Pain and Suffering


Sometimes pain is acute yet temporary. Or the suffering may continue due to a physician’s inability to find it’s source. Perhaps too much tissue has been damaged and further treatments won’t work. Then there is the frustration caused by a chronic condition that although unlikely to be fatal, will chip away at one’s being day after day. Medicines might ease the suffering and prolong lives if the proper diagnosis is made in a timely manner.

If we pay attention, we will observe many walking wounded who suffer chronically. The afflicted may have physical maladies that are easily identifiable, or the aggravating factors could be hidden deep in the internal organs. It is difficult to distinguish those with hidden injuries because they lack distinct sensory clues. This often raises our suspicions that their pain is less real or less intense.

What about emotional pain? Science has gathered evidence to support the impact of mental distress on the physical body. Chemical changes can also cause irreversible tissue damage. We have not yet learned how to adequately identify and treat emotional pain before it leads to physical problems; however, we are learning how to prevent this type of pain using methods that build resilience.

To increase protective factors we must start early, preferably before conception. Healthy and happy parents are more likely to produce healthy and happy babies. Wellness and child development keep children within acceptable ranges. Mindful parenting and nurturing caregiving can help kids achieve the skills and confidence they will need to thrive during adolescence and throughout adulthood.

If your childhood didn’t meet those standards and you have not been coping very well, it’s not too late to increase your resiliency. Mindfulness is the key to learning what is causing your emotional pain so you can apply proper treatments. Those might involve daily adjustments in diet, sleep, or exercise. Or they could involve the use of art or elements of nature. Most therapists are now using these techniques with clients because they are holistic, simple, and most importantly, they yield long-term results.

Check out these links for more information on resilience and mindfulness:

ACES 101

Mindful – Taking Time For What Matters

Impact of Toxic Stress on Individuals and Communities: A Review of the Literature (PDF Report)

Building Resilience at Harvard


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