Controlling Your Emotions Through Expression

It was a few weeks ago when wallowing in one of my longer-lasting emotional valleys that I suddenly remembered something that had vaguely caught my interest a couple years back in Bio Psych class. It was about the James-Lange theory. (Here’s a synopsis of it: http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/james_lange_emotion.htm

Common View:

Scary Happening ——-> Fear —————> Running Away Lange Theory

Scary Happening——–>Running Away ——>Fear

I got to thinking about all this, when I was in my Doldrums Mode. And I decided to experiment. For one full day. I decided to smile. ALL DAY. Now, part of my Doldrums Mode experience was that two things that were happening dissipated:

1. I was rolling and saturating in past experiences. I could not stop rubbing my own nose in my past screw ups, dumb-asseries, and uglinessess. And, oh Lord, what simple things some of them were… very, very simple little silly things nobody would ever remember except me, and I was slamming my face into them, over and over. Looking back, it was like a sick, subconscious attempt at “flooding” (a technique used in behavior therapy; client is flooded with experiences of a particular kind until becoming either averse to them or numbed to them) , but for the purpose of changing reactions to memories this time, rather than phobia control. Well, it wasn’t working. The shocking result #1 of my neurological smile experiment was this: when I dredged up these memories with a big grin on my face, THE SHAME DISSIPATED. This is so huge you may just sort of overlook it. It’s one of those things the human mind doesn’t really grasp so well. Author Whitley Streiber said when something is TOO bizarre, the brain ignores it. Makes sense. You will probably not believe this, but on that day, my past-pain-wallowing STOPPED.

2. Shocking result number two. During this smile experience, I realized that IT WAS MORE DIFFICULT TO REMEMBER THE ACTUAL PAINFUL DETAILS OF AN EVENT.

——————————————————————

Now, I am not a neurologist. (I only play one in my more imaginative manic moods, hardy har. ) But this seems like some pretty heavy stuff, and it bears further experimentation. I also noticed that when I thought of stereotypically sad things that didn’t particularly bother me, and then put on a mock-tragic expression of sadness, that I seemed to feel sadder. Here is a simple article on the subject. I highly recommend doing your own experiments…

Here’s an article that touches upon it a bit…

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1871687,00.html

BTW…I am a courier, so grinning hugely while on the road was no problem for me.  As for those that work in an office….you’re on your own…  LOL

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2 Comments

  1. I have read about this! It’s a fascinating thought. I should give it a chance sometime…if the ADHD brain remembers it…..
    Love you! –janey

  2. While reading this, I had the most bizarre thought.

    I have a “friend” who is mired in all kinds of psychological buffoonery that she puts herself through, and despite the best attempts by those around her to help her find a way to learn to cope with her situations, fix the issues she’s having, etc. she takes baby steps, then loses entire pathways of progress because of nonsense she just can’t quit doing. Most of us have decided she has an addictive behaviour pattern going on.

    I’d love to see her try something like this. Not that I could get her to, I’ve suggested other such things and she shoots them down entirely.

    The bizarre thought I had was that I realized if/when I ever have you to visit, this friend of mine will be exposed to you quite often. Now no offense (LOL) but you have a way about you, a way of not taking no for an answer, of getting right into someone’s psyche and making them face their truths. It would/will be very interesting to see the two of you (both Cancers) butting heads. It might actually help her.

    I’ve heard of this too, both ways, positive and negative, and I believe I have seen reference to a similar Smile Experiment. I even remember something about someone doing an Anger Experiment in the same fashion (which got them injured-LOL).


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