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Mystic Mantra - Of being cautious: The good side of bad feelings

The writer is a wellness physician, independent researcher and author.
Published : Dec 7, 2019, 1:44 am IST
Updated : Dec 7, 2019, 1:44 am IST

The most obvious answer that emerges in today’s context is — relentless stress and anxiety may affect your genetic expression.

The most obvious answer that emerges in today’s context is — relentless stress and anxiety may affect your genetic expression.
 The most obvious answer that emerges in today’s context is — relentless stress and anxiety may affect your genetic expression.

The big question is: why do certain emotional and other factors make us anxious? Or, why they trigger psychological anguish — or, disrupt our immune system — leading to illness? Or, why some people spend most part of their lives fending anxiety, depression, or other stressful states, day-in and day-out?

The most obvious answer that emerges in today’s context is — relentless stress and anxiety may affect your genetic expression. This may, in turn, impact your risk of developing illness, or disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, aside from cancer. There’s also a paradox — not all disagreeable feelings, such as anxiety and melancholy, are wholly awful. The fact is they all have substantial biological functions — to protect us, for example, from harm. Picture this — a person who does not have the ability to feel pain may hurt oneself with disastrous consequences. Put simply, physical pain compels us to come out of harm’s way; it helps us to survive. As the philosopher Epicurus observed, “The occurrence of certain bodily pains assists us in guarding against others like them.”

All of us are affected by feelings of despondency, from time to time. Moody blues, likewise, are universal responses to disappointments in life and career. Ironically, such outcomes have perceptible functional benefits. When you feel dejected, you are less likely to persist with what you are doing — without any real success. This opens up a new window — it motivates you to “shift” gears. In other words, it’d turn out to be your best big step to success.

Negative emotions, such as fear, as psychologists suggest, are not just biological faults. They are defensive mechanisms. They are palpably distinctive, because they assist us to repulse problematic situations, or difficulties, and improve our emotional and mental capacity to do so. When they have the reverse effect, the end result is apparent. Here’s why. You may have seen, or known, people who are far too less anxious, or never disturbed. They don’t seem to care, or worry, about anything. Life, for them, is a song, a merry-go-round of tangible happiness. You’d be envious of them — for their unruffled, affirmative attitude. You’d be wrong — because, they may end up, rather unexpectedly, at the nearest hospital, or get marooned in a personal adversity that you’d have never dreamt of.

This brings us to a classical truth — the inexhaustible cadence of our unconscious self. To paraphrase Carl Gustav Jung, “plumber of the collective unconscious”, our unconscious self is nothing but the all-encompassing sensor, or “chip,” of our experiential self and also personality — the fundamental dimension of our “mindful” mindfulness. It upholds one distinctive, purpose-centric fact — that it is always better to be “cautiously” anxious than not being anxious at all.

Tags: anxiety, negative emotions