If you’ve ever lost a loved one, had your heart broken, or been on the receiving end of other people’s unkindness, you’ve experienced emotional pain. And that pain wasn’t your imagination. Studies have found that when we feel emotional pain, the same areas of our brains activate as when we feel physical pain.1 The difference is, emotional pain comes with no outward wound. But what if it did?
A world in which we could see emotional pain would look a lot different than our current world. And it might work a lot different, too. Here are five ways that could play out:
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is one of childhood’s biggest lies, though it’s easy to understand where it came from. Unlike with a physical assault, a verbal assault leaves no external bruises. If it did, perhaps people who deliver unkind words would be much more restrained in doing so. And perhaps society would be a lot less likely to excuse their behavior.
It’s not uncommon for people to tell a colleague or friend who’s been going through a hard time to “toughen up” or “just get over it.” But would they say such things if they could see how much the other person was hurting? If we could see emotional pain, it’s likely that most of us would try to find more constructive ways to help others overcome their troubles. In the same way we would provide crutches for a person who is limping instead of telling them to “suck it up,” we might cook a dinner or simply give a hug to a person who is heartbroken.
If we could see emotional pain, we would realize how common it is and may feel less ashamed or awkward about seeking help. We would also better know which pains we can overcome on our own and which require professional treatment. For example, you might put a bandage on a scratch, but for an infection, you would see a doctor. If we could see emotional pain in the same way, more people might seek out proper treatment.
Emotional pain can negatively impact our self-esteem, which can make finding success in life more difficult.2 And yet too many people ignore the ways their emotional pain damages them psychologically. If we could see emotional pain, we couldn’t hide from the scars. That, in turn, might lead us to treat emotional pain more seriously and ensure we don’t end up with low self-esteem because of it.
Over the past few decades, chronic loneliness has increased dramatically, particularly among older adults.3 If we could see the emotional distress of that loneliness, we might be more inclined to offer our company.
If we could see emotional pain, we might live in a more compassionate world. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that reality. In our world, emotional pain is internal and too many people ignore it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can help. Particularly if you choose to earn an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
In a clinical mental health master's program, you can gain the confidence, qualifications, and critical thinking skills needed to help clients cope with daily life and overcome their greatest challenges, including those related to emotional pain. It’s a beneficial MS degree for anyone who wants a career focused on helping people. And best of all, you don’t have to upend your life to earn one.
Thanks to online education, you can earn your master’s degree from home or anywhere else you have internet access. Plus, clinical mental health counseling online programs allow you to attend class at whatever time of day works best for you. These are some of the top reasons online learning is so popular with working adults.
Just because we can’t see emotional pain doesn’t mean we can’t treat it. Through a clinical mental health master’s program online, you can become the kind of professional that people suffering from emotional pain need.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.