What do we mean by “painful emotions”?
We can distinguish three components that are basic to man; these are behavior, knowledge, and emotions. The three factors are important to human functioning and are related; that is, change or alteration in one can lead to change or influence in another. Thus, it is important to have a balance between the three components so that a person can lead a functional life.
Well, painful emotions would be those that upset this balance, that cancel or reduce the ability to think and reason, thus changing their behavior and creating discomfort. Emotions are necessary, even those that cause negative feelings. They can be useful for knowing our conditions, but when they become very intense, they can be destructive for ourselves and others.
Therefore, we will need to be aware of this and be able to act to try to control them and not harm them.
What are “painful emotions”?
There are different types of painful emotions, a characteristic feature of which is the negative valence and discomfort they cause to those who express them and to those around them. Examples of these emotions are: jealousy, envy, frustration, anger, guilt, or disappointment.
We observe how they are secondary emotions, that is, they arise later in the subject due to the influence and coexistence in society; therefore, we can consider them learned. Similarly, they are not necessary for survival, nor are they functional or adaptive to the individual who displays them.
What causes painful emotions in us?
As already mentioned, this type of uncontrolled emotion, which affects our ability to think clearly, generates negative consequences for us. So let’s see what the symptoms are, which are mainly related to painful emotions.
1. They appear without our being able to avoid them.
As with other types of emotions, painful emotions occur without our being able to decide. That is, in a given situation, we can feel envy without really wanting to feel it. Although this lack of decision in appearance does not mean that we cannot try to control them, it is not an excuse to act incorrectly.
It is important to be aware of their appearance of these emotions and to treat them before they harm us or harm others.
2. They induce negative states.
When we are unable to repair painful emotions, they grow disproportionately and persist over time, creating a bad condition in us that will last unless we act.
This ailment produces both bodily and psychological distress. When we experience unpleasant emotions, as we have previously seen, they have a detrimental impact on our behavior and way of thinking, influencing our life.
Similarly, painful emotions raise levels of stress hormones or neurotransmitters like cortisol. Low and regulated amounts of these hormones are necessary for coping with stressful conditions. However, when high levels are sustained for an extended length of time, stress symptoms that damage our health and physical well-being emerge.
3. They cause difficulty in thinking.
It is difficult to think rationally when we lose control of our emotions. It is tough for us to think, and we might act without first considering the best approach to take. Here we observe the malfunction of painful emotions, as they not only impact our condition, causing negative and stimulating sentiments, but also prevent our cognitive portion from functioning regularly.
4. They generate impulsive reactions.
The subject’s actions are most likely impulsive. Because it is difficult to think clearly, it is possible for a person to act without contemplating the repercussions of their actions.
As a result, spontaneous responses such as insults, strikes, or yells arise more frequently, which we perform without thinking, and later, when we manage to calm down and restore control of our situation, we regret our behavior.
5. Create an addictive effect.
Adrenaline is another hormone that is generated during painful emotions and situations of extreme emotions and stimulation.
Adrenaline is a hormone that rises in response to strong emotional stimulation, activating the body’s systems and causing increased blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar.
This chemical has been shown to induce an addictive emotion in us, and we want to feel that sense of activation, of strength with everything, of uncontrollability again. As a result, the individual may re-experience the feelings induced by adrenaline as well as promote or attempt to manufacture occurrences that trigger painful emotions, i.e., conflict situations.
As predicted, the demand for this sort of circumstance has an effect on both the subject’s interaction with the social environment and the vision he has for it. It also has an effect on the subject’s personal condition, as this rise in activation is bad for everyone. Physical health raises the risk of heart disease, whereas psychological health raises anxiety and alters your mood.
Differences between painful emotions and functional emotions
As we’ve seen, emotions are typically required and useful; that is, the subject needs them to operate correctly, whether they are good, like pleasure, or negative, like melancholy. The issue emerges when they get more intense and we lose control, altering our conduct and capacity to think.
We see how painful emotions affect various aspects of our lives; they prevent us from acting normally, affecting our relationships with the environment and the state itself, such as our self-concept, self-esteem, and resilience, which is the capacity to overcome challenging situations that threaten our well-being, even if we live in a less-than-ideal environment, which does not help.
How to manage painful emotions?
As previously said, painful emotions arise inadvertently, yet our responsibility is to manage and diminish them. As a result, it will be critical to concentrate on emotional control and regulation so that we can regulate our emotions rather than the other way around.
It is critical to remember that the goal of therapy should not be to avoid these sorts of emotions, but rather to become aware of them and thus act on them.
1. Be aware of emotions
It is critical to be mindful of how we feel. To attain this purpose, we might set aside a few minutes each day to reflect on or recognize our situation. Recognizing something, how we feel, and the emotions we are feeling is the first step toward being able to face and move through it.
Doing nothing, denying or ignoring it, simply encourages him to return and might aggravate the problem.
2. Assess the situation’s cause.
Although we do not consider these emotions to be functional because they alter the subject’s condition, they can serve as indicators, that is, they indicate that something is not going properly. As a result, we cannot attempt to lessen the feeling without using further words.
We must analyze what may be causing this painful emotion. Why are we feeling this way? What can we do to gain greater knowledge of how to act?
3. Express how you feel
Expressing or externalizing how we feel allows us to truly comprehend how we are, since when we communicate with another person or write to ourselves, we organize our ideas and become more conscious of what is going on with us. This allows us to become aware of things we were previously unaware of, as well as get an understanding of another person’s point of view.
4. Look for alternatives
Sometimes we get rigid and find it difficult to adjust our perception of an event or person. We must endeavor to improve our flexibility. To achieve this purpose, it is necessary to consider all of the possible outcomes of an event. That is, we must explore various explanations or answers.
In this way, we try to modify our vision or at least evaluate other alternatives that will help us reduce the intensity or appearance of painful emotions.