from this experience, we provide you with these helpful ways to help you move forward. We hope these things will help you
create a positive and happy outlook on life. A Center for Mental Wellness offers therapy solutions for you and your family. Contact us today to make an appointment or to learn more about how we can help. #BuildingABetterTomorrow Every person has dealt with distressing emotional pain at some point in their life. Emotional pain means that these are problems that deal with difficult emotions such as grief, loss, devastation, or heartbreak. While you have the power to control your emotions, the severity of these feelings can sometimes cause them to control you. When you’re dealing with emotional pain, it can disrupt your daily life if you’re not careful enough, given how overwhelming it feels. In this article, we’ll highlight what emotional pain is, how it affects the body, and how to deal with it. Free meditation appDeclutter The Mind is an app that will teach you how to meditate, help you form the habit of a regular practice, and expand your mind to the teachings of mindfulness.
What is emotional pain?
Emotional pain is the suffering you experience when dealing with difficult feelings. Experiencing grief or loss emotionally is considered emotional pain. You may feel broken or unable to function like you usually do because your heart feels too heavy. Mental and emotional pain is also often interconnected because your thoughts can often trigger an emotion out of you. For instance, when you feel anxious, it affects how you handle emotions and may prevent you from going about your typical routine due to fear. Emotional pain is a type of pain that is difficult to cope with and may negatively impact your life. Even positive emotions may negatively lead you astray. You may feel happy but feel a bit of guilt if you’re euphoric with the wrong person, after the loss of a loved one, or another experience. You can experience emotional pain for any emotion – even if it’s a seemingly positive one.
How does emotional pain affect you?
It’s easy to assume that emotional pain only affects your heart and emotions, but that’s not entirely the case. Emotional pain can affect your entire body, including your brain and other body functions. It’s important to remember that the mind and body are interconnected. Your thoughts cause emotions that result in actions. If you’re thinking of sad thoughts, you might find yourself crying and experiencing sadness. From there, you might get tissue paper to blow your nose, order a tub of ice cream, or fail to practice the common self-care ideas. Your actions might be positive, neutral, or negative. However, with emotional pain, the likelihood of self-neglect or poor judgment-making skills is more commonplace. When your heart is broken, you can barely get up, and it aches all over your body. This type of emotional pain, if not managed effectively, can lead to physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, muscle pain, and a whole lot more. When you’re dealing with emotional pain, you also have a higher tendency to be irrational and impulsive. You can make rash decisions out of the pain you’re feeling, and it can have power over your life.
How to deal with emotional pain
1. Stop shutting off your emotions
It’s a human tendency to want to shut off your emotions and numb yourself from feeling the pain, but you need to stop doing this. The more you repress your feelings, the more they will feel out of control. Bottling up emotions often leads to the explosive release of them. And that explosive release can damage relationships, make minor problems more complicated, and create more emotional pain in your life. It would help if you let yourself feel your emotions no matter how badly it hurts. Shutting off your emotions might feel good initially, but it won’t do you any good with managing your pain. You can only cope with emotional pain by feeling your pain gradually and learning to sit with those feelings through guided meditation or yoga. You can’t manage pain by distracting yourself and pretending it isn’t there. You’ll likely have self-sabotaging habits so that you won’t feel a thing if you shut your emotions off. However, you should also know that shutting off the pain will also be shutting off the possibility of happiness in your life. And isn’t that exactly what you need right now?
2. Move your body to curb emotional pain
There are two types of distractions you should be aware of, self-sabotaging distractions and healthy distractions. If you need a distraction to manage your emotional pain, it should be through healthy distractions such as physical activity. There’s no better way to deal with your emotions than by moving your body and giving yourself the endorphins and dopamine you need to make yourself feel good. Plus, these happy hormones genuinely do make you feel better after you’ve completed your workout. You’ll be surprised at how much you can make yourself feel better and manage your pain by moving your body in any way possible. It doesn’t have to be anything intense since something as simple as yoga or running can reduce the emotional pain you feel. Physical activity is the best way to get out of your head and avoid dwelling in whatever emotion that’s currently destroying you and making you feel stuck.
3. Don’t play the victim
No matter who’s at fault, even if you were the one that was hurt and betrayed in your story, you shouldn’t play the victim if you think you are one. Telling yourself, you’re a victim makes you inferior to other people. It makes you feel and act smaller. If someone badly hurts you, you need to realize that you’re not a victim, but you’re a survivor. You can always change the narrative of the story you experience in your life. They may have hurt you, but they only have power over your emotional pain if you choose to give it to them. After all, you control your emotions with your thoughts. If you change your thoughts towards something more positive, your emotions will change alongside them. No matter what happens to you in life, you’re not a victim. After you declare yourself a survivor or accept that sometimes things outside your control will happen to you, you’ll be on your way to managing your emotional pain.
