I’m no stranger to hurt. Most of my life was spent being abused by people who claimed to love me. I’m proud of myself for letting go of it all. Today, I want to talk about how to overcome emotional pain, and I’ll share nine tips to help you let go of yours, too.
It’s important to understand that emotional pain can come from various situations and trauma. From dealing with the death of a loved one to traumatic experiences (accidents, domestic violence, being cheated on, a broken heart from a relationship breakup, dealing with addictions with a family member, etc) to abuse.
Any sort of situation or event that hurts you and leaves lasting damage causes emotional pain. It may even be the smallest thing. If it hurt you and you didn’t heal from it, or it continues to hurt you, it will continue to cause you emotional distress.
And that needs to be healed, babe.
What also happens when we don’t heal is that we end up turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms like:
- Avoiding the person who hurt us or the issue
- Drug or alcohol use
- Sleeping more than we need to
- Eating too much
- Shopping therapy (which is really not great for you)
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What Are Some Common Signs of Emotional Pain/Suffering?
Unfortunately, emotional pain shows up as physical pain, but not enough people understand this correlation. Check out this great article by verywellmind.com explaining how emotional pain affects our physical health.
After reading that, so much more will make sense to you. Trust me on that. Think about the last time you had negative thoughts or negative emotions and how they made you feel physically.
Chances are you probably felt sick in your stomach, or maybe you had no appetite. Or maybe you just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry or stay away from people.
These are all fairly normal reactions to difficult emotions. You’re not alone here. We all go through this.
Here are a few other physical signs of how emotional pain can show up for you:
- Tired all the time
- Low energy throughout the day
- Easily irritated and triggered
- Headaches and other body aches constantly
- Overeating or comfort eating
Do you recognize any of these physical symptoms or pains? If so, you could be dealing with unhealed trauma.
You might also really like this video from my YouTube channel about healing from emotional pain. Don’t forget to subscribe while you’re there too!
Physical and Emotional Pain
I think it’s important to talk about the link between emotional pain and physical pain. Many don’t realize that some of the physical pain they experience is largely caused by the mental anguish they are suffering.
When we heal the trauma inside of us, the physical symptoms will eventually go away. It’s that simple. You might like this article on healing your inner child.
Emotional and physical pain can wreak havoc in your life if you don’t take care of them. You owe it to yourself to do that. Please.
How to Overcome Emotional Pain – 9 Steps to Help You
So now that we understand how important our emotional well-being (emotional health) is and how if we don’t take care of it, it manifests itself into aches and pains in our body, not to mention it really damages our mental health, let’s get to the steps on how to overcome this pain so we can start our healing process and finally be free.
The first step in healing is to recognize that we do, in fact, have a problem or problems that need to be dealt with and healed. This, honestly, is the hardest part.
However, once you’ve dug up the past and put in the work to heal it, the rest is easy, sort of.
So let’s get to it. Here are some healthy ways to overcome emotional pain.
1 Write out your emotions
I will always write about writing. In my opinion (though professionals encourage it, too), writing is very therapeutic and is the best way to get all that hurt out of you so you can heal.
Grab a journal or notepad or whatever you want to write on and sit down in a place where you will not be disturbed; put on some soft music if that’s your thing, and burn some candles/incense or not. Make your space comfortable for you.
And now, start writing.
At the top of the page, you can write the name of the person who hurt you and who you feel you are still emotionally attached to.
Now you write out all the ways this person hurt you, the horrible things they did to you, and how it made you feel. This is your space to write out your painful emotions—all of them.
Focus on you more than them. Focus on your pain and all your feelings. Get it all out!! You could write for 1 page or ten pages. It doesn’t matter. And you can do this exercise as often as you have to.
When you’re done writing, you can burn it, shred it, bury it. Whatever you want to do with it. And trust me, you’ll feel like a million bucks when it’s done.
2 Breathing exercises
I love doing this, and though it may seem hard at first, once you get the hang of it, you’ll become a pro and love it too!
Next time you feel some negative feelings taking over, stop what you’re doing; if you can, sit down and breathe softly and gently. Bring your body, mind, and soul to the present moment and just think and breathe through where you are right now.
If you can get outside into some fresh air or near water, all the better. What’s most important here is to focus on the now, not the past hurt or the traumatic events that are causing your pain right now.
Just focus on the present and your breath. This is the best way to practice mindfulness, which means to be mindful of where you are and what you think and feel without judgment. It involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.
3 Get some exercise
It’s no secret that physical exercise is a good way to boost serotonin, the happy or ‘feel good hormone.’ Serotonin plays a key role in staving off anxiety and depression.
If you’re not big into exercise, at least try and get out for a walk or go swimming or something. Just do some physical activity to boost your feel good hormone!
