Have just watched PBS Nova which mentioned that pain is processed in the prefrontal cortex, the thinking part of the brain. And when this is distracted the pain is blanked out, for example, in marathon runners who injure themselves and don’t feel the pain till the end of the race or the soldier in battle. This resonated with me as I am acutely aware that I have to control my self-talk when in pain. I have to watch my narrative to myself. If I keep telling myself the pain is bad, it gets worse, but if I can concentrate on something different, it is less fierce. Easier said than done!
It is true that the emotional state you are in governs the memories you can access. If you are feeling pessimistic, negative memories are easily available, which is why during a marital argument one can only remember the times one’s partner has previously offended and not the many kindnesses of other occasions.