One obvious impact is related to stress. Any external influence which we see as threatening creates a stress reaction. Our bodies react by generating a range of hormones as a short-term stimulus to help us cope.
In general, we respond to stress in three major ways — flight, fight or freeze. The latter way the most energy-consuming. Flight and fight are the less energy-consuming responses to stress. But what happens if we respond by ‘freezing’? Our bodies remain highly mobilised and are overflown with hormones, we are poised physical action, but we must resist our urges and work hard to keep them under control. As the hormones are being absorbed in the blood stream, this has a powerful spasmogenic effect on our muscles.
Let us now look at the situation from a psychological perspective. We have done something that keeps us awake at night. We keep it in our memory; it burdens our minds with a great emotional load, we are overpowered by the feeling of guilt. Some may be living with it for months and even years. The stress hormones have an impact on our bodies and may cause in us the physical sensations of pain. Many of us will be familiar with the phrase ‘my soul is aching’. Oftentimes, it also refers to the sensation of spasm in the upper chest.
By not admitting our guilt and not repenting, we perpetuate our stress situation. We choose the ‘freeze’ tactic of coping with stress that consumes a lot of our energy. This leads to problems both with physical and with mental health.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
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