Healing Thoughts

Dear friend,

When you are physically hurting, the areas of the brain that activate (such as ACC) are the same areas that activate with the emotional pain such as of social rejection. Emotional pains have thus hijacked the brain areas that were meant to host physical pain. In one study, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) blunted the emotional pain associated with social rejection.  

Now there is a particular area of the brain called the ventral prefrontal cortex (VPFC). This area, in essence, mentors and calms the pain pathways. What activates the VPFC and calms the ACC? 

A powerful variable is social support. When you feel worthy and cared through connection with others, the brain areas that host pain become calmer, and the ones that mentor the pain areas become more active. What if you are alone and do not have anyone to connect with right away? Here is the solution: even thinking of the people who care about you (psychological presence) activates and deactivates the same areas of the brain.  

So, if you are alone right now and hurting, make a list of the people who care about you. It will make you feel a little better. 

I hope you are never in pain. But if you are hurting, keep the company of hope, and of the people who care about you, in person or at least in your thoughts.

Take care.