“STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES BUT WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME.” Or will they?
Same areas of the brain get activated when we experience social rejection, the betrayal of a loved one or when we spill hot coffee on our arm. In other words, emotional pain hurts the same as physical pain. Science has developed drugs to alleviate or eliminate our physical pain and some of those same drugs are now proving helpful in eliminating our emotional pain. So the prescription for broken heart might actually be – take 2 Tylenol and call me in the morning? But is numbing our pain always a good thing? The more we know pain in all its varying flavours, the more we can appreciate the sensations and feelings that we like, it’s the nature of contrast. If we never felt bitterness or anger, then we wouldn’t deeply appreciate our happiness. And if we never knew fear, then we couldn’t admire courage. So may be to fully enjoy the beauty in our lives, we must first acknowledge and embrace our pain.
The above lines are from the recent episode of Perception (302 painless). I couldn’t agree more.
When people feel emotional pain, the same areas of the brain get activated as when people feel physical pain: the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex. Studies have shown, acetaminophen taken during acute phases of broken heart or rejection, has lowered the activation in the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex, thus alleviating our emotional pain.
Obviously popping pills isn’t a long term cure for every time we get hurt. Ever observed when a child falls while playing, they cry. But when they fall several times, the pain mitigates; they learn to get up and deal with it. Same goes with any ghastly setbacks that happen in our everyday life. Everybody experiences emotional pain differently depending on disparate situations but we all have a choice to let it go. So why not do it with some awareness and self compassion. Embracing or accepting our pain with mindful awareness, makes us stronger individuals as we become to endure it. When the same experience happens again, its not so painful anymore. We are hardwired to be resilient. We suffer, we accustom. The span of our resilience shortens with every negative experience. Nothing lasts forever.
Remember to wade through the pain, do not dwell in it. 🙂