A common mistake of those who are suffering from physical and emotional pain is that they immediately assume the two are not connected when, in fact, they have a lot more in common than one might think.
Did you know that physical and emotional pain affect the same part of the brain? Two parts of the brain, the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex, are both activated when people experience physical and emotional pain. The reason behind this? People’s bodies have evolved overtime to use one single neural system to detect both physical and emotional pain.
So, how does one cope with these two types of pain? Here are some effective tips you may follow:
1) Manage Stress
Stress works in two ways. Being too stressed out and not being able to address it can lead to physical pain. On the other hand, having chronic pain can add to your stress as it can affect your daily routine, forcing you to worry about your health or spend too much time focusing on how to stop the pain. Having said these, one effective solution is to manage your stress levels.
A few tips to handle stress include:
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
- Get enough exercise
- Get enough sleep (it helps to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time)
- Try to relax through self-hypnosis wherein you repeat an uplifting mantra to yourself
Another key to managing stress is knowing that there’s not one stress reliever that works for everyone. There are many options out there for handling stress, and in order to find which works for you specifically, you’ll have to try out different options until you find the right one.
Exercise can help manage both physical and emotional pain as this specific activity encourages the body to release endorphins, which are a group of peptides (amino acid chains) that the central nervous system and pituitary gland produce.
Here are a few benefits of endorphins:
- Reduce stress
- Help manage depression
- Aid in weight loss
- Reduce anxiety
- Boost self-esteem
A lack of endorphins can result in depression, moodiness, or anxiety. Fortunately, this can be avoided by exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. You can take a walk, do a high-intensity workout, swim, or hike. Really, as long as it gets you up and active, you’re all good.
3) Do Yoga Or Meditate
Another form of exercise that can help you deal with both physical and emotional pain is yoga or meditation. Yoga and meditation are different from the above exercises, such that they teach you to control your breathing, clear your mind, and stretch any aching or sore muscles. Both yoga and meditation are done at a slower pace, helping you relax, release endorphins, and lower your stress levels.
Many YouTube channels offer free yoga videos that teach viewers how to do poses that target different body parts and are of different lengths, cater to different experience levels, and, yes, even videos that are aimed at helping both physical and emotional pain.
Another great bonus to yoga is that all the poses can be modified depending on experience level, strength, or any health issues that one may have. And, while a typical yoga lesson is between 30 and 90 minutes, there are benefits to be gained from 10- to 20-minute sessions a few times a week, if that’s more doable.
4) Take Supplements
Not all types of pain can be managed by simple lifestyle changes. Thus, it may be time to turn to supplements. Some viable options include the following:
- Devil’s claw root
- Fish oil
- Vitamin D
These kinds of supplements are considered holistic or alternative medicines. What does this mean? Holistic medicine is a medical treatment that takes the patients entire body into consideration, including psychological and social factors that are affecting their health. Alternative medicine is simply used to replace conventional medicine.
There are supplements, such as those by Professional Formulas, that can be purchased online, as can many others. This way, there’s not need to leave the house to find the proper supplements.
5) Seek Therapy Or Support
There are two kinds of therapy—physical therapy for the body, as well as therapy for your mind in the form of sitting down and talking confidentially to someone outside of your family or social circle. While the support of family and friends can be beneficial to your mental health, there are times an outside voice can be of more help.
If it’s emotional pain you’re experiencing due to stress or negative emotions, cognitive therapy could be the answer. It can teach you how to identify the cause of negative thoughts and stressors, and gain control over them.
Counseling, on the one hand, is the process of teaching you how your own mind works. With a licensed professional, you learn to navigate your own feelings, develop good habits, and understand your thoughts more fully. All of these skills can lead to better mental health.
And, then, there’s physical therapy or a pain doctor, which helps to restore and maintain maximum body movement after an injury. Always remember that there’s no shame in consulting a professional and seeking out further help.
Relaxation can be achieved in many different ways: managing your breathing, taking a hot bath, listening to music, doing yoga, and writing, among many others. There’s no one definite way to achieve ultimate relaxation; it’s all a matter of what helps you
When you finally find a form of relaxation that best suits you and implement it on a regular basis, the following benefits will soon follow:
- Lessened muscle tension
- Less aches
- More endorphins released
- Reduced stress
When the body relaxes, your blood pressure, heart rate, and hormone levels go from their heightened levels, which may be causing you pain, back to their normal levels, which are beneficial to your wellbeing.
No matter what form of pain relief you find helpful, what’s important is to identify exactly which treatments work for you and incorporate them into your daily life. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to pain relief, so explore your options, try different solutions, and when something works, stick with it!