Emotional Recovery from Pain

Pain stabs you in the emotions as well as the physical body.  When suffering long periods of chronic pain, emotions are on edge at best.  At worst, you are the vilest person in the universe.  Care should be taken when suffering chronic pain to not allow your emotions to overcome you.  The anxiety, anger, and other associated emotions will make the pain worse.

What happens if you don’t collapse the motions and allow them to take over?  I think that Dr. Joe Dispenza, “What the Bleep” fame, describes it best with what he calls a shortened refractory period.  An emotional refractory period is the time it takes to free yourself of an emotion.  If you don’t shorten the refractory period for anger as an example, others may say you are in an angry mood.  If you allow the anger to continue, they will say you have a temperament.  If you continue in anger, it becomes a personality trait and you are off to anger management. 

I had my own issues after several decades of illness and chronic pain.  It took a long time, but I finally got there through prayer.  After I discovered what was happening with allopathic medicine, I became very angry.  How could an engineer figure out what supplements to take without a medical professional or dietician urging a recommended approach that would work?  I was in severe pain from degenerative disc disease and was about to die from central sleep apnea that had been improperly diagnosed as obstructive sleep apnea.  It was so bad that I would find myself holding my breath when fully awake.  Of course, the proper supplements allowed me to recover from all the diseases.  You can just imagine the negative emotions during this period that had to be overcome.

Whatever method you use, prayer or meditation, the feeling of the emotion is unavoidable.  The triggers in the environment will set it off when you least expect it. The key is to collapse the emotion as quickly as possible.  I found that when anger set off, I would first try to move into the thought of love, joy, and peace.  This typically led to forgiveness.  From there, I would allow the anger emotion to further collapse into sadness which I held for as brief a period as possible.  I would then translate the sadness into empathy and passion for all the hurting people.  This in turn would stimulate me to act.  To do more research or to write.  Obviously the writing of this blog was very helpful.  The other side of this process is to hold the positive emotions, love, joy, peace, hope, faith, and optimism, as long as possible.

This does not happen overnight, but can happen very quickly practice.  As you continue to practice, you will find your refractory period continue to shorten.  The key is to make the feeling of a negative emotion just a brief stimulus to turn into a positive emotion and action.  Do not act on negative emotions which you can see from this blog I have done many times.  This was not helpful as who wants to read an angry writer.  If you have to talk about it, do it with a professional, your minister, or a close friend.  Don’t wear out your friend.

You may want to borrow from the emerging field of neuroscience and set a trigger for positive emotions.  It may be a bell, a snap of the fingers, a closing of the eyes while turning the head slowly from side to side or moving your eyes from side to side, slowly rubbing your palms with the tips of your fingers, a word that you say softly to yourself, or any other trigger that is convenient to you.  Obviously, you don’t want to appear ridiculous when around others.  Mark Robert Waldman describes the states of being with the following hierarchy: Reality, (perceptual) instinctual, habitual, (subjective) intentional, creative, (spiritual) self-reflective, transformational.  As you release your trigger, you can go up this ladder very quickly from brief prayer/meditation to awareness or mindfulness and a new reality.

Whatever your emotion, whatever you goal, whatever your illness, seek love, joy, and peace first – Dr. Alex Lloyd.  Pray and meditate that you will be filled with truth and light. The pain is unavoidable, but don’t make yourself and everyone around you miserable.  In Spirit and truth – Pandemic Survivor

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