Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nerves

I tell people I don't get nervous. They ask why my voice sometimes shakes or I have other physical symptoms of nerves and anxiety. Ok, it's a bit of an exagerration to say I don't get nervous. Yes, my body gets nervous. Or it gets ready for whatever risky situation I am planning on subjecting it to. But my mind doesn't interpret that emotionally and think -- wow, I'm nervous.

This NY Times article about the body's reaction to risks explains it well:

To get an inkling of how this physiology works, consider the following scenario, in which a trader grapples with a rumor that the Fed may raise rates later that afternoon:

As 2:15 — the time of the announcement — approaches, trading on the screens dwindles. The floor goes quiet. The trader feels intellectually prepared. But the challenge he faces requires more than cognitive skill. He needs fast reactions, and energy for the hours ahead.

Consequently, his metabolism speeds up, ready to break down energy stores in liver, muscle and fat cells. Breathing accelerates, drawing in more oxygen, and his heart rate speeds up. Cells of the immune system take up position at vulnerable points of the body, ready to deal with injury and infection. And his nervous system, extending from the brain down into the abdomen, redistributes blood — constricting flow to the gut, giving him butterflies, and to the reproductive organs, since this is no time for sex — shunting it to major muscle groups in the arms and thighs as well as to the lungs, heart and brain.

The announcement will bring volatility, and a chance to make money. The trader feels a surge of energy as steroid hormones are synthesized by their respective glands and injected into his bloodstream. Steroids are powerful, dangerous chemicals — they change almost every detail of body and brain: his growth rate, lean-muscle mass, mood, even the memories he recalls — and for that reason their use is tightly regulated by the International Olympic Committee and the hypothalamus, the brain’s drug enforcement agency.

These past hours, the trader’s testosterone levels have been climbing. This steroid hormone, produced by men (and, in lesser quantities, by women) primes the trader for the challenge ahead, just as it does athletes preparing to compete and male animals to fight. Rising levels increase confidence and, crucially, appetite for risk. For the trader this is a moment of transformation, what the French since the Middle Ages have called “the hour between dog and wolf.”

The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol surge out of the adrenal glands, and the cortisol travels to the brain, where it stimulates the release of dopamine, a chemical operating along neural circuits known as the pleasure pathways. At high levels, cortisol provides a nasty, stressful experience. But in small amounts, in combination with dopamine — one of the most addictive drugs known to the human brain — it delivers a narcotic hit, a rush that convinces traders that there is no other job in the world.

Finally, at 2:14, the trader leans into his screen, pupils dilated, breathing rhythmic, muscles coiled, body and brain fused for impending action. An expectant hush descends on global markets.

This scenario illustrates just how sensitive the body is to information. We do not regard prices on a screen as a computer would, dispassionately; we react physically. Our body and brain rev up and down together, and this natural fusion makes us better risk-takers.

So yes, my body does respond to risk. And it can't just keep taking a beating. So even though my mind can handle things, sometimes my body can't, and vice versa.


98 comments:

  1. Wow that's so perfect. This is really interesting. I find that my body gets nervous but my mind doesn't. If I have to do public speaking, my voice will shake slightly and so will my hands and I'll be able to hear my heart pounding. However, my mind is perfectly calm and asking my body WHY it always has to react that way

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    1. ;)

      Are you able to control your "nervousness"?

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    2. Sometimes. But there's something about public speaking.. I don't like it

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    3. Really? I got no problem with that.

      Does that also count for, lets say, open parliamentary debates and stuff like that?^^

      In my opinion, there's nothing more fun than that.

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    4. Yeah I just don't like to be the center of everyone's focus. I prefer to be the observer in seminar type things unless I have something important to say or I am really in the mood to debate.

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    5. Yeah, i know that pretty well, too. :)

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    6. I prefer to be the observer in seminar type things unless I have something important to say or I am really in the mood to debate.

      Besides the fact, that I'm always in the mood for a good debate.

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    7. Oh okay. Yeah I love to debate. My parents always said I would be a good lawyer. My favorite debate topic has to be religion haha or other political current events

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    8. haha, mine always said that too.

      I really like to debate about religion, but not with religious people. They drive me crazy with their irrational arguments.

