Dealing with emotional pain

Hey guys

Today I am going to talk about emotional pain and our strategies for dealing with it.

Yesterday I went to see a brilliant hypnotherapist called Andrew T Austin, to work on some of my own issues. Andrew’s background involves working in trauma departments in hospitals and also with psychiatric patients. He has specialised in helping people with depression and dealing with emotional pain. What surprised me was that he told me that life is suffering, and it is how we deal with this that really matters.

Life is not meant to be a utopian existence where everything is fantastic and pain free. This is where I believe many people get caught out as this is what we are sold on a daily basis by drug companies, the media, the self help industry and anyone else who can profit out of such a proposed existence. Having a pain free life is impossible, the result of not achieving this is often depression and not fulfilling our goals and potential.   

Like Andrew, I work as a therapist, and we both see clients who are suffering with emotional pain. I have noticed that as humans we are very poor and ill-equipped at dealing with emotional pain and we have a very low tolerance level to it. Our fears have a strong hold over us and our behaviour. When faced with emotional discomfort we have our favourite coping strategies that we rely on. Such distraction techniques help us to dim the pictures in our mind and quieten the voices in our head. Distraction may work in the short term but it is often our strategies that exacerbate our problems. The most common coping strategies we tend to adopt are drinking, smoking, texting, drug use (both prescription and illegal), excessive TV, hiding ourselves away from the world, internet, porn, shopping, gambling, video games and comfort eating. I am sure there is a whole load more that people use too but these seem to be the most common when I deal with clients.

Today, fate dealt me a bitter piece of news. I have just found out that I have irreversible hearing loss in my left ear, making me partially deaf. This has been a problem I have been working on for several years and up until now my doctors have always been very optimistic that it is something they could treat. Despite previous efforts and treatments, my new doctor told me that the nerve in my ear was damaged and it is more serious than previously diagnosed. I asked if anything could be done, he said that the only thing they can offer is a hearing aid, if the condition worsens. Apart from that, nothing can be done.

After hearing the news from my doctor I felt extremely down and sorry for myself. I went through the cliché “why me” questions and suddenly felt very depressed and alone. At times like this I like to put on the TV or go online and try to busy myself rather than face the painful emotional issue. This time however, I decided to embrace the emotional pain, rather than running from it. For a while it felt horrible and I got very strong urges to do other things to distract myself. After a little while I got used to the pain and instead of thinking about how to make myself feel better in the short term, I focused on what I can do to solve the problem. My issue can not be treated, this I have now accepted. In the future it may worsen and if that is the case I can turn up the tv, I can ask people to speak louder and if I have to I can get a hearing aid. Apart from that, I can not do anything so I realised there is no point feeling bad about it and instead to focus on my other goals. It was a rather strange yet liberating experience.

What Andrew taught me was to embrace the emotional pain, that way you can build up a tolerance to it. Building up a tolerance makes it easier to deal with when it comes up again in the future, instead of running your same old distraction methods (drink, tv, drugs etc) and allows you to be creative and adaptive and make much better choices that carry long term benefits.

A good example of embracing emotional pain is approaching girls. I specialise in working with guys with approach anxiety and helping them to overcome it. Recently I worked with a client who had severe approach anxiety and he was not even able to go and ask a girl the time, let alone get her phone number. After doing a brief hypnotherapy session we uncovered the source of the anxiety and he started to embrace the emotional pain instead of running away from it. As usual it was linked to issues at school and these experiences had infiltrated their way in to most areas of his life. Once he was able to embrace the pain it allowed him to work with it rather than run from it. Shortly after I got him to approach a girl to get the time. He was able to do it although he was extremely nervous and could barely get a word out. He was however, able to do it. The next girl he went to speak to he was much better, this time he asked her the time and talked a little bit about why she was in London.  The more he exposed himself to the emotional pain in a controlled way, the more he could deal with it. The more he can recognise and deal with the pain, the more options it gives him in a situation. After the 4th or 5th girl he was able to approach, ask for the time, have a short conversation and even do a bit of kino. By the 10th girl he was starting to even enjoy the process and managed to get the girls number. By the end of the session he had a considerable shift in his confidence levels. He had faced his fears and by embracing them instead of running away, he had started to overcome them.

