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"EMOTION" IS A PECULIAR WORD Almost everyone uses it and thinks he knows what it means until he attempts to define it. Emotion is many things for many people. For some it is a mental experience; for others it is a way of acting; for many it is a series of events occurring within their bodies. Some regard most emotion as "bad," while others regard much emotion as "good."
Those who consider most emotion as bad would probably say we should understand and study it in order to minimize the disruptive influence it has on our lives. They might point out that during such emotions as rage or fear we act irrational and our judgment becomes impaired. This is true, we would have to agree with them, sometimes emotion may do us harm and we therefore should attempt to control it.
Those that consider most emotion as good would probably point out that unemotional people are either dull or "cold-blooded" and calculating. They would claim it enriches our lives by removing apathy and motivates us to learn and plan our lives. We would have to agree with them, as we know that anxieties for the future cause us to plan our lives. We also know, excitement, fear or rage gives us strength for acts that we ordinarily could not accomplish.
Regardless of how we think of emotion or what we think it is almost everyone considers it important to life. Recently there has been another reason for impressing the importance of emotion on us. It is the growing realization by modern medicine that many of our diseases -- whether called "mental" or physical -- are intimately related to emotion. It is now well known that any strong emotion results in a vast complex of internal changes that involve muscular, chemical, glandular and neural activity throughout the entire body. In fact it is the physiological aspects of emotion that distinguish it most clearly from other psychological processes.
It has been long common to regard the neuroses and the psychoses as associated with preceding extreme emotion. More recently science has discovered that a host of ailments termed PSYCHOSOMATIC DISORDERS (i.e., asthma, high blood pressure, and many skin ailments) are associated with emotion. Regardless of whether we consider emotion as good or bad, we cannot escape the conclusion that emotional behavior is important in everyday life.
During the eighteen hundreds man began to become aware of the importance of the brain. It was generally believed that the brain was the "seat" of the emotions. Today science has shown that emotion is more physical than mental. Emotion is considered a psycho-physiological response. In other words, what we are conscious of, as emotion is the sensation caused by a response pattern occurring in our viscera, glands and skeletal muscles.
Take the emotion fear for example. Fear presents many physiological symptoms as it varies from "apprehension" to "terror." Many of the physiological patterns of fear are well known. How often have you heard the term "cold feet," used to describe cowardice? Cold hands and paleness are also well known symptoms of fear. Slightly less obvious and less well recognized physiological characteristics of fear are dry mouth and wide eyes. That "lump-in-the-stomach" reaction to fear is an inhibition of peristalsis (muscular action of the intestines). One other well-known reaction is tenseness of the skeletal muscles. Anger causes other physiological symptoms. There is an increase in the amount of adrenaline and sugar in the blood. Sweat breaks out all over the body. The temperature of the skin may rise or fall several degrees. Again the skeletal muscles become very tense.
The emotion embarrassment involves still other physical reactions. One of the characteristic signs of embarrassment is blushing, or vasodilatation, in the head and neck regions. We might point out the fact that you use this response as your real criterion for judging the presence or absence of embarrassment.
One last example is disgust or revulsion. If this emotion is strong enough it can cause reverse peristalsis in the gastro-intestinal tract (vomiting). You have probably heard the expression, "It was so disgusting I wanted to vomit."
During and following almost any kind of increased emotional activity the tone of the skeletal muscles increase. What we call "emotional tension" is really our awareness of muscle tension. The more tense our skeletal muscles become, the more emotional we become. On the other hand, as we "discharge" or reduce our muscular tension we reduce emotion. This fact gives us a key to reducing or eliminating emotional behavior we do not want.
There are probably some of you that feel "emotion" is mental rather than a physical response.
|The instructions presented are from the personal collections and writing library of Mr. Robert E. Cutter, who died December 13, 2001, while in the process of completing the transfer of his work to the internet. These are offered as educational instruction only. The purpose of this instruction is the effective learning and use of hypnotic techniques for vocational or avocational self-improvement. This instruction is not offered as a substitute for, nor as a supplement to, any form of therapy concerned with physical, mental, nervous or emotional illness. Robert E. Cutter served as web consultant for American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association for three years. His hypnosis education came through the training he provided at a school he owned in the 1950's in Los Angeles, California, along with his wife who preceded him in death in 1980. Robert Cutter was not a psychologist and did not practice psychotherapy, but his interest in hypnosis motivated him to provide free resources materials for others who wanted to learn to use the power of their minds to improve well being and health-related issues.|
Michael A. Robinson, R.N.- BC Psychiatry
Licensed Texas State Nursing Board Registered Nurse
Texas State Nursing Board Certified in Psychiatry
In Honor and Memory of Robert E. Cutter, B.S. 1923-d.2001
From the Writings of Robert Cutter's Self Hypnosis Center
About Feelings Network
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