Whenever we have to assess or understand our symptoms of physical pain, it’s usually accompanied by general feelings of annoyance and wishing it would just go away. When we’re in pain, we’ll sift through the internet for answers in a frenzy, looking for confirmation that we’re going to be okay.
Even if the information we find doesn’t necessarily help us to arrive at alleviating the pain just yet, it usually sets us on our way to feeling better. Part of this is us signaling our brains that: “It’s fine, hold out for help.”
It’s remarkable how ceasing our panic can improve the situation. Compared to when we listen to Dr. Google, and suddenly our symptoms seem to get worse and worse as we read more information.
The Facts on the Effect
A study with the ambition of identifying the relation between mood and pain provides insight into what occurs upstairs when things like this happen. It unraveled that when the pain was induced in participants with chronic pain, acute response increased.
A similar study examined the effects of depression on pain. It compared what followed after induced happiness and depression in participants with chronic pain. Those who were inducted into a depressive state experienced an increase in pain tolerance, while those who were tested with induced happiness experienced a decline.
The parts of the brain that are activated in response to physical pain are the same that are activated from emotional pain. These are the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex.
Therefore, our bodies rely on a singular neural system to process pain. So what does this mean? Well, the truth is that it’s still believably complicated. While there are handfuls of studies tugging at this concept, there are little that explore emotional components in detail apart from areas of the brain activated or how patients reported feeling.
Pain and Mood are One in the Same
A provoking facet of this investigation that would be interesting to observe is the extensive and diverse physical response to the emotional pain that exists only after the induction of negative emotional feelings.
For now, at least, we can use this as a substantial nod that, despite a lack of tangible evidence, mind and body are connected. At least in the way that they can influence one another.
So next time you’re in pain, think happy thoughts, okay?