I think that as humans we are bad at dealing with emotional pain because we simply do not understand it. Physical pain is easy to understand, you bang your toe and it hurts. Although you might be in physical pain you understand why it was caused and therefore what you need to do to make it stop. Emotional pain is different, we are not sure why it is caused, how long it will last or how to deal with it. This makes emotional pain much more complex and difficult to work with and treat than a physical injury.

Before I said that it is often our coping strategies that exacerbate our problems. I worked with a guy recently who spends 6-7 hours a day playing video games. He wants to get a girlfriend and build a social life, but he said he is too depressed to do so. The client told me that he is depressed so he plays video games, I see it the other way round. He plays videos games and this makes him depressed. Whenever he feels lonely or down, instead of embracing the emotional pain and working with it, he distracts himself with video games. If he instead embraced the pain, worked with it and changed his strategy to going out and meeting people, he would move closer to his goals. We do not realise the damage our strategies are doing until it is often too late. The only thing we have is time, so the sooner we start to embrace emotional pain and change our strategies, the better our results and quality of life will be.

Try out this exercise, for the next few days just observe your own emotional reactions and coping mechanisms. White down how you are feeling and what you are doing as a result. Also write down your most important goals that you want to focus on. After a few days read your notes and see what strategies you use the most and if they are conducive to your goals.

Once you have started to identify your coping strategies, ask yourself “what part of this is actually helping me?” and “by doing this, what feeling is it allowing me to avoid”. If your strategy is not helping you need to consider changing it. As humans we have an overwhelming design to be right, by choosing methods and sticking to them rather than admitting we are wrong, even if our chosen methods are destructive to our goals.

By understanding what feelings it is you are trying to avoid you can start to expose yourself to them in a controlled way. By doing so you will start to build up a tolerance level, you will start to gain control over emotions, rather than them controlling you.

Our current coping methods are typically referred to as our “comfort zone”. It is called a comfort zone because everything is nice, comfy and safe. While that may be a pleasant environment to existence in, it is extremely limiting and keeps us from progressing in life. When we do not progress and achieve our goals it can cause stress, depression and even more reliance on our strategies i.e. drinking. It is simply a cycle and it can be broken, but only through embracing painful emotions and taking action.

I have found that people want to confident about something before they do the action. People also seem to forget that there are skill sets you need to learn to be able to carry out certain actions. A recent client asked me to make him a good public speak but he has terrible stage fright. I informed him that I can help him face the emotional issues and reduced the anxiety, but public speaking is a skill set that he will need to go and learn.

One golden rule I have learned in life is “competence equals confidence”. You can not feel confident about something until you have done it. Once you do an action over and over and deal with the painful emotional issues, you develop confidence.

So to use this information I suggest doing the following steps;

1. Write down and identify your current strategies
2. Write down the emotions and experiences you are avoiding
3. Write down your most important goals
4. Ask yourself what part of your current strategies are helping you to achieve your goals
5. Change your strategy and slowly embrace the painful emotions
6. Increase the exposure level to gain control over the emotional issue and expand your comfort zone

I hope you found this post useful. Remember, embracing painful emotions is like lifting weights to training your muscles. The more you train, the stronger you become.


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  7. Wow i got to save this..This is already giving me a head start on how to deal with my life long bullshit..For one week it will be a hell,''God i hope i can be nice and my mouth shut..The worst,''This is the best article,'at the moment

  8. Time Line Therapy is OK for some things, but I don't agree with a lot of the technique in itself. One of the questions you are meant to ask the client is if the issue is in this life time or a previous one. As soon as you start going into past life regression I really tune out.

    Tapping, ETF, TFT or whatever you want to call it, personally I think it is pointless. Firstly you are tapping on special magical point on the body (meridian lines, please) while chanting "I love myself" or something equally as hippy crap.

    There might be a bit of logic on how this works, accessing the negative state whilst doing another action may stimulate some activity in the outer layer of the brain creating a resource within the problem. This has nothing to do where you are tapping on the body and the same results could be achieved by bouncing a ball for example.