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    9. Yes! Because religious people won't listen or see reason! It drives me off the wall. I hate when people are irrational

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    10. I'm watching we need to talk about Kevin right now, is it me, or is this film not in the slightest disturbing?

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    12. Fuck film critics.

      This film bored the shit out of me, although kevin reminded me of myself a few times.

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    13. Yeah it was fucking boring. Sometimes I was thinking "yeah he's so right about that" the difference is I'm not violent. Even though I just live by going through the motions, I'm content with manipulation and am not violent at all

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    14. Me neither, at least not on the physical level.

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    15. Wow that is interesting to me that you 2 as Sociopaths/Psychopaths feel physical manifestations of fear..... But like they say, sociopathy/Psychopathy is a spectrum so you can have alot or a little or in between.......

      I was always very interested in the psychopaths/sociopaths who have no fear response, mental or physical, Like Richard Kuklinski AKA The iceman (My avatar).....

      I feel TOO MUCH nervousness and panic so I have always wondered how it would feel to be free f that and I honestly ENVY those who dont have to deal with nervousness or fear, like the article I posted in the past about the "No fear Woman" she has no Amygdala and cannot feel fear.... Lemme see if I can find that article.........

      Here is the link, Just copy and paste :)

      http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/fear-fearless-brain-emotion.htm

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    16. LOL M.Brig and MyMind you guys are like two peas in a pod!!!!!!

      I think you two would be great friends off of SW!!!

      :)

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    17. We understand each other, that's for sure

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    18. Yeah :D

      I think it has something to do with our age etc.

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    19. For sure :) that and we can say what we really think on here. I can't go around telling people this shit haha

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    20. :) Good For you guys for being able to relate on a deeper level here on SW.

      I definatly get why you wouldnt want to go around telling people any of these things ;)

      What do you guys think of that article I posted? How do you think you would react with a man pointing a knife to your throat late at night in a park after calling you over to him?

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    21. My body would be scared and shaking. My mind would be calm, I would be thinking rationally, and I would come up with a plan: either try to calmly reason with him if I thought I could do that, or wait for the opportunity to physically attack him so I could run.

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    22. That would depend on the exact situation.
      I do not think, i would be scared, because it's more or less a computable situation.

      If i'm sure that my chances, of getting his knife, are high enough, i'd take it and slit his throat.

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    23. Interesting M.Brig, I would pretty much react ALMOST the same way, although I dont think my mind would be as calm as yours, but I would still be thinking if I should reason/talk with him or run away which would be my "Fight or Flight" response ticking......

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    24. NICE Mymind!!!!! Good thinking!

      Thank you both for answering, I just wonder how people would react in those situations compared to how I would react.

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    25. I also wouldn't hesitate to kill him with the knife if I thought that was the best option. Another thing is that after the situation, I would be completely calm and act normal. I wouldn't freak out afterwards or anything like that

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    26. Thx rich.

      To me this option, is kinda always available, i'm trained at some martial arts.


      I think i would put my in-ears back in, blast me some trivium, take his money, and go away.

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    27. LOL MyMind, I probably shouldnt say this, but I have kinda been waiting for my next bad confrontation, meaning like when somebody confronts me out of the blue and tries to rob me or fight me or something. I would either punch or karate chop them HARD in the throat, I would never do it to somebody I was just "fighting"...

      Since you know martial arts, you may know the move iam talking about....... I hear it can kill about 9 out of 10 people and that is with your BARE HANDS!!!! Is that true?

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    28. Yeah, it is.

      The problem with that is, you have to punch really hard, really precise and in the right angle.
      Trust me, there are much easier things to kill someone with bare hands and only one chop.

      I think my choice would be a nice punch beneath his nose, so his nasal bone goes right into his brain.

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    29. The real problem is he just set himself up for a premeditated murder charge next time he gets in a bar fight (^_^)

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    30. If that's a joke, i almost missed it. if not, i don't think he would do that.

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    31. If that was a joke, I missed it too. But then again, I have trouble telling when people are being sarcastic

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    32. It was meant as a joke, as well as to ruffle the conspiracy crowd lol

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    33. Do you think that's funny? It's nothing one should joke about....

