We already know that the body reacts with a real somatic change to a virtual threat. This type of solution works very well for shorter thought processes. The minds of dogs, cats, squirrels, mice, hamsters and monkeys create projections covering short periods: the nearest 5 seconds, the next minute, the next 5 minutes, or a day. The emotional states that arise in the bodies of these organisms are being “used” immediately. The fear that something will come out from behind the tree that a cat is approaching, based on the memory of a previous event, causes immediate behavioral changes (for example, making a larger circle around the tree) and is immediately fading away.
The problem arises when the ability to create complex mental scenarios increases rapidly. As big brain mammals, we create scenarios that concern much longer periods. We think about what we will be doing in 5 minutes, in an hour, in a day, in a week, in a month, in a year, in 5, 10, 20 years. An efficient mind can generate an infinite number of scenarios of events (both nice and very unpleasant) that can happen to us over such long periods. If we now respond to each of these scenarios with a physiological change in the body, we can easily see that this can quickly overload the entire system.
Things can get even worse if you add to it thinking about the past events. For what is the past?
The past is also a thought, which is some kind of scenario that is played out in our minds in the present moment. As in the case of thoughts about the future, we also react to scenarios about past events with a real emotional state that changes the state of the body. If in the past we found ourselves in a situation in which our body had prepared itself to fight or flee, now if we recall the event, that is, recreate it in our mind, our body will be preparing itself to fight or flee again. The stress response will occur in the body and a feeling of stress will appear in the mind.
Remember that our thinking does not only concern our own physical or mental health, but also people close to us, people with whom we are related. In addition, thinking can include completely abstract characters from films, books, etc., and abstract concepts such as society, humanity, planet, etc. Current amount of grey matter in our brains allows us to dwell in virtual reality of thoughts non-stop during the day and for a large part of the night. As a result our bodies are in a state of constant emotional agitation, ready to take action forever .
This may not be a special problem for people who are gifted with positive thinking, whose minds are creating positive scenarios. However, people with a tendency to create darker scenarios find themselves in a rather dreadful situation.
However, we know from our own experience that our reactions to mental stories differ and are not always so dramatic. The same story may cause a whole series of stressful reactions in one moment, and not be particularly exciting at another time. The degree of emotional reaction to a thought depends on the degree of faith in its reality.