Posts Tagged ‘Pain’

Physical and Emotional Pain: The Undeafeated Mind!

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Though the experience of physical pain and emotional pain are clearly different, functional imaging studies show that, with few exceptions, the regions of the brain that these types of pain activate are identical.

These include not only the regions responsible for giving pain its unpleasant character, but also those responsible for regulating its size, location, and intensity (perhaps partially explaining the startling finding that Tylenol, a centrally acting pain reliever, alleviates not only the pain of a smashed finger but also the pain of hurt feelings.

No wonder, then, that physical and emotional pain produce the same reaction: a strong desire to avoid the things that cause them.

“Suffer what there is to suffer. Enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life,” wrote Nichiren Daishonin.

Yet most of us clearly don’t.

Unfortunately, the strategies we use to avoid emotional pain often cause more harm than does the experience of emotional pain itself:

more harm results, for example, from excessive drinking or drug use than from the anxiety they’re often used to anesthetize;

more harm results from relationship sabotage than from the fear of intimacy that often drives it.

Not only that, but attempting to suppress emotional pain may paradoxically increase it.

In contrast, being accepting of emotional pain, being willing to experience it without attempting to control it, has actually been found to decrease it.

In one study of patients with generalized anxiety disorder, for example, subjects who were taught to accept their anxiety reported substantial reductions in worry, reductions that persisted even beyond the duration of the study.

But such a decrease is only a happy byproduct, for the true purpose of acceptance isn’t to diminish emotional pain but rather to become more comfortable feeling it.

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Equanimity: Focused and Fearless

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“Equanimity is steady through vicissitudes, equally close to the things you may like and the things you do not like.

Observe when the tendency to move away from what you do not like ends, and the tendency to hold on to what you like is equally absent.

Personal preference no longer dictates the direction of attention.

Equanimity contains the complete willingness to behold the pleasant and the painful events of life equally.

It points to a deep balance in which you are not pushed and pulled between the coercive energies of desire and aversion.

Equanimity has the capacity to embrace extremes without getting thrown off balance.

Equanimity takes interest in whatever is occurring simply because it is occurring.

Equanimity does not include the aversive states of indifference boredom, coldness, or hesitation.

It is an expression of calm, radiant balance that takes whatever comes in stride.”

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10 Surprising Facts About Rejection: Research finds that rejection affects intelligence, reason, and more

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https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/experts/guy-winch-phd

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We know that rejection really hurts, but it can also inflict damage to our psychological well-being that goes beyond emotional pain. Here are 10 lesser known facts that describe the effects rejection has on our emotions, thinking, and behavior.

Let’s begin by examining why rejection hurts as much as it does:

1. Rejection piggybacks on physical pain pathways in the brain. fMRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. This is why rejection hurts so much (neurologically speaking). In fact our brains respond so similarly to rejection and physical pain that…

2. Tylenol reduces the emotional pain rejection elicits. In a study testing the hypothesis that rejection mimics physical pain, researchers gave some participants acetaminophen (Tylenol) before asking them to recall a painful rejection experience. The people who received Tylenol reported significantly less emotional pain than subjects who took a sugar pill. Psychologists assume that the reason for the strong link between rejection and physical pain is that…

3. Rejection served a vital function in our evolutionary past. In our hunter/gatherer past, being ostracized from our tribes was akin to a death sentence, as we were unlikely to survive for long alone. Evolutionary psychologists assume the brain developed an early warning system to alert us when we were at risk for ostracism. Because it was so important to get our attention, those who experienced rejection as more painful (i.e., because rejection mimicked physical pain in their brain) gained an evolutionary advantage—they were more likely to correct their behavior and consequently, more likely to remain in the tribe. Which probably also explains why…

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We do not want to suffer!

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We do not want to suffer. For much of life this desire steers us away from danger.

If we have a mental disorder, (PTSD, depression, etc) avoiding brings more suffering.

I started out avoiding a few things to control my fight or flight firing. The adrenal stress response is preparing us for a lethal threat.

This state is filled with fear, anxiety and unrest.

It scares us because we seem to have no influence over it.

Mine fired when it wanted, my effort did nothing to stop it.

This behavior made things much worse. At bottom I spent six months in my dark garage, agoraphobic.

My fight or flight still fired ten plus times a day.

Escaping my mind was impossible.

My nervous system was upside down. Cortisol and adrenaline were at extreme levels, a day felt like a week.

Healing came when I faced my triggers, sitting still, focused on my breath.

I learned to sit quietly in the midst of my suffering.

My fight or flight mechanism became a friend not the enemy.

I learned to feel all the emotions fully, then release them.

The volume decreases as we face them, integrate them.

I discovered my fight or flight could fire on its own, but my breath could calm the upset, dissipating the cortisol and adrenaline.

How do you react to a trigger firing?

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Unworthiness turns into Self -Hate .

