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Is it true that emotional pains are sometimes self-created?

Lisa Oz
Health Education

Yes, in addition to the real wounds we experience, we often choose to suffer for absolutely no reason at all. Much of our emotional pain is imaginary or self-created. This does not mean that it does not hurt. It just does not exist outside our heads. We come up with all sorts of scenarios and situations that have very little basis in reality, but make us anxious or angry and cause us to waste hours in a realm of self-imposed anguish.

For example, while on your way to work you get caught in heavy traffic. Instantly, you start thinking about how your boss is going to react when you walk in late. You suppose that she will be mad, so you piece together your excuse. As you go through the fantasy dialogue, you get more and more frustrated. She says you should have left earlier. You say your car would not start. She says this is the third time you have been late this month, and so on and so forth, until you wrap up the conversation with "I quit."

By the time you actually get to work, you are so wound up you barely notice that your boss is not there yet. When she does arrive, flustered from being caught in the same traffic, you are no longer considering leaving the job, but are resentful and surly for the rest of the day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.