There’s something to be said about how the fresh air makes us feel, right? Don’t you always feel so invigorated, alive, and renewed after being out in the sun with a gentle breeze blowing on your skin and in your hair?
Of course, you do!
Do more of that. And I know at first you absolutely won’t feel like it. Especially if you are feeling really down or if you have really strong feelings of emotional pain, you certainly won’t feel like doing anything, but please do something.
I promise you, you’ll feel so much better afterwards.
4 Stay off social media
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love seeing friends and family members post fun pics of their lives but I hate when I see something that really triggers me (an ex or someone who hurt me). I’ve really scaled my feed back a lot.
But honestly, if you are having painful feelings every time you scroll FB or IG, then just stay off of social media.
Instead, find a great website and read some good blogs or stories (like mine!) or watch some fun movies.
Make sure you do NOT stalk your ex. Please don’t do that. That’s the worst thing you can do if you are suffering from emotional pain from someone who hurt you (like your ex).
5 Read self-help books
This may seem or sound cliché but hear me out.
I read so many self-help books and watched motivational and inspirational videos when I was on my healing journey. I absorbed everything I could get my hands on. And it all worked!
So before you discount these books, please at least give them some consideration. Most books can be found in audio versions if you prefer to ‘read’ that way.
Please check out my self-help books on my self-improvement site here.
Another great way and one of my favourite ways to deal with some of my overwhelming emotions when they hit me is to go volunteer. I swear to God, this wonderful act of kindness will catapult you into a new dimension of love and beautiful emotions that you probably haven’t felt in a long time.
Ok ok I know that sounds a little dramatic, but trust me. Volunteering got me through some of my life’s darkest and worst moments. When I hit rock bottom back in 2012 and had suicidal thoughts almost daily, it was volunteering at the homeless shelter that gave me hope and helped me heal.
Now, I’m not saying you have to go volunteer at a homeless shelter, but look into an organization that speaks to your heart, call them up, and ask them if they need help. Chances are they do, or they know of another place that does need help.
The most important thing is to make sure you choose a place that you know you will love and look forward to going to.
7 Find a support group
When I tell you you’re not alone, I’m not joking. There are many more women out there just like you who are suffering and need to learn how to overcome emotional pain.
You can check on Facebook for groups in your area, ask at the local library, or maybe even the grocery store. I think if you do enough research, you’ll def find a great group that’s right for you.
Support groups are a great place to meet like-minded individuals so that you can freely and openly talk about your painful experience with people who understand and get you.
You can even Google to see if there are groups in your area.
Online is another great place to find a support group. God knows there are a million groups on Facebook, and you’re on there every day anyway, so why not find a good group and hang out there instead of creeping your ex?
8 Speak to a mental health professional
It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Some of us need to talk to a mental health professional, and that’s ok too. That’s what they’re there for.
You can ask around discreetly for recommendations for a good therapist, and I bet you’ll get a long list of names. So many people are getting professional help these days.
A good therapist will show you how to overcome your pain and give you tools to help you in-between visits.
I’ve heard that talk therapy is really powerful and effective, too, so you may want to check that out too.
I recently teamed up with online-therapy.com, and they have some awesome professionals on their site. Please check them out and see if they are right for you.
9 Find a new hobby
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never made time for? Is there something you’ve been curious to try that looks super fun, but you just never did it? Now’s the perfect time!
Finding a new hobby is life-changing. Trust me on that. ( I know I say trust me a lot, but I really mean it!)
When you start doing something new or fun, it takes your mind off your negative thoughts and turns them into positive thoughts! Yay!
And a hobby doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive, so don’t use the excuse, “oh I can’t afford a hobby”. I call BS on that.
A hobby can be as simple as bird watching, butterfly chasing, or even sitting at your local river/pond/stream (whatever) and feeding ducks and swans.
Seriously. Use your imagination on this one. Any new hobby you start or pick up will only enhance your daily life and, in the long run, will just make you feel happier overall. Sometimes it’s just the little things that make such a huge difference to your life.
To summarize how to overcome emotional pain, here are nine tips to help you.
- Write out your feelings
- Breathing exercises
- Physical exercise
- Stay off social media
- Read self-help books
- Find support groups
- Go volunteer
- Speak to a mental health professional
- Find a new hobby
If you want to live a better, happier life with a lot less emotional pain from the past, please try any or all of these things. Healing isn’t always easy or pretty, but it’s rewarding and beautiful when you can finally look back on the past and not cry or feel angry.
Remember that you’re worth it. Your life is worth it. Your mental health and emotional well-being are worth it, and one day, your healing will become someone else’s survival guide.
ox iva xo