Why Suppressing Our Emotional & Physical Pain Is Actually Contributing To It
October 17, 2016
Societal Pressure to Suppress Our Pain
In our society, being someone who faces difficulty and responsibility without complaining is an admirable quality. We are taught how to deal with pain from a young age but as we get older and our pain threshold gets higher, we are expected to deal with things less expressively. Where we once got comfort as toddlers when we fell over and hurt ourselves, we are now only comforted when more serious things happen. Even so, in both childhood and adulthood, we are told that coping with our pain is a symbol of strength and encouraged to hide it. Instead of teaching individuals how to express their emotional pain appropriately, society pressurises them to suppress it which has a subsequent, adverse effect on physical pain.
How Suppressing Pain is Beneficial & Harmful
There is a link between emotional pain and bodily reactions. When we feel extreme emotional pain, experiencing feelings of numbness or losing consciousness are expectable because our body responds with physical coping mechanisms as a way of protecting us from this pain. Likewise, if someone is a victim of a severe injury or trauma, their body will pass into a physiological state of shock. This demonstrates the body’s physical response to emotional changes as the body issues these reactions as a way of facilitating the healing process. In this sense, the body’s own natural suppression of pain is beneficial; however, self- inflicted suppression is actually harmful to our well-being.
When we deny ourselves the ability to express our emotions, we are exacerbating our emotional stress and harming our bodies. Holding back our feelings places additional stress on our bodies and can impact various systems that inhibit the body’s functioning. When continuous internal pressure is built up in the body, it must be released in order to minimise our vulnerability to physical disorders. Suppressing emotions denies the brain the freedom to combat these feelings naturally. By preventing them from release, these emotions manifest in other ways through physical ailments and other stress-induced symptoms.
Society teaches us that being someone who copes well is desirable and dealing with emotions openly is treated as an awkward thing to do. Adults and children alike are encouraged to deal with these issues internally but no matter how highly it is valued, doing this is harmful. The first step is to learn about coping with pain.
We provide educational talks and workshops that are designed to educate people about the neurophysiology of stress and pain. Through these services, we can go into more depth on how emotional stress can manifest as physical symptoms. We also offer one to one coaching services that will give you a greater understanding of your pain, helping you resolve those underlying tensions and giving you effective methods to be able to deal with these emotions in the future. We want to help you attain the mental and physical well-being that you deserve. Contact us to discuss this further.