    Matt Kendall (Hypnomatt)

  9. The best technique for releasing emotions is
    in my opinion TAT(tapas accupressure technique)
    never heard about timeline therapy tough
    EFT is also good and insanely quick

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  11. Most suicidal thoughts are a spur of the moment,unfortunately some people dont wait it out or release their negative emotions and end up losing their lives.whereas the people that i know who have released the emotions in some way and waited it out.Know that they made the right decision cuz one year or even a few days from now, you will love life and cling to it.
    Trust me,ups and downs are a part of life

  12. Again, all true. But only applicable towards those who crave hatred and carnage, or are oblivious to it.

    Coping Mechanisms are usually delusions themselves. Convincing yourself that it is good to be a functional member of a dysfunctional society, is the most popular.

    Honesty such as that written here, only solidifies that fact that people like me have no choice for peace, save one. So-called Conventional Wisdom is nothing more than Genocide by proxy of Money. Those who refuse to join in the orgy, will be punished.

    "Be the change you want to see in the world." – Ghandi

    Unfortunately, this world doesn't want any of that, and will stop at nothing to exterminate anyone who tries.

  13. I think that a lot of people, not just women do that. I've met a couple men over the years who have had to soften the blows and points of life in order to get through it. I don't begrudge them that as a legitimate coping strategy, as long as you don't make that your ONLY coping skill.

  14. hypnomatt says:

    Time line therapy is just one technique and the way it is taught it actually quite limited. I use a variation of it that is emotional reprinting, personally I think it is stronger than Time Line Therapy.


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    You should only see a Certified Master Practioner of Time Line TherapyTM if you want to get rid off emotional pain quickly and easily. Hope this info has been useful to someone.

  16. i find it hard to believe Time Line Therapy works. its basically hypnosis reframed into a 'time line' context just like spiritual shamans are culturally reframed hypnotherapists w00t.

  17. Time line therapy is actually quite good. I use a version of this in my sessions. However I find it works better when you use it with IEMT, Emotion Replacement Therapy and 3D Mind.

  18. Steve Scott says:

    99.99% of the population don't even know that the easiest, most effective way to permanently release emotional pain, negative emotions and limiting beliefs is with an astoundingly powerful and effective process called Time Line TherapyTM. Beware though! There are many rip-off versions of this – you should only see a Certified Master Practioner of Time Line TherapyTM if you want to get rid off emotional pain quickly and easily. Hope this info has been useful to someone.

  19. I go in the bathroom and blast the music while taking a bath, after the bath take a long shower. Staying up with your hygiene is something very important because depression will cause you to lose focus on that. I would then have a good friend that you could use as a sounding board. You will be fine it will pass. It might come back but it will pass guaranteed. That's the ups and downs of life.

  20. If you have any sickness that doesn't respond to simple medications can be annoying but I will second you on that emotional pain can be harder because some times you don't know what is causing all the stress and some times don't have an idea where to start to deal with your emotions and will need some one around you to help you out with it.

  21. Distractions/coping mechanisms can lead to wasting time and preoccupation with she that’s not important. Good to hear this from a psychological POL.

  22. The Human traits which they have acquired from the society frame the basic structure of the emotion fact.

  23. hypnomatt says:

    Hey guys

    I should have logged in to reply actually.

    I am glad that you liked the article and I am going to be writing a lot more along these lines in the future.

    I am also looking for topics you want me to write about. If you have any ideas then drop me an email at and I will see what I can do.

    Also I get quite a lot of emails from people who read these blogs. This is totally cool, however please try to make the emails short and get to the point of what you need help with or the question you have. I get on average 40+ emails a day so the more direct you can be the easier it is for me to answer.


  24. Best article yet

  25. This is pure gold. A scientific approach to your inner game is really helpful. I think a lot of the guys in the community who have a strong fear of approaching should look into licensed therapy (no disrespect meant) but behavior change is what therapists specialize in.

  26. @Hypnomatt
    I really liked this article. I think that too often in pick up guys will look for a technique when it is a mindset change, or facing a difficult mental barrier that will help them most.

    Facing the reality of our lives is extremely important.

    I really enjoyed this article Hypnomatt, if that is your real name : )

    On a side note…do you know of any recommendations for NLP tapes besides Dr. Paul Mckenna…

    Also, do you have an email, id like to contact you directly about something…

  27. Holy shit, this negative feedback is really uncalled for.

    I think it was a good article. Distractions/coping mechanisms can lead to wasting time and preoccupation with shet that's not important. Good to hear this from a psychological POV.

  28. shouldve cost a bit of money for that!

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