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Mind over Body over Mind - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Mind over Body over Mind
Earlier today, there was this thing, and I was irritated. Then several exacerbating circumstances piled onto the thing, sufficient to blow it all out of proportion in my head, and I was Angry. So there I was, walking to the grocery store and fuming. Which, really, is a waste of a pretty walk, and it was making my stomach upset, but I couldn't seem to stop being angry.

So I tried the trick where you smile at things to trick your body into thinking you're happy. First off, it was surprisingly hard to put a reasonable smile on my face. Just pushing the corners of my mouth up seemed like cheating, because I knew it wasn't to my eyes yet, and it was serious work to crinkle up the corners of my eyes in proper smile-eyes. And as I walked along, I kept thinking that surely the fence, and the bush, and those things I was smiling at wouldn't be fooled by this fake smile, would they? But I supposed they would be, because it was a pretty good fake smile. And I didn't really want the bush to think I was mad at it. Which suggested (since I was now worrying about the bush's feelings) that I wasn't as angry as I had been moments before. Which, as it turned out, was true.

I find it very convenient that this sort of trick works so well, but it's also somewhat creepy. Like when I touch a hot thing, and my hand jerks back and my mouth says "ouch", and only then does my poor brain look up from what it was doing to say "wait, did something just happen?" I don't mind that my heart beats without me having to micromanage it, but it's astonishing how much gets done in the realm I think of as "me" without me really driving it (or, in this case, driving from the passenger side).

Current Mood: much better

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Comments
dpolicar From: dpolicar Date: October 1st, 2006 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
(nod) A great many things I do are my responsibility only in that there's nobody else who seems like a better candidate... they actually just sorta happen. I'm mostly OK with this, having given up the idea that I'm in control of the process a long time ago. But it's sometimes disturbing.
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: October 1st, 2006 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remember reading that you can't hold two emotional states in your head at the same moment (the idea being it's a brain chemistry thing; you're either full of stress chemicals or happy chemicals you can't be both; I don't know how accurate it was.)

I, too, find it disturbing how easy it can be to change the state of the mind by changing the state of the brain by exerting conscious control over the body.

I've always figured that's why prayer was such a sticky meme.
merastra From: merastra Date: October 1st, 2006 07:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
>>Prayer is a sticky meme
Heh :-) I like that summary!

It may be a bit disturbing that this works, but I find it really cool actually. And useful.

Hm, now I want to read the paper describing the "can't hold two emotions in the brain at once" theory.
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