MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “reactions”

A rollercoaster that ends in tears

Our hectic daily lives cause a lot of stress. Or perhaps we allow our circumstances to stress us out. Almost constantly. And over anything/everything.

Stress is not an easy emotion to control.

Neither is anger, which most often comes as a consequence of the aforementioned anguish.

When we feel angry, frustrated, irritated, unjustly treated, hurt, or simply exhausted with everything and everyone, our body produces a flood of hormones that stimulate strong reactions – from a racing heart to sweaty palms, dry mouth, and short-term memory loss. Tempers flare, voice decibels increase, and soon it all elevates out of control.

And then, when it becomes too much, we often feel the need to cry.

Tears from anger are a powerful emotional response to high stress levels – a mixture of feeling mad and sad simultaneously.

“Tearful crying is a uniquely human activity, and scientists believe it may serve an evolutionary function: a distress signal used to summon help and provoke helping behaviours in others. Crying releases oxytocin and prolactin, two chemicals that can bring your heart rate down and otherwise calm you after a stressful event”.

That explains why after a heated discourse, and a meltdown of tears, you feel the urge for silence, isolation, and mostly, comfort.

It’s a rollercoaster of emotions that ends in tears. Ones that are therapeutic enough to restore the balance we need to feel sane, mentally healthy, and strong enough to go on with life itself.

Reaction to life

Stress is your body’s way of activating your flight-or-fight response to a perceived state of danger. It causes your senses to go on alert, often resulting in convulsive – irrational – reactions, heightened adrenaline, faster heartbeats, and increased breathing rates, as well as altering your food digestion and consequently your glucose levels. Stress has multiple effects on our body, many of which we are hardly aware of.

It’s easy to advise a person not to stress. What is not easy, is to actually follow that advice.

You may have heard/read it before from so many sources nowadays: stress is a fear reaction to life and life’s constant changes. To manage it, we need to equate stress with fear and then begin to eliminate fear from our lives. We need to wonder why are we in fact so afraid? Why do we so passively give our power away? William James had said that “the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over the other”. Because in essence, what causes our bpm to rise is in fact our own thoughts. If we replace the constricting and fearing thoughts we allow to invade our heads with positive and empowering affirmations – keeping it cool and focused – will actually allow us to reach what Louise Hay describes as “the totality of possibilities”. If you let your mind go beyond what you think is possible, you open yourself up to a myriad of options and potential.

What is interesting is the fact that many of us create the ideas we have about life by the time we are 5 years old. And from then on we live in the limitations created by our 5-year old consciousness, often stopping us from experiencing all that we could or desire. It is our own excuses, beliefs and limitations that obstruct our way. We have the option of either accepting them or overcoming them and moving beyond what we think is possible. Because it’s all in our head.

Anger is a significant form of stress.

One of the best advice on learning to alleviate it is what is termed as the “5-minute rule”. You should not spend more than 5 minutes stressing over something or being angry. Give yourself five timed minutes to vent, to moan, to scream, to let it all out. But afterwards, take a deep breath, and acknowledge that you cannot change what has already happened, so there is no value in wishing it were different.

Put simply: deal with it, and move on. Otherwise your just wasting your energy and time.

It’s not so easy to do. But it’s definitely worth a try. And if you keep at it, you’ll eventually get there.

Forces of Gender

It is a proven fact that men and women react to stressful situations differently. It’s not all about gender, though, it also has to do with a person’s character. But judging from the men in my family and workplace, they have a more reserved way of dealing with things that women usually lose control over.

Females have an innate tendency of shrieking their lungs out when their irritation hits alarming levels. It’s as if we’re giving up on trying to make sense of anything anymore and have surrendered to exasperation, releasing all the tension that has built up like a volcano gathering lava. We’re also severely more impatient, needing solutions here and now, and certainly more sentimental, allowing emotions to take over rational thinking at times.

It’s not easy remaining calm in adverse situations. And the more you tell someone in such cases to “relax” and “calm down”, the worse it gets. We know that’s what we need to do; but that doesn’t mean we can.

In movies – slapstick comedies in particular – we see the recurrence of actions that irritate a character for the sake of witnessing their reaction and laughing at it. But consider the person experiencing the incident. It may be funny to an outsider – or even to the same person after a while – but at that precise moment it’s literally salt on an open wound.

We need to lash out every so often to get rid of the tension we aggravate inside about everything – our lifestyle, our environment, the policies that govern our lives, the things we can’t control yet so deeply affect us. But we need to find healthier ways to release that stress. And we need people around us who understand, who actually help keep us sane, and who can maintain freak-out levels to a controllable intensity.

The worst place you can be

We all hide a whirlwind of emotions inside, just waiting to be expressed. Often women more than men go through a series of alternating sentiments even during one single day. Perhaps we pay too much attention to the little things, overthink excessively and try to find connotations in every action.

The problem though lies with tolerating too much. With burying emotions inside in the hope of forgetting about them, of extinguishing their force and of somehow making things better. We all nurture that illusion that things will change without action from our part. As if magically the world will improve in the way we want it to.

There comes a time, however, when our feelings take over our reactions. Either because we are tired, hungry or simply exasperated by everything, there comes an emotional explosion that is sometimes out of character. We can’t always control what we feel. Like Elizabeth Gilbert said, “your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions”.

It is during those explosions that we need people close, no matter how far we push them away. We need to feel loved even in our toughest of times, when we are being difficult, obstinate and insecure. It is at our worst that we need the affection. To believe that it is just a phase and will pass, that we will come out stronger, and that, in the end, everything will be better than fine.

Sometimes the worst place you can be is in your own head”.

Hidden thoughts

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We all have hidden interpretations of things others don’t see. And it is usually the ones that cause a conflict. Because people find it hard to see with others’ eyes. We can’t put ourselves in others’ shoes, nor interpret things their way.

There are symbolic meanings to everyday behaviours. Meanings that are affected by our own perceptions of the world, by our prejudices, by our mentality, by the way we were raised, by the things we read, by our own experiences and thoughts.

It is these very perceptions that give rise to our hidden thoughts. They may be misinterpretations of certain incidents. But they become so rooted in our minds that to us they are established as the reality we see.

We refuse to see a different perspective, an alternative view, because it seems illogical, irrational, in total conflict to our own. And in essence, we are too stubborn, head-strong and selfish to do something that requires empathy on our part. It requires setting aside our own beliefs to comprehend what makes others react or act in certain ways.

Such absolute perceptions and hidden thoughts make our relationships dysfunctional. They cause us to become defensive even hostile. But worse of all, they lead to disappointment when we realise that our expectations are not met.

The mind is like a parachute: it only works when it is open.

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