I know I have too many things going on when I get a pain below my right shoulder blade. I have the pain now. It started a little over a week ago. I cannot pinpoint it. It seems to move around. Sometimes it’s in my neck and then it travels to my arm. It’s a funny pain. It doesn’t limit my mobility or flexibility. I can still do my daily practice. Pain killers don’t take it away. It seems to be worst when I am still. I can best describe it as a burning sensation deep within the muscle.
If it were an injury, it would always hurt, right? And, I wouldn’t be able to move freely. This pain is not an injury.
I have had this pain before in the past. I have come to recognize that this is how my body tells me I’m stressed.
I have a long list of stressors going on right now. Two upcoming trips, my dad’s health, leaving my kids alone for the weekend, and who knows, maybe other less relevant situations that I want to think do not really affect me. But they really do. We all deal with stress in different ways. And what may be stressful for me isn’t necessarily stressful for you.
We all must learn to recognize when we are suffering from emotional pain or stress. It usually shows up as unexplained pain in the physical body or some sort of digestive issue. If not taken care of it can become chronic. Typically emotional pain or stress show up as headaches, tension or pain in the neck and shoulders, pain anywhere in the back, in the hips, even in the knees and feet.
I saw a video that explains the link between Emotions and Chronic Pain. It is a long video but I found it interesting.
For example, they mention that only humans and zoo animals experience emotional pain. Other creatures instinctively know how to manage stress or threats. It’s our rational brain that doesn’t allow the parasympathetic nervous system do its job, which is to release tension from the body. When you encounter a threat, there are three possible outcomes: fight, flight or freeze. When you fight or flight, you produce certain hormones that activate the sympathetic nervous system and allows your instincts to take over. When you freeze, it means you take no action and that causes the pain because you aren’t solving the problem or threat. The effect the threat has on your body wasn’t released instead it is stored.
So now that I have this emotional pain, how to I get rid of it?
In the past, I have been able to recognize which situation is causing my pain and take action, either by solving it or realizing that I have no control over it, which is much easier said than done.
Here are four of the recommended solutions I have been working on:
Stay Active. I do Ashtanga yoga every day, plus I have been doing other stretches to release tension in my neck and shoulders. In Ashtanga, back bends are known for activating the nervous system and releasing emotional pain. I do my backbends every day.
Meditation. I cannot really say I meditate, but I do sit quietly for a few minutes either before or after my practice and just focus on my breath.
Chanting. Other than the opening and closing prayer I don’t chant. But I have been practicing Ho’oponopono during my silent time.
Body work. I got a deep-tissue massage today. The pain feels much better, but it’s not completely gone. Maybe I need another one ;)
Do you know how to recognize stress or emotional pain? What do you do release emotional pain?