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How the body can control Fear Reactions

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Eric "Herbie" Watson, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    After doing an unimportant errand up-town, she went back home, still excited and unstrung, and retired to
    her room. She tried to read but could not. She wrote an apologetic letter to her sister.

    "I was apparently calm, but held tenaciously to my opinion; it was a cold letter, and I knew I was doing an utterly senseless thing to write it, that I should regret it later; but in my unbalanced state of mind, I did not listen to judgment."

    After that she went to bed, and though she fell asleep at last, the sleep brought no rest. Sunday she went to church, but got no help from so doing. All through the day her exhaustion and depression in-creased; and that night she was taken ill with headache. This condition was aggravated on Monday. On Wednesday a sore throat and cough developed "

    Think of any emotional "storm" you like in your own experience, and see if what revives most distinctly in your memory (apart from what you may have said or done as a result of the emotion) is not the queer "physical" quality of it; the rapid, violent heart-beats, perhaps, or the trembling of the knees, or the spinal "chill," the paralyzed tongue, and certain obscure, hard-to-define disturbances in the abdomen.

    In point of fact these bodily "signs" are the fundamental, the ground-bottom elements of an emotion. It is just as true " and perhaps a little truer " to say we are embarrassed because we blush, as to say we blush because are embarrassed.

    In sensitive people the rush of blood to the face may actually precede any definite awareness of their state of mind. You have seen small chickens crouch motionless in the grass when a hawk flew by overhead. Incubator chickens have not had a chance to learn anything about the nature of hawks. They cannot first realize that there is danger; then " consequent upon that knowledge " undergo the emotion of fear. All that happens is that their leg and neck muscles suddenly grow limp; and down they drop, in a perfectly instinctive "fear-reaction." It's born in them.

    They will act just the same way if you raise an umbrella near by. In the latter case there is no danger; but the fear is identical. I have seen a small child at a railway station, when the locomotive came up, stand absolutely motionless, with fixed eyes, paralyzed by terror. There was no "thinking" in that. It was the same type of emotional reflex as in the chickens; a purely bodily thing; a
    fear-reaction.
    We have already noticed a capital illustration-of the anger-reaction. Some typical elements in anger are increased heart rate, quickened respiration, dry mouth, clenched hands, tense arm muscles, spine
    drawn back into a more or less crouching posture, tight shut jaws, contracted pupils, shrill voice. And it goes much deeper than that, too.

    It has been proved that every emotional state involves changes " greater or less " in the action of the intestines, the bladder, the various glands. The whole body alters under every emotional wave. The size of
    the arteries and capillaries fluctuates under their influence. The emotional life is all tied up in these organic changes. It has no existence apart from them. Which gives us our cue to the control
    of the emotion.

    The louder you whistle, the more your courage grows. Panic is the most helpless of all states of mind; it is the paralysis of intelligence. The boy with the drum " the man who whistles " the doctor who sings the comic
    song " that is what saves the day. And it is ultimately through muscular control that the thing is accomplished.
    The woman whose record was given at the outset of this chapter had treated her first angry impulses in exactly the wrong way. She had fought against them. She had grown tense and heated in a struggle to stave them off. If, instead, she had consciously allowed her hands to hang quietly at her sides, instead of clenching
    them; if she had let the jaw muscles be easy and relaxed, instead of tight; if she had let herself drop limply into a chair, with yielding spine, and quietly remarked that she was tired and had better not try to work the problem that night " it is safe to say that the crisis would have been avoided. She would have been saved a humiliating experience bodily suffering. And she could have done it.

    Suppose you are sad and discouraged. Stand up straight; take deep breaths ; discover what tone of voice is most cheerful, and make your larynx say ''good morning" to somebody in that tone. Tell a funny story at the breakfast table, and manage your facial muscles into a smile. That is not heroic; it is the merest
    common sense.

    The muscles of your larynx are within your control, as are those of your jaws, lips, and face. You can make them say what you want. And if you carry the thing through consistently" persistently" you have dissipated the bodily symptoms of sadness; and the right mental state will surely follow. That can be relied upon.

    The wrong attitude of mind is that which
    fights against the bad thing. The right attitude is that which acts out the good thing.

