Emotions and Feelings

Emotions are the personal expressions of feelings that we experience and can have a significant impact on pain. Emotions amplify the ups and downs of life and can act like a volume control on pain and suffering. Mechanism of neuroplasticity and psychoneuroimmunology explain the powerful connection between emotions, the mind, and the body. When a person is depressed or anxious, pain is worse while feelings of calm, joy, and happiness, pain is improved. Thus, it is important to recognize both positive and negative emotions, their duration, and relationship with pain. Sustained negative emotions are a significant risk for chronic pain, regardless of whether it occurs before or after the onset of the pain condition. By applying principals of positive psychology through enhancing positive emotions, chronic pain can best be prevented.

Goals to attain

In creating your emotional realm, some of the goals to attain include:

  • Be happy and content most of the time
  • Experience joy, humor, and fun both alone or when you are with others
  • Learning to be calm and relaxed most of the time
  • Be excited about what each day can bring
  • Feel positive and confident about life and future

Reduce lifestyle risk factors

Emotional risk factors are prolonged negative emotions that are often associated with lower resilience, lower confidence, lower self-efficacy, and higher muscle tension leading to more chronic pain. The following risk factors can play role in perpetuating chronic pain:

  • Anxiety: Anxiety, nervousness, and worry occurs life changes, relationships, the future, and others
  • Fear: Fear, phobias, social anxiety, and panic increase chronic pain sensitization
  • Anger: Frustration and annoyance can lead to anger, rage and abuse of yourself or others
  • Depression: Persistent feeling of inadequacy, depression, and despair lead to feelings of helpless and hopelessness
  • Grief: Inability to cope with personal loss of relationships, occupations, and possessions can be associated with persistent grief and sadness

Strengthen Protective factors

Emotional protective factors are virtues associated with improved energy, mood, resilience, muscle tension, confidence, and relaxed muscles and will help prevent chronic pain. Remember that creativity generates positive emotions. Do something creative whether it is art, music, writing, cooking, gardening, creating a business, or other creative activities.

  • Know thyself: Recognize positive and negative emotions that you have daily, what do they mean, and the balance between negative and positive emotions
  • Emotional coping skills: learn emotional coping skills by changing sustained negative emotions.
  • Meditation: Practice relaxation, deep breathing, and calming strategies when anxious.
  • Stay calm: Identify sources of annoyance and frustration and stay calm and let persistent anger go.
  • Creative pursuits: Do something creative when anxious, depressed, frustrated, or angry
  • Positive future: Quell fears by taking action to create the future you want.
  • Smile: Maintain a good sense of humor, amusement, and joy for life
  • Identify joys in daily life: Find something to be happy and delighted about everyday