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How Do I Feel My Emotions, and How Can That Help My Pain?

This excerpt is taken from an episode of the "Tell Me About Your Pain" podcast. You can listen to the full episode below, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts


In this episode, Alan and Alon talk about the role of emotions in chronic pain. They discuss the benefits of tapping into difficult emotions, and provide a simple and effective technique for doing so.

Alan talks to Ginger and Chris who are having trouble connecting with their feelings, and he helps them feel their emotions in a safe way. Finally, Alan talks to Mandi and reveals the one emotion that every chronic pain sufferer needs to address.

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Many people, and especially many chronic pain sufferers, learn that certain emotions are not safe.

Growing up sometimes we have certain experiences where we learn that certain emotions are not okay. I had a patient a long time ago who was locked in her closet every time she cried, so she actually learned that the emotion of sadness was not okay. So whenever a feeling of sadness would come up, she would get anxiety or a migraine headache or something like that.

There's a lot of different ways that you could learn that certain emotions aren't safe. Another example is if you have a parent that gets really overwhelmingly sad all the time, or has anger outburst all the time, you could actually learn that those emotions aren’t safe because of your relationship with them. So you could grow up and do the opposite by never feeling those emotions, because you run in the opposite direction of the way your parents are. There’s a lot of different reasons why people could learn that emotions are dangerous.

We’ve talked a lot in the past about how pain is a danger signal, and the goal is to actually teach your brain that the sensation it is interpreting as dangerous is actually safe. We want to do the same thing with emotions. Your brain initially learned that this emotion wasn't safe, and we want to correct that misinterpretation by teaching your brain that it is in fact safe.

[this is an excerpt only - for the full episode, listen to the podcast above]

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