Emotional pain is an inevitable part of life. Knowing that doesn’t seem to make it any easier. Whether the pain is associated with a trauma, a loss, or a disappointment, you must develop a strategy to lessen and manage the struggle. By taking action, excavating your emotions and seeking professional help, you will learn to cope with emotional pain.
Seek help from those close to you. Asking for help can be awkward. However, it is one of the ways you can increase accountability. If you let someone know that you are trying to make specific changes in your life, it will increase the likelihood of your success. It is important for you to let others know what you are trying to achieve.
The process of checking in with someone focuses your mind on making progress. There is an opportunity to live up to an expectation, which can result in you feeling positive about yourself and your efforts. Consider asking the person to hold you to a check-in schedule. For example, one time per week you will report your progress to the person. It’s up to you to tell them what you need from them in terms of feedback.
Find a new hobby or venture. There is a lot of time to fill in a day. You may be struggling with this notion. If you are feeling depressed, consider finding a new hobby or project to complete. Hobbies have been shown to create improved physical and mental health.
For example, everyone has a list of things they would like to accomplish, but don’t have the time. Well, now you do have the time. Sit down and make a new list.
Try a new hobby, such as photography, painting, or cooking.
Discover a new love of literature. Read all the books you’ve been meaning to read, but haven’t.
Volunteer your time to a cause. One way of coping with emotional pain is to volunteer your time, resources or expertise to a worthy cause or individual. Volunteering will help you develop new skills, begin or strengthen your connection with your community, offer you new experiences and the opportunity to meet a diverse range of people. It can also provide a boost to your self-esteem, personal development, and align your actions with your values. You will feel a “giver’s high.”
Reach out to organizations in your local area to become a part of a worthwhile project. This might include visiting the elderly, helping at an animal shelter, or running fundraisers for a local theater production company. The opportunities are out there.
Get moving. Find a new form of exercise. Biking, hiking, and yoga can all fill your time while making you feel great. Focus on your health. Up to one-third of people directly affected by a painful loss will physically and emotionally suffer. While you may feel anxious, depressed and too exhausted to take action, you cannot ignore your needs.
Consider participating in 15 minutes of meditation or yoga each day. This can make you feel more in touch with your mind and body and more calm for the rest of the day.
Fill your schedule with new agenda items. Sitting around missing someone will only make you feel worse. Sometimes you need to occupy yourself with new, more interesting things to do. Have you ever thought about learning to play a musical instrument, or becoming a master gardener? Now might be your time.
The loss of someone may leave large gaps of time that used to be filled with fun activities. Focus on filling your schedule with as many activities as possible.
Develop alternate ways to comfort yourself. When people are in pain they seek comfort in healthy and unhealthy ways. Move away from unhealthy methods of comforting yourself such as alcohol, drugs, and overeating.
For example, if helping others, or animals brings you comfort, reach out to others to help instead of staying in your state of discomfort.
Looking to others for support and rehearsing healthy responses to difficult situations are two forms of effective coping responses you can use
Formulate a plan to build coping skills. Following a problem solving model will give you structure for creating change. You must determine clear objectives, implement them, make adjustments as needed and monitor your progress.
Determine clear objectives. One objective may be identified by first keeping a log of how much time you spend ruminating about your issue. This will give you a baseline measure, after which you can state your objective to decrease your time. Self-monitoring leads to real change.
Pick a start date for your plan and start. Don’t delay the inevitable. Start as soon as possible.
Recognize your growth and reward yourself. If you successfully meet your daily, weekly or monthly objectives, celebrate your accomplishments. Perhaps you could go to a movie, attend a sporting event or plant a tree in honor of someone you admire. Positive reinforcement will motivate you to continue with your plan.
If a strategy just isn’t working for you, then stop using it. Find an alternative and plug it into your plan. Don’t look at it as a failure; instead look at it as a correction in the course toward your goal.
Your new behaviors will build over time and become second nature to you. You can fade or lessen your strict adherence to the steps of your plan and maintain positive outcomes.
Learn how to relax.Stress and fear contribute to emotional pain, and relaxation can help. If a situation gets you down, you will have the relaxation skills you learn to help you manage. There are various relaxation methods that include:
Use guided imagery to help you visually imagine a calm place or circumstance. You can seek the help of a therapist for this or develop the skill on your own.
Use Biofeedback to lessen your fear and pain by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
Use breathing exercises to quiet your fight-or-flight reactions which are ignited by feelings of pain and fear.
