Are Negative Emotions Fueling Your Chronic Pain?

Portrait of a disabled patient screaming to a nurseYou might think that emotions like anger exist in a vacuum. You get in an argument, get angry, it ends, and that’s it; over and done with it.

But that might not be the case. Instead, repeated angry outbursts or remaining in a relatively constant state of anger could be contributing to, or even causing, the physical pain you are living with.


Research suggests that anger is the most prominent negative emotion found in people with chronic pain. Anger is linked with increased inflammation and various forms of pain, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Stress and migraine headaches

Anger can contribute to physical pain by firing up circuitry in your brain associated with negativity to fuel discomfort. And all it takes is a quick look at the news to see how anger is pervading people’s lives.

Between the pandemic and everything that comes with it, the political climate, and more, anger is undoubtedly in the air. But for most people, it is doing nothing and is driving people further apart.

If you want to control your pain, it may make sense to start looking at your emotional state.

Finding ways to get a handle on anger, whether in your personal life or how you react to things beyond your control, may have numerous benefits for pain relief, emotional well-being, and overall happiness.

A few of the things you can try doing to ease anger include:

Empathy: Taking a moment to truly listen and understand the thoughts and opinions of others can help. Instead of reacting or trying to argue, listen and sit with ideas that differentiate from your own.
Get Out of Your Bubble: If you’re only consuming media from one or two sources, branch out a bit to expose yourself to varying ideas.
Remember What Your Goals Are: Ask yourself why you are angry at your partner or arguing with them. Remember that the point of such arguments is to reach a solution, not extend an adversarial position.
Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness, meditation, or other calming activities can help bring you from an angry to a peaceful state. It may help improve overall mood, overall outlook, and reduce pain.

Author Bio

About eight years ago, Mat Lecompte had an epiphany. He’d been ignoring his health and suddenly realized he needed to do something about it. Since then, through hard work, determination and plenty of education, he has transformed his life. He’s changed his body composition by learning the ins and outs of nutrition, exercise, and fitness and wants to share his knowledge with you. Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.