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The great enigma of emotions and physical pain

The great enigma of emotions and physical pain

April 29, 2024

Headaches, stomach problems ... happen to be very common in doctors' offices. At this time, psychology joins medicine and build a whole that manages to explain the cause of some of these pains that affect a large part of the population without apparent physical cause.

Mental and physical health are indivisible , they coordinate and if there is an imbalance in one of the two, the other is affected.

  • Related article: "The 8 types of emotions (classification and description)"

What influence does the mind have on pain?

Many kinds of pains are diagnosed as tension myositis syndrome, and the cause is in the mind. Doctors usually encounter this situation and observe first-hand how an intense headache is related to family problems, at work ... and they consider how to treat it since there is no evidence of physical cause.


John E. Sarno has been interested in this topic and has delved into issues relevant to the mind's use of pain. Faced with a complicated situation, the human being prefers physical pain to face this emotion.

Everything starts with the brain . This generates pains that have no organic cause for people to pay attention to their body, thus diverting attention from the repressed subconscious. Dr. Sarno's theory proposes that when the repressed subconscious is recognized, the symptoms diminish. In this way, we would be "telling" our brain that we already know the cause of this pain and that it no longer has to cover it up.

How does Doctor Sarno carry out this treatment?

This kind of alterations are treated through an education and learning task, in which the patient is an active subject and aware of what is happening to him and sets in motion conscious strategies in order to heal and make the pain disappear.


First, the patient is asked what he believes is the source of that emotion. Letting it be expressed is essential for this awareness. The person will share how they feel and the therapist accompanies them in this process. However, the recognition of emotions is not as simple as it seems.

How to recognize our emotions?

These are several guidelines to reconcile with what we feel.

1. Recognize the feeling

Be able to detect the physiological impact that this emotion causes . As for example: tension in the neck

2. The response that emotion generates

As we all know, emotions they have an adaptive function . Identifying what awakens this emotion in us is basic.

  • Related article: "What is the use of crying for?"

3. Identify the primary emotion

All moods start from the basis of a primary emotion such as anger, sadness etc


4. Identify emotions combined with the primary emotion

This requires a deeper process of introspection. We can get scared into this reflection that is essential in the improvement process.

Let's reflect

We must pay more attention to our body , know each other more and express our feelings in a habitual way. Society should not be ashamed to suffer emotional pain. The stigma that exists with respect to mental health will not disappear talking about solutions, but carrying them out. Let's stop being afraid, act and promote human welfare.

Author: Andrea Martínez Pellicer.

Bibliographic references:

  • Bisquerra, J. and Pérez, N. (2007). Emotional skills Education XXI, 10, 61-82.
  • Lambie, J. A. and Marcel, A. J. (2002). Consciousness and the varieties of emotional experience: A framework framework. Psychological Review, 109, 219-259.
  • Sarno, J. (2006). Cure the body, eliminate pain: a definitive treatment for psychosomatic illnesses. Editorial Sirio: Madrid.

You aren't at the mercy of your emotions -- your brain creates them | Lisa Feldman Barrett (April 2024).


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