Excavating Your Emotions
Be aware of your emotional triggers. You are likely aware of those things that occur that cause you to have an emotional response. These are emotional triggers.Take the time to think about the things that trigger your emotional responses. It is time to demonstrate your best personal introspection skills (accessing your own thoughts and feelings) to get to the heart of the matter.
See things as they occur in a slower speed. This will allow you to diffuse your triggers and discern if a threat is real, and respond in a reasonable way.
Challenge your thoughts and feelings about getting nervous in certain situations. If you get nervous when you go to a party where your friends are the only attendees, remind yourself that these people are your friends and they accept you for who you are.
The use of positive self-talk will help diffuse your nerves. For example, if the pain makes you feel anxious or stressed tell yourself, “I am completely safe and I can relax and let go of the pain and tension in my body.”
Write in a journal.Write in it every morning or evening or once a week to check in with yourself and to decompress. Also, you can write in it when a thought enters your mind. Find what works for you.
Make a list of your troublesome thoughts, feelings and behaviors. This will help you understand the connection between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and the pain that you feel. Then, you can see the areas of your life that are suffering and need attention.
Ask yourself if you feel depressed, anxious, angry, stressed or lonely. Does it seem that you have little control in your life?
Are you having problems with personal relationships? Do you have a hard time expressing your emotions and feelings?
Cry. If you don’t feel like crying, don’t worry. Everyone has a different way of expressing sadness. Holding back emotions is not healthy and can contribute to cardiovascular and mental health disorders
Find a safe place and get comfortable. If your emotions come to the surface allow the tears to flow. The health benefits to crying include:
Releasing toxins out of your body.
Improving your vision by lubricating the eye.
Improving mood better than any antidepressant.
Enhancing communication because it can show what words cannot express.
Write a letter, but do not send it. Include all the significant emotional experiences you experienced associated with this pain. Include the good things and the bad. If there is a person to thank, write about that. Express the anger you might be feeling. End your letter by saying, “I no longer need the pain that I am feeling so I am giving it back to _____. Good-bye.”
Find a soothing routine. During periods of extreme emotional pain, you may be so consumed that you forget to take care of yourself. Make sure that you are in a daily routine that helps you feel better. This means getting a healthy amount of sleep, eating healthy food even if you don’t feel hungry, and making time for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
You may not think that eating and sleeping regularly can make a difference when you’re in the throes of emotional pain, but it definitely can. A healthier you is stronger and can manage a struggle more effectively.
Avoid things that tend to increase your stress levels. That could mean traffic jams, loud concerts, extra responsibilities at work, or spending time with a dramatic friend. Although you can’t get rid of all the stress you’re feeling, you can make an effort to minimize it.
Allow yourself to grieve. If you are dealing with the emotional pain of losing someone you love, then give yourself the time you need to grieve and come to terms with your feelings. You won’t be able to stop missing the person if you don’t give yourself the time to slow down, express your emotions, and grieve the loss of the person who is no longer around
Every individual experiences the grief process in an entirely different way
If you are in pain and feel the need to be alone for a while, make sure your friends and family members are aware. If not, they may worry about you. Consider saying something like, “I am struggling, but I am working through it. I hope you understand that it is going to take some time, and I’m not sure how long. I guess I am the only one who can figure that out. I just need some time to be alone for a while.”
If you spend too much time by yourself and are feeling lonely as a result, make sure to spend some time with others.
Manage your anxiety, stress or depression. Emotional pain can increase feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. Counter these feelings in healthy ways by taking part in relaxation exercises, physical exercise or yoga.] A combination of relaxation, stress management, cognitive restructuring and exercise is the best way to improve your mood
When you are relaxed your muscles loosen, blood pressure and heart rate drop, and your breathing slows and deepens, which can help with emotional pain.
Participating in physical exercise will release endorphins into your bloodstream, which lessen pain and increase positive feelings
Open your heart to new people. Make an effort to be friendlier to new people. Extend invitations to get together with your acquaintances. Though you may be shy, you can work on getting to know people little by little. Smile, be friendly and outgoing toward the people you meet.
Start by asking a few casual questions. Tell a fun fact or two about yourself, or make some funny observations. If you make more of an effort, you’ll be on your way to having more friends and feeling less pain.
You may have more in common with people than you think. Once you spend time with them, you’ll see that you might really enjoy their company.
Seeking Professional Help
Find a therapist. If you have difficulty managing your emotional pain, then seek counsel from a professional trained to deal with this type of struggle. Contact you doctor or trusted friend or family member for a referral in your area.