The art of letting go

My important message of the week is that emotions have a direct effect on your physical health. In fact, anti-depressants have been found to be more effective for back pain than anti-inflammatory medication.   This among many other findings suggests our bodies are an undivided network in which physical and emotional pain can most certainly intermingle.

But how do you let something go that really bothers you?

One patient story helps remind me how to shift my thinking to cope with a hard situation.

A woman in her late twenties came to me complaining of acute neck and back pain, but after physically examining her, I could not find a structural reason for the issue. I asked if she had experienced any stressful events (either physical or emotional) recently. She dismissively was fighting with her twin sister, and after some prompting, finally explained that her sister was going out with a man that she (my patient) had expressed a strong interest in.

My patient was so angry and frustrated that she was convinced that she would never speak to her sister again. I then asked her a couple important questions: Have there been times when you sister was there for you? Does your sister have other admirable qualities? Her answer was yes on both accounts.

At this point I could see how much this had been bothering her and I felt that there was a strong possibility that her physical pain was related to her emotional pain. I urged her to think about whether or not this man was really worth it and whether the incident was worth alienating her sister forever.   I explained that in many instances it is not necessarily whether you were right or wrong in a given situation and to remember that everyone makes mistakes. Most times people are too busy being hung up on being right than on the benefits of being forgiving.

I recommended she calmly explain her frustrations and hurt feelings to her sister and try talking about the situation without yelling to bring back the emotional connection between them, rather than the hurt.

When in an emotional situation, remember a few things:

1. A happy life is not about being right.

2. It’s never too late for forgiveness.

3. Your hurt feelings can actually harm you. Use this motivation to love and let go.

Posted on August 18, 2015

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