Hurting Emotionally? Try These 7 Practical Ways To Deal With Emotional Pain
In our lives, there are times when we feel hurt – either by our circumstances or by our loved one’s actions – but hurt nonetheless. It’s the heaviness in your chest after the end of a long-term relationship and the heaviness in your heart when you feel rejected by others that can be defined as emotional pain.
Emotional pain is what causes you to feel hurt from non-physical circumstances. This pain can mask itself as emotional distress and sometimes, it can be the result of emotions such as grief, loss, and regret. Other times, this emotional pain can be a side effect of mental health conditions such as anxiety, panic, and/or depression.
Emotional pain can also be known as psychic pain, mental pain, or Algopsychalia. While people are easy to dismiss this hurt as nothing of importance, it is a very valid and real condition. Emotional pain can be as painful as physical hurt as evidenced in a recent study that suggested that emotional pain activates the parts of the brain that are linked with physical hurt.
Below, let’s take a look at what are the symptoms of emotional pain and how to deal with emotional pain.
The Symptoms Of Emotional Pain
Emotional pain symptoms can include:
- Feeling sorrow or sadness
- Feeling depressed
- Feeling intense distress
- Feeling lonely
- Experiencing negative emotions
- Experiencing panic
- Experiencing rage
- Feelings of shame and worthlessness
- Feelings of emptiness and hopelessness
In severe cases, emotional pain can manifest as physical symptoms that do not have a physical cause. Untreated and unaddressed emotional pain can disrupt one’s daily life, relationships, work, and other areas of life.
It is advisable to speak to a mental health counselor when the emotional pain begins to:
- Affect your daily chores
- Interrupt your happy moments
- Affect your ability to carry out basic functions
- Impact your relationships with others and yourself
Short-Term Strategies To Deal With Emotional Pain
Here are some short-term, in-the-moment strategies that you can try to deal with pain caused by non-physical circumstances.
1. Avoid Fueling False Beliefs
Did you know that sadness can turn into emotional pain when you let your negative thoughts take over? When you keep fueling your negative thoughts and false beliefs, it can only increase the intensity of your emotional hurt. While negative thoughts are a natural reaction to something traumatic, you should learn not to dwell on them.
For example, you’re mourning the loss of your partner and thinking how your life will never be happy again. It’s a valid response but this is also something that you have no evidence of.
Dwelling on your false beliefs can increase your emotional pain so you need to reassess those thoughts when you’re coping with emotional pain.
2. Label What You’re Feeling
Labeling what you’re feeling means putting words to your feelings. This can help reduce the impact of emotional pain. When you label your emotions, your brain slows down the emotional hurt. If you are emotionally hurt, then you can try to label emotions in situations such as:
- In private conversations
- In a support group
- Talking with your pet
The idea is to describe what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling as such. For example, write down in your journal, “There’s a heaviness in my chest and I feel…”
3. Try Mindfulness-Based Activities
Mindfulness means being present in the moment and being aware of your surroundings along with the sensations coursing through your body. You can apply this concept to your daily life. If you feel emotional pain, you can acknowledge the hurt and then being present in the moment, slowly let them go.
Mindfulness can be a great practice to maintain positive and healthy well-being. You can incorporate mindfulness in your life through:
- Working through a chore, or
- Waiting for your morning coffee
All you need to do is focus on what surrounds you at the moment and take in every detail of what you are engaging in.
Long-Term Strategies To Deal With Emotional Pain
Emotional pain can occur anytime and can easily overwhelm you. Before emotional pain causes distress, you can learn to control it. Major life crises, grief, breakup, and even day-to-day stressors can cause emotional pain to fester.
Here are some long-term (every day) practices to deal with emotional pain. Trying these strategies every day can help you stop hurting inside in the long run:
1. Practicing Guided Mindfulness
In-the-moment mindfulness activities can work wonders but alongside those activities, practicing guided mindfulness can be good support. With the help of a guide, you can keep emotional pain away from taking over your life.
Apart from guided mindfulness, you can try other evidence-based mindfulness approaches such as:
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
- Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT)
2. Seeking Psychotherapy
While mindfulness can be a good intervention, you can benefit greatly by seeking professional help. Approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and emotionally-focused therapy (EFT) can be good choices to deal with emotional pain. Also, depending on the severity of your emotional pain, a psychotherapist may prescribe antidepressants and mood stabilizers to help with the pain.
3. Making Major Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes are a concept that promotes a balanced diet, intentional living, weight management, and emotional regulation. And this is one of the best long-term practices that can help deal with emotional pain. In your daily life, you can add activities such as:
- Dance movement
- Aerobic, etc
4. Keeping Humor Alive
Did you know that humor can help deal with emotional pain and even stress? Research supports that keeping humor in your life can help shift how you feel, think, and create bonds with others. Laughter does not mean that you’re disregarding your pain and experiences, it’s about soothing your soul.
Humor can increase your physical pain tolerance as it creates a distraction. Similarly, it can ease psychological pain by preventing festering negative thoughts or catastrophizing.
Emotional Pain is more than just sadness, anger, or grief. It can involve other raw emotions such as anguish, hopelessness, and helplessness. While it can be easy to deal with emotional pain when you know the cause, at other times, dealing with emotional pain requires professional help and support.
To stop hurting inside, remember to practice self-care while you heal from emotional pain. If the emotional pain is immediate, then you can try short-term strategies. But if your emotional pain festers and pops up unexpectedly, then practicing the long-term strategies can help deal with the pain.
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