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Emotions Psychology -Emotional Stress Actions and Reactions - 1

Updated on July 21, 2010
The writer at seventy-three.  He was fifty-seven when he wrote this article
The writer at seventy-three. He was fifty-seven when he wrote this article

Actions and Reactions

Welcome to Emotions Pyschology, an article on Stress.Some time ago I came upon the following message: "There is no outside emotional stress; there is only my response to a situation, which I can learn to control."

On pondering this I have come to accept that the first part of this message is valid. There is no outside emotional stress. Certainly, mental stress is an internal thing. The emotion or feeling is sensed within the mind and body of the person perceiving the outside situation. The stimuli is provided by information arriving at the "sense doors" of eyes, ears, nose, etc.. But the stimulus is neutral. It is neither good nor bad. It simply is as it is - until the messages the stimulus arouses in our minds is in some way recognized. And this recognition is based on previously conditioned memories (readily recallable or otherwise) followed by an interpretation and, finally but most significantly, the interpretation is reacted to.

Which brings us to..."there is only my response to a situation

 "Responses to the situation" are what dominate our lives.  Without memory we would be less than vegestables.    Without responses based on memories we could not live.  We wouldn't even be spoon fed.  For even the servo-mechanisms of our digestive systems are built upon deep-seated unconscious memory.  Nature's memories, I guess we could call these; the internal, deep-down programs that govern such aspects of our lives as health, physical growth and regrowth, the cycles of our lives from birth to death etc. somehow lie within us.

Emotions Psychology - Actions and Reactions - Automatic Emotional Responses

But at higher levels of memory we have our learned automatic responses, built in by earlier conscious application, and reinforced by repitition. Using a knife and fork when we eat a roast dinner, is an example. Another is applying the pressure on the brake pedal of our car when a truck in front of us slows or pulls up. Our right leg appears to come up of its own accord.

These are automatic physical responses. So we can see that some automatic reactions are necessary for our welfare.

We have immediate conscious control over our actions

Now, when we respond to a situation we can act, or we can react. That is a very important sentence so I'll write it again. When we respond to a situation we can either act or react. We have immediate conscious control over our actions. But we only have unconscious control over our reactions. And it is our reactions which cause most of our troubles. If it reactions which cause us mental pain, anguish, and inner turmoil.

When we react we do not consciously decide and this sometimes results in mental pain

When we act we usually act after due consideration. Because of this, we oftimes make the right decision. But when we react we do so unconsciously. We do not consciously decide. We leave it to our built-in previous conditioning or programming. And because of this, many of our reactions are not appropriate. They may once have been appropriate. Or maybe they were never appropriate in the first place. But they are inappropriate now - in the present moment. And they are our stressers!

This article will continue in Part Two

As Emotions Psychology: Emotional Stress Actions and Reactions, is a rather long article, I have split it into a number of segments. Part Two will continue further with the reasons why we experience emotional stress, mental pain and the like.

Stay tuned...and stay happy.

Tom.

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