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Meditation for me was not about a spiritual journey, searching for enlightenment or an awakening. Whatever the hell enlightenment is, out there, achieved after two to three decades of daily practice.

Meditation was my last hope finding relief from childhood PTSD. My dads constant criticism and abuse created a big unworthy hole in me.

A parent demanding perfection from a child, damages that child beyond belief. Life becomes a struggle, unworthiness manifests as self hate.

We abandon reading what our bodies need and start trying to fulfill the needs of the parent. We become strangers to ourselves.

I had a therapist say, if your dad wrote your epitaph on a grave stone, it would be, never good enough.

That is damage at my core, not a flaw.

Enter meditation: It took enormous daily practice to see unworthiness as a mirage. It took ten times that effort to accept and be vulnerable in the face of an unworthy trigger erupting.

Unworthy started before my mind developed. It becomes stealthy, sabotaging everything we try to do.

Unworthiness seeks solitude, desires approval over all else, then runs from negativity or criticism.

Unworthiness brings so much self hate that some external approval is needed to survive. It consumes our existence.

I have seen self hate manifest in an outwardly happy go lucky man. The desire to appear normal or the need to gain approval at all costs springs from self hate.

My unworthiness fueled my professional baseball career. I could outwork everyone else without that much difficulty.

The need for approval was far greater than any amount physical exercise.

Life was dedicated to working out, the goal was to enjoy success, which brought approval.

I accomplished my goal, even enjoyed some adulation, sports fans are passionate.

Only one problem, approval has nothing to do with healing or happiness.

I had to change my goal.

The need for approval dissiapated the more I meditated.

It is always a battle, healing is not a point of time but a daily, moment by moment awareness.

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A few Roadblocks we face while healing

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From the blog https://kathyberman.com/. A great resource blog

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The first roadblock separates over 90% of people searching for a cure.

Taking daily action, facing our fears while sitting quietly, makes cowards out of us.

Denial or one of the millions of excuses prevents people from risking change. It is a sad fact,

Next for those who start a daily practice, a time arrives when healing begins and these scary, anxious feelings explode.

Our first reflex is to avoid, run or extinguish these feelings. We judge them as bad.

Healing is not comfortable, some of our trauma leaves in a conscious way, exiting violently.

Most people I encounter think they are getting worse, but the opposite is true.

My triggers erupted as they exited my mind and body.

I figured their intensity was proportionate to the violent abuse endured as a child.

This was my experience and what I have witnessed with others healing.

Healing was painful for me, then it became euphoric in a few weeks.

Please, accept the challenge and risk, take action, fight for your wellbeing.

Never give in!

Never give up!

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Recovering From A Polarized Freeze Response

Pixabay: geralt

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“Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving”

Recovery for freeze types involves three key challenges. First, their positive relational experiences are few if any. They are therefore extremely reluctant to enter into the type of intimate relationship that can be transformative.

They are even less likely to seek the aid of therapy. Moreover, those who manage to overcome this reluctance often spook easily and quickly terminate.

Second, freeze types have two commonalities with fight types. They are less motivated to try to understand the effects of their childhood traumatization. Many are unaware that they have a troublesome inner critic or that they are in emotional pain.

Furthermore, they tend to project the perfectionistic demands of the critic onto others rather than onto themselves. This survival mechanism helped them as children to use the imperfections of others as justification for isolation. In the past, isolation was smart, safety-seeking behavior.

Third, even more than workaholic flight types, freeze types are in denial about the life narrowing consequences of their singular adaptation. Some freeze types that I have worked with seem to have significant periods of contentment with their isolation.

I think they may be able to self-medicate by releasing the internal opioids that the animal brain is programmed to release when danger is so great that death seems imminent.

Internal opioid release is more accessible to freeze types because the freeze response has its own continuum that culminates with the collapse response. The collapse response is an extreme abandonment of consciousness.

It appears to be an out-of-body experience that is the ultimate dissociation. It can sometimes be seen in prey animals that are about to be killed. I have seen nature films of small animals in the jaws of a predator that show it letting go so thoroughly that its death appears to be painless.

However, the opioid production that some freeze types have access to, only takes the survivor so far before its analgesic properties no longer function. Numbed out contentment then morphs into serious depression. This in turn can lead to addictive self-medicating with substances like alcohol, marijuana and narcotics.

Alternatively, the freeze type can gravitate toward ever escalating regimens of anti-depressants and anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs). I also suspect that some schizophrenics are extremely traumatized freeze types who dissociate so thoroughly that they cannot find their way back to reality.

Several of my freeze type respondents highly recommend a self-help book by Suzette Boon, entitled Coping with Trauma-related Dissociation. This book is filled with very helpful work sheets that are powerful tools for recovering. More than any other type, the freeze type usually requires a therapeutic relationship, because their isolation prevents them from discovering relational healing through a friendship.

That said, I know of some instances where good enough relational healing has come through pets and the safer distant type of human healing that can be found in books and online internet groups.

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