Physical pain can result in feeling sad, angry, stressed and tired. New research from the Association for Psychological Science explores the psychological mechanisms associated with relief that occurs after the removal of pain, also known as pain offset relief.

“This new research shows that healthy individuals and individuals with a history of self-harm display similar levels of relief when pain is removed, which suggests that pain offset relief may be a natural mechanism that helps us to regulate our emotions,” noted a press release from the association.

Participants in the study showed increased positive emotions and decreased negative emotions after pain offset.

“These findings shed light on the emotional nature of pain offset relief, and could provide insight into why some people seek relief through self-injurious behavior,” the press release noted.

“Feeling Worse to Feel Better: Pain-Offset Relief Simultaneously Stimulates Positive Affect and Reduces Negative Affect” was published in Psychological Science.

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