Monday, August 24, 2015

Negative emotions lead to stress, disease, and compromise your chance of success

Lucretia by Rembrandt

Whether we are anxious, angry, or sad to the point of crying, negative emotions feel like physical pain. Examining the brain during and after negative experiences reveals their complex psychology. Placing electrodes over the scalp gives feedback of neuronal activity close to the cortical surface. 

High brain frequencies are critical in many brain functions (sensory perception, analytic problem solving, motoric action) and appear in negative emotional processing. The detail-oriented and energetically expensive activations represent overwhelming information flow, which stresses the mind and siphons away spiritual power. Over the long-term negative emotional states lead to impatience, insecurity, fear, and weakness. Errors in emotional processing can lead to social problems, such as unyielding conscientiousness in obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia, psychological, psychiatric consequences. Social problems and unhappiness show a close relationship to cognitive decline, mental issues, auto-immune diseases, and heart disease. The possible role of emotions in mental issues and disease gives urgency to a better understanding of feelings. 

A gradually shifting neuronal activation pattern guides the mental focus, which unfolds a conceptual landscape analog to a physical one. Like elevation in physical space, the brain oscillations formulate a mental, conceptual landscape. A neutral state corresponds to a flat landscape; high brain frequencies correlate to a lower elevation, whereas decreasing oscillations represent a higher elevation. Consequently, positive emotions give the sense of being on the peak of a mountain, allowing the expanding, overarching picture of an open horizon, free of distracting details. In contrast, negative emotions are analogs to being in a valley in a physical space and correspond to a narrow, restricted, and detailed focus. This way, negative emotions reflect weakness and inferiority. In studies, guilt triggers insecurity. The emotional weight causes an overestimation of body weight and a psychological burden, causing chore avoidance.

Many studies have shown the connection between negative emotions and high brain frequencies. Although they often disappear from conscious awareness, negative emotions also have an insidious, long-term presence, manipulating the mind from the background. They lead to a perceived shortage of time (appropriately called stress), which corrupts mental abilities and blinding us to opportunities. It inhibits focused work or analytic thinking and contributes to irritation. For example, anxious individuals are attracted to and spend more time with negative stimuli (such as looking at angry faces), heightening aggravation. Negative emotional states can lead to passive aggression and a tendency for judgment, criticism.

Like the derailed train that moves inevitably toward an accident, emotional cruelty and negativity generate a constricted mental world. Fear is a typical trigger for aggression, which generates failure, sickness, family problems. In some studies, the effort to suppress negative emotion temporarily reverses the negative brain state, meditation and mindfulness-based therapies provide hope for the possibility of mental change

The long-term consequences of emotions on well-being, success, or lack of those are recognized as karma—further reading: The Science of Consciousness.

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