4. Find something to spend your energy on
Instead of dwelling on your grief, loss, or negative experience, you can choose to do something productive to help you heal from your life challenges and obstacles. For example, after a trauma, many people manage their PTSD by running out the rage their body consumes them with or punching a heavy bag to release the extreme tension building up within them. While not everyone likes to exercise, this is an effective way to coping with extreme emotional pain in a healthy way. If your emotional pain is much less severe, you can choose to find a new hobby, focus on your career, or do something you’ve always enjoyed doing. Even when it’s hard to get up and away from lying in bed with your emotions, you owe it to yourself to distract your mind with something more positive. For example, if you’ve lost a spouse or life partner to illness, you might choose to do a good deed every day in their memory. By doing an act of kindness every day, you’ll regularly start thinking about positive things that will help you heal emotionally while still doing something to remember them in their shining moments. You might volunteer for a charity they believed in or activity they loved, so you always keep their memory close to you. While sometimes emotional pain makes it hard to get out of bed or do anything at all, remember that doing those little things every day is something worth celebrating. Not everyone can face the day after dealing with a difficult situation. So if you can, reward yourself by doing something you love. And if you can’t, look for little moments you can do in bed, like sending someone a positive message from your phone in bed. When you help other people, even when you’re struggling yourself, it slowly builds you back up because you see your hope shine through the darkness.
5. Stop re-telling your story
Talking to a mental health professional has many benefits to help you cope with a difficult situation. However, when people don’t find a therapist, they’ll often tell the same story to every person they meet. Not only does that make you relive the pain of what happened to you repeatedly, but it also mentally exhausts your friends, family, and those around you by dragging them into your unresolved emotional pain. A mental health professional will teach you how to look at your situation differently and help you find new coping strategies for dealing with your suffering. Instead of getting stuck in your grief, loss, or mental agony, it’s time to get practical about dealing with your emotional pain. Your emotions will always be valid, but sometimes we make ourselves feel that badly because of guilt. And until we address it, we’ll always mistreat ourselves and punish ourselves for something that happened beyond our control.
6. Start journaling your emotions
One of the benefits of journaling is having a way to let all your emotions out without the fear of judgment or criticism. Starting a journal can help you reflect, analyze, and change your emotions to get unstuck from your emotional pain. Having a journal with you can be a platform where you express your feelings and negative thoughts unapologetically without being conscious of your emotions. You can also choose to start a gratitude list or have journaling prompts to help you productively process your emotions and thoughts. By shifting the focus from emotional pain to gratitude, you look at your life event from a positive perspective which helps you heal.
7. Let yourself cry to deal with emotional pain
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t let yourself cry and break down. No matter what anyone else says or what your mind tells you, there’s no weakness found in crying. Allowing yourself to cry helps your body release the toxins through your tears. And if you pay close attention, you’ll notice you often feel slightly happier after a big, hard cry. That’s because you’ve released the toxins from your body. Whereas when you don’t cry, the toxins stay within you, keeping you more depressed. Don’t fear another person’s reaction to your tears. Crying is a normal response to sadness, frustration, anger, and mixed emotions. By allowing yourself to cry, you productively respond to your feelings. If you feel like crying, it’s best just to let it all out.
8. Give yourself time to heal
Just like physical pain, you need to let yourself heal from emotional pain. It’s just as terrible and difficult to deal with as having physical symptoms, which means you need to practice self-care to feel better. However, distracting yourself from your pain will only do more harm than good. When your emotions pile up until you can’t handle them anymore, you project your feelings to someone else. Don’t pressure yourself to feel better immediately, especially when you’ve been through so much. Significant life changes take time to get used to. It might also change how you view the world. For example, a war veteran might always view the world from the lens of safety – am I safe? So, while you can still do things to release the negativity from within yourself, understanding that some challenges require more work is an important step in your journey.
9. Talk to someone about your emotional pain
When your pain becomes too unbearable to handle, and you don’t think you can survive it, talking to someone is a way to deal with emotional pain. Talking to someone doesn’t just mean opening up to a loved one but also talking to a counselor or therapist. A mental health professional will help you incorporate healthy coping and defense mechanisms in managing your pain. Nobody should have to be dealing with emotional pain alone. If you think talking to a professional would help, then you shouldn’t hesitate to do so. If you find yourself getting carried away by negative thoughts, speak to a professional immediately.
10. Meditate on your emotional pain
Lastly, the most effective way to deal with emotional pain is to practice guided meditation. Whether you download the Declutter The Mind app or watch the Declutter The Mind YouTube channel, you’ll find meditations to help you cope with grief, trauma, breakups, or even simply emotions. With dozens of meditations on various emotional topics, you’ll find a meditation to suit your needs and budget. While meditation can’t replace therapy, you can do it in conjunction with therapy to help you in between sessions to reflect on your situation with gratitude, inner peace, or hope.
This article was able to shed insight into everything you needed to know on dealing with emotional pain. It’s not always easy to manage challenging situations, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed with emotions. However, it’s important to learn how to pick yourself back up and move forward no matter how much your life has changed from this event. Your life may be different now, but it’s important to accept this next chapter and let go of the past.
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