Burned by Coffee or Burned by Heartbreak – They Feel the Same

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“Science has finally confirmed what anyone who’s ever been in love already knows: Heartbreak really does hurt.”
Burn and Heartbreak Same to Brain

“In a new study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers have found that the same brain networks that are activated when you’re burned by hot coffee also light up when you think about a lover who has spurned you.

In other words, the brain doesn’t appear to firmly distinguish between physical pain and intense emotional pain. Heartache and painful breakups are “more than just metaphors,” says Ethan Kross, Ph.D., the lead researcher and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.”

Heartbreak might even hurt more than being burned by coffee. While no one wants to be physically burned, most people are far more focused on having control over not experiencing the pain of heartbreak than the pain of a coffee burn.

The interesting thing to me is that most people have no problem treating themselves with kindness and caring if they are physically hurt, but they have a hard time bringing that same level of compassion to themselves if they are emotionally hurt. Yet a broken heart needs even more gentleness and tenderness toward yourself than a physical burn.

What Do You Do When Your Heart is Broken?

Most people have learned many addictive ways of avoiding feeling the pain of their broken heart. As Alexander, a client of mine, told me in a phone session, “I hadn’t smoked for years, but I’ve been smoking since my wife left me for another man six years ago. I can’t seem to stop.”

Alexander will not be able to stop smoking until he is willing to feel the burning pain of his broken heart, with deep kindness and compassion toward himself. And smoking is not the only addiction Alexander turns to. Alexander is constantly judging himself for the choices he made during his marriage. As bad as his guilt and shame feel, he prefers these feelings to feeling the loneliness, heartbreak, and helplessness over his wife that lie under his smoking and self-judgments.

When you feel lonely and heartbroken, do you:

  • Overeat, eat junk, smoke, drink too much, or take drugs?
  • Go on spending sprees?
  • Guilt and shame yourself with self-judgments?
  • Get angry and blame others, persisting in seeing yourself as a victim?
  • Space out in front of the TV?
  • Turn to Internet sex and pornography?
  • Get overly busy with work and other activities?
  • Turn to process addictions such as gambling or video games?

While Alexander’s addictions work for the moment, to pacify his pain, what they really do is prolong his suffering, which is why he started to work with me. Alexander had never learned how to embrace his heartbreak, with the caring and kindness he needs, to allow the feelings to move through him.

Because Alexander had avoided opening to and fully digesting his painful feelings, they were stuck in the muscles of his body, causing his back to go into spasms, which was causing a pinched nerve.

The truth is that painful feelings – even heartbreak – move through our bodies and are released far more quickly when we embrace them, than when we avoid them with our various addictions. In order for our feelings to flow through us, rather than get stuck in our muscles, causing further pain, they need to be attended to with compassion for ourselves – which means we need to embrace them with gentleness, tenderness, caring, kindness, and understanding. This is what allows our feelings to be fully felt, digested and released.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process – featured on Oprah. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding Course, and visit our website at www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at http://www.innerbonding.com. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at http://selfquest.com. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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