Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Fear is the mind killer" --Dune

Here's an interesting/ironic bit of psychological insight.

For the past week or so, I have had a cold sore on my tongue. Even though I've had cold sores before and know that this is a cold sore, I keep thinking--maybe it's cancer. And so I'm always like scraping it on my teeth. In my irrational fear, I actually irritate it, preventing it from healing.

Fear and anxiety can snowball, turning a minor irritation into a major issue.

It's like when I had insomnia. It got to the point that it was my fear of not being able to fall asleep that was keeping me awake.

Or when I had ulcerative colitis. My anxiety about the symptoms actually made the symptoms worse.

Or when Landon had high blood pressure. He got so anxious about it that his anxiety probably made his blood pressure go up.

Why is the human mind so prone to irrational fears? It's stupid. I know, from therapy, that anxiety is usually masked emotion. It's the mind's clever way of protecting itself against unpleasant emotions--like anger and sadness. But the irony is that anxiety is also quite unpleasant.

It's like David Foster Wallace said, "99% of the head's thinking activity consists of trying to scare the everliving shit out of itself."

Moral: Chill out.

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