Getting upset more

You start to die. For real. Deepak Chopra doesn’t mince words. When you’re upset, there’s a progressive pattern of organ shutdowns that occurs, which begins as soon as you start to get upset, even a little bit. This is actually a natural consequence of feeling that you’re in danger. People are generally blase about what happens when you get upset, I imagine because getting upset is so common, and being under stress/ in fear is something that’s a usual everyday occurrence.

We all know that when you’re in fight or flight mode, what happens isn’t good. As soon as your adrenals start to work overtime and release adrenaline throughout your body, there is no part of you that isn’t affected. Your heart starts racing and your blood pressure starts to go up and up and up. Your brain functions are limited, lowering your ability to reason clearly. The pre-frontal cortex is starting to shut down, raw emotions take over: acting irrationally is the tendency here. Sweating increases. Blood flows freely to the limbs (ready for fight/flight). Your immune system starts to shut down. (Healing isn’t necessary when you’re about to be eaten). Every function not directly involved in fighting or flighting begins to shut down. Every single organ is directly affected. No wonder Deepak Chopra says that when you get upset you start to die.

I remember standing in the hospital hallway as my thesis director was dying and listening to the recitation of organs shutting down: well, now his liver is gone- ok so now his pancreas is no longer functioning…

This is not meant as an anatomy lesson – it’s meant to reorient you to seeing getting upset as a serious threat to your life. And to get a different perspective on how you behave in a difficult situation.

In our education system, educating the emotions has certainly not been a priority and training children how to cope when they’ve been insulted or hurt or harassed has been slow to be addressed. “Grin and bear it,” was actually the understood advice not so long ago. In the ’50s on the school-grounds, you would often hear: ”sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”. In other words, there were a lot of verbal sticks being thrown around, that were expected to be ignored. not actually dealt with
There’s an old Chinese saying on how to react when faced with something upsetting, that goes something like: Consider now, how much harm can this really do? Perhaps his understanding is limited. Perhaps he doesn’t know better….etc.

In this Covid period, we could all now reorient our lives to include serious ”me” time: self-reflection, relaxation that includes creative endeavours – drawing, playing music, building something, nature time, etc. (not more TV time). More inner time, more spiritual possibilities, more inner growth. And starting to learn to rise above those little upsets.


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