I find that all of us have a single emotion which is our fall back. I realize this sounds odd but hear me out.
In any given day one can run through the gamut of emotions. I find I seem to always gravitate to one emotion: NOT that the particular emotion actually fits the scenario it just seems to be the comfort zone of emotion. for many many years that emotion was anger. It wasn't always appropriate. in fact, probably most of the time, 'anger' was not the emotion that fir the scenario. It seemed to be the first response to a lot. i now know it was triggered by pain.
Living in pain 24/7 can be exhausting, and frustrating and can make you feel like a pot about to boil over at any moment.
“When someone suffers from pain for an extended period, this can affect their mood negatively,” Dr. Cosio explains. “These mood changes can negatively impact their levels of activity. People begin to engage in more unhealthy behaviors and less in healthy ones.”
Interestingly, a study Conducted by Dr Cosio's research team. in 2018 looked at the prevalence rates of different psychological domains among veterans with chronic pain, they found that women (88%) reported anger more often than men (72%.).
They say anger can be a coping mechanism in response to pain. Chronic pain is actually proven to be worsened by anger. Anger releases cortisol, adrenaline and other chemicals that make things worse all round.
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As I began to explore alternate modalities to deal with my pain, like meditation, visualization mindfulness and gratitude, I found myself less likely to become angry and had to learn to feel all the other emotions more freely, and allow them to flow and go.
Did you know the lifespan of an emotion is about 90 seconds? ( attributed to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard-trained neuroscientist who specialized in the anatomy of the brain.) Yet, we humans are so attached to the story.. we can drag the emotions out for ages, based on the stories we tell ourselves...
I have seen a huge change over the years, where my first go-to was anger, now I find gratitude is my go-to. Finding the gratitude in all the little things seems to increase those things I can be grateful for, all around me.
This is an incredibly important shift for me. Not only has it changed how and if I react, this change to mindfulness and gratitude has allowed me to significantly lower my pain medications.
I am so grateful for this new lease on life. Being able to interact without the haze of heavy medication lets so much more joy into my day. I learned that all of it was my choice.
Viktor Frankl wrote, “When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves... Everything can be taken from a human but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” in his book Man’s Search for Meaning,
Being present in all the moments you can, gives you a better appreciation for the little things. Mindfulness can show you a wealth of gifts both large and small for which to be thankful. And making the choice to improve yourself, is the greatest gift you can give to you.
This is why I all ways make an effort to make the most of today, every day! And why I sign off my correspondence the same way!
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