General Question

mattbrowne's avatar

Sometimes the emotional stress resulting from fear of minor dangers is more harmful than the danger itself. Do you agree?

Asked by mattbrowne (31585points) April 1st, 2009

The difference between experiences which result in eustress or distress is determined by the disparity between an experience (real or imagined), personal expectations and resources to cope with the stress.

Stress activates the sympathetic branch of the autonomous nervous system and produces the fight-or-flight response, causing the body to divert bloodflow to large muscles as the body prepares to run away from or fight something. Less blood flows to the digestive system and other organs that do not assist in fleeing or fighting, producing dry mouth, motor agitation, sweating, pallor, enlarged pupils and over the long term, insomnia. Modern stressors can cause continual sympathetic nervous system activation with very little opportunity for the parasympathetic nervous system to activate.

To me a good example is the pre-appointment stress when you visit the dentist for a root canal. Seems far worse compared to the procedure itself.

Do you have other examples?

Some point out that people tend to underestimate the long term abilities to overcome negative events in our lives. Combine that with people’s tendencies to underestimate the negative long term affects of stressing over events that have a low probability of occurring.

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14 Answers

VzzBzz's avatar

I go into mild shock whenever I give blood samples even though I tell myself it’s ridiculous (it doesn’t even hurt) but the shock still happens.

My mother goes into shock when she see bees near her person because she’s highly allergic and will have a trip to the emergency if she’s stung. She knows it’s very unlikely she’ll get stung but she freaks out anyhow, hyperventilates and has to lie down for hours.

If I walk beside my dog (not even touching his body) while he’s lying down and dozing, there’s a good chance he’ll yelp out, get up and limp away as a memory reaction to his puppyhood when one of his feet got broken.

mattbrowne's avatar

@VzzBzz – So you’re not VzzBzz when near your mother…

Blondesjon's avatar

I think Carly said it best.

Mr_M's avatar

With me, it’s ANY doctor’s appointment I go to, not just the Dentist. I worry about what he might find.

elijah's avatar

When im afraid of something I definately let the fear take over. I build it up so bad in my head that when I finally do it I can’t believe what a dumbass I am.

VzzBzz's avatar

@mattbrowne: ha ha. When I’m near my mother, I’m supposed to be all serious and omnipotent with powers to fix anything and everything.

YARNLADY's avatar

I experienced a pre-operation jitter that was way out of balance when we went in for the amniocentesis for our baby (27 years ago). Since both of us were at risk, it wasn’t just the needle into the uterus that scared me, but the possible results. I was so scared I almost made myself sick. Everything turned out great.

mattbrowne's avatar

@VzzBzz – I’m not afraid of bees, keep buzzing on Fluther ;-)

Dutchess12's avatar

Yep yep yep!! I’m just about to find out what’s going to happen to the kids and it’s emotionally stressful!!

mattbrowne's avatar

@Dutchess12 – Great you got your login back. What happened to the “Cat” part?

Dutchess12's avatar

@mattbrowne I KILT THE CAT BECAUSE I’M THE DUTCHESS! You know that!! (I just asked them pretty please.)

mattbrowne's avatar

@Dutchess12 – Yes, I do and I know she doesn’t meow ;-) Glad you’re back!

Dutchess12's avatar

@mattbrowne Me too, although it’ll be nothing like it was with my job and all…..I came on last night for the first time in two weeks and….freaking got attacked for using the word “wis.dm”. I don’t understand.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Dutchess12 – Sorry to hear that your new job is so time consuming. Some wis.dm-ers were very rude on Fluther which is unacceptable. Now a few (a minority) is putting everyone coming from wis.dm under general suspicion which is unacceptable too. I hope time will heal the wounds. I was accused of coming here with a hidden agenda and was told that my questions are doomed and would die a miserable death. Like on wis.dm you see the full range of human nature. There is no perfect online forum with or without moderation. Still, I prefer a moderated version, if diverse questions (complying with the guidelines) are tolerated which seems to be the case.

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