The pain of the mind is worse than the pain of the body. Emotional distress lasts longer than physical injuries. With time, one gradually adjusts to the pain and learns to live with it. Many factors influence the pain of the mind. The prominent ones are emotions, social context and background, beliefs, attitudes, and expectations. Fear and anxiety associated with pain are more disabling than the pain itself. Both pain and depression share a common pathway in the emotional region of the brain. That’s why depression aggravates pain. Research indicates that emotional arousal may influence how much pain a person perceives because of how well other physiological systems are working.

Pain is one’s private affair. It is a subjective experience. One can’t understand other’s pain. Emotional fractures are difficult to heal. When we share our joys, the joy increases. When we share our pain with others, it lessens. The perception of pain is individual. It varies with family background and cultural attitudes, childhood experiences, and so on. At times, tolerance can also aggravate pain. A non-emotional response to an injury can be a sign of bravery in a certain cultural or social group. This behaviour can also mask the severity of an injury to an examining physician. Depression and anxiety can lower pain thresholds; anger or excitement can obscure or lessen pain temporarily. Feelings of emotional relief can also lessen a painful sensation. The context of the pain and its meaning determines how pain is perceived. Its intensity depends upon how an individual perceives it. If one believes that she is in pain, she will be in pain. Pain is like sleeplessness; the more one wants to sleep, the more one gets incapacitated to fall asleep. If you want to sleep, do the opposite; try to stay awake. The lesson: confront pain head-on. Despite the unpleasantness that the pain causes, it is essential to have pain perception. It is a curse if one does not feel physical and emotional pain. In some senses, it is like sickness. It is dangerous not to have symptoms of sickness when one is sick. One shouldn’t resist pain. Ram Dass said, “Resistance to an unpleasant situation is the root cause of suffering.”

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