    Assume the bodily positions and movements and manners and tones of voice that belong to the emotional state you desire. Set the switch right, and the train can be counted upon to take it. If you are frightened and feel like running away " stand still and whistle. If you can do that " and you can " you will have broken the series of organic reactions that has been getting under way in your
    body.

    The faster you run, the more terrified you get. The louder
    you whistle, the more your courage grows.

    LUTHER H. GULICK, M. D
    Mind and Work - 1908
     
    joseph32 and Sheree like this.
  2. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Hi Eric, reading this really helped me. I am going through a personal crisis right now, I am even having to go back on my medication right now. I have been having panic attacks again, usually centered around my health anxiety. In this state, I imagine and believe that I have all sorts of horrible illnesses. About a year and a half ago, I had parathyroid surgery, all went well. Then, recently, my husband mentioned in passing a rare, awful disease he had seen during his medical career that is related to endocrine disorders. I quickly became convinced I had it and googled it endlessly and actually developed a couple of the symptoms. I have been in full blown panic and hypochondriac mode for the last several days. My anxiety has only been centered on health issues for about the last 8 years, before that it was always something else. My husband is mystified that I am thinking so catastrophically. Now I have a full blown recurrence of my TMS sciatica. This helps because I can try to "fake it till I make it" so to speak, by trying to adopt physical mannerisms of courage and complacency. I think this is all related to when I was hospitalized at about 3 years of age, probably due to rough physical treatment by a babysitter, bordering on abuse. The doctors never found out what was wrong with me. I think that is when I began my TMS career. At other times, I have struggled with anger in the same way.

    Thanks so much for your post.
     
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  3. David B

    David B Well known member

    Herbie

    This is a great post. It reinforces that MBS been part of the human condition for a very long time. Most importantly it reminds us that there is no separation between the body and the mind. How we forget that the brain is an organ that is attached to and interacts directly with every part of our body. Our mind is reflected in the brain. Our brain is reflected in our body and our body is reflected in the brain which is then reflected back into the mind.

    I noticed the other day while I was walking with symptoms that I was not erect. I did not have good posture. I straighten up and let my body be supported by the middle of my back and immediately my symptoms reduced significantly

    My tai chi master always said that the only real synonym for posture was attitude. How right he was!
     
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  4. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I need to set aside 20 minutes to do Ta-chi. I have a great DVD, Tai-chi for Seniors.
    Easy exercises. I just have to watch it.
     
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  5. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a great post Reply David B , if you don't mind im going to break it down for our readers to see your universal wisdom- Wow
    1)- The article above reinforces that MBS been part of the human condition for a very long time.
    2)- Most importantly it reminds us that there is no separation between the body and the mind.
    3)- How we forget that the brain is an organ that is attached to and interacts directly with every part of our body.
    4)- Our mind is reflected in the brain.
    5)- Our brain is reflected in our body and our body is reflected in the brain which is then reflected back into the mind.

    A) - I noticed the other day while I was walking with symptoms that I was not erect.
    B)- I did not have good posture.
    C)- I straighten up and let my body be supported by the middle of my back and immediately my symptoms reduced significantly

    D)- My tai chi master always said that the only real synonym for posture was attitude. How right he was!

    Thank You friend for giving your wisdom on Dr. Gulicks Study

    Bless you, you totally got it
     
  6. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank You so much for your post chickenbone, its nice to see you again. You Are so right, I love the fake it till you make it analogy but see when we get our bodies into these postures that we are normally in when were courage able or just feeling fantastic then the body will change the mind just like thoughts of hope and accomplishment held for five minutes will change your body's physiology -- the same holds true when you get your body in the posture to be a success -- in about 5 minutes you will start to feel like a success. Emotion breeds emotion and thought breeds like thoughts ya know, its the same with the mindbody and the body and mind.
    Have you been doing Claire Weekes? I know you know her but im just checking up , your a friend and id love to give some words of wisdom to help you through the holidays.
    I found making any thought into the color black and white and then imagining it as a soft fluffy picture that I could blow the thought away ( if I used imaging or my imagination) if its thought pictures you can do this and it will take away the negative energy from a thought picture --
    When I work with my emotions in the manner above and at other times I use Eugene Gendlins focusing. But if you just do the above I know you will come out super.

    Bless You
     
  7. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt you'll love tai chi, it'll do so much for you. Go for it pal.
     

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