Anxiety

E7BEC07B-E974-4B84-BB60-9F30FC5FF9F7Note that “normal” people often believe they have more control over events than they really have (an exaggerated sense of mastery to quell our fears?). Many experiments with animals deprived of control have immediately produced agitation and intense tension. Also, psychological experiments studying the much later impact of early experiences, like animals allowed to control their food and water supply vs. animals having plenty to eat and drink but no control, have demonstrated marked and complex influences on the adult animal’s behavior (less emotionality, fewer fears, less stress hormones, different brain organization, more adventurous exploratory behavior). An interesting and surprising contrast is that early physical trauma did not produce as much adult emotionality in animals (there is some reason to doubt that this holes true in humans). Apparently, gaining a sense of mastery or learning one is able to handle problems early in life, e.g. in monkeys who get good mothering and social support when young, seems to protect the adult from serious anxiety.

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