It’s probably safe to say by the time you become a parent you’ve experienced this phenomenon. Your emotions become so overwhelming they cause a tightness in your chest and abdomen. “Tightness” doesn’t get anywhere close to describing the feeling. It definitely brings awareness of how the person was feeling who initially coined the phrases “heartache” and “gut-wrenching.” The discomfort is, quite frankly, horrible.
No one fully understands yet why this happens but the why is only tangentially relevant. The real question is, “how do I make it stop?” The physical pain is wired directly into how you feel emotionally. The only way to stop it is to calm the emotional pain. There are a couple things you can do to relieve some types of mental anguish. Keep in mind that traumatizing events like losing a loved one may not respond immediately or they may get better only in small increments over many years.