      Also, being sarcastic to people, who do not really understand sarcasm, is discriminatory.

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    34. haha discriminatory yeah and annoying too. I wonder why it is that we don't understand other peoples' sarcasm

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    35. Dude hahahaha I didn't even get YOUR joke! Oh god..

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    36. To understand peoples sarcasm, you need to understand peoples. By that i do not mean our form of understanding, i mean the empaths way of understanding.
      Sarcasms are, most of the time, grounded on information that we can't see.

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    37. Ah that makes sense. It's really an inconvenience though

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    38. That's no shame, i didn't get it either.^^

      You would be surprised how funny i can be. :P

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    39. I think that it is pretty nice, to not understand sarcasm.
      I see it as manipulation for free. You don't have to do anything, but everyone laughs, thinks you're funny and in the best case, underestimates you.

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    40. True that. But there are also times when it would be helpful. Coworkers or family members will say something sarcastic while there's a group of people in the conversation and I'll take it completely literally and seriously and everyone will give me this "what the fuck" look

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    41. Yeah, i totally know what you mean,
      i did a lot of shit because of that.

      I'll go to bed now.
      As always, i enjoyed the conversation with both of you, i really appreciate it.
      I wish you both a nice evening, see ya buddys! ;D

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    42. Hey Rich, I have a couple questions for you to understand empaths better:

      1. When you read or hear news about horrible massacres or natural disasters, what is your emotional reaction?

      2. When your friends are talking to you about their problems, do you actually care?

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    43. Any empath, feel free to answer. I want to know what empaths answers are to these questions ^^

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    44. "my voice will shake slightly and so will my hands and I'll be able to hear my heart pounding. However, my mind is perfectly calm ... My body would be scared and shaking. My mind would be calm "

      Oh my god just LOLOL. I believe this is the result of a convergence of those two buggaboos denial and delusion.

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    45. Yeah, that's right.
      Actually I'm a narcissist, and i hate myself.
      That's why I'm playing the sociopath role..... oh wait..... or do i play the schizoid role? I dunno.
      Who cares?
      I'm great!

      Seriously: Why do you think that it is the result of denial and delusion?

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    46. He's describing himself having attacks of severe anxiety, yet thinks his mind is calm at such times. Anxiety is a mental state that has the physical manifestations he describes. He's just not very self-aware of his thought processes at such times if he actually believes his mind is calm when he's having an anxiety attack. He wont master that anxiety until he does discover and address the thoughts that trigger it.

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    47. Woah woah woah I do not have anxiety attacks. Hahaha this is hilarious. I guess it's what you get for trying to be honest for once. Now I'm pretending to be a sociopath? Oh the irony

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    48. I think with "calm" he meant, that he's able to make rational decisions just like as if there were no anxiety.

      At least it's like that to me.

      Btw: It's kind of interesting, that you argue with us about it, and not with ME. Although she described the same thing.

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    49. LoL Why are you guys even up that early? xD

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    50. I hope everyone got the irony of my narc comment.

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    51. Yes I did mean that whenever I show physical manifestations of anxiety, my mind is calm, anxiety-less and calculating. I think rationally.. The same as I would do any other time.

      And yes, MyMind haha I did get that narc comment ;)

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    52. I have to admit that i sometimes feel like the M. Brig whisperer. <3

      ;P

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    54. But my mind IS calm and anxietyless all the time.. Perhaps it is just something you cannot wrap your mind around because you haven't experienced it.

      In response to your thing about the sobbing... First of all, I don't cry. I just never have that response to anything. However, sometimes I do pretend to cry if it serves a purpose to me. In that case I would be forcing myself to behave that way and physical symptoms would occur. In my mind, I would be calm and amused because I was playing the other person out and they would fall for my false display of emotion

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    55. OK, scrap what I said before then because it's not conveying what I'm getting at. You're right, I can't wrap my mind around it. I'm not saying you do cry, I was trying to clarify by using a hypothetical example.

      If your hands and voice are shaking and your heart is pounding where is that coming from? Your brain is sending your body into that mode in response to the public speaking. That's a physiological anxiety response. Something in your brain/must be causing that to happen, it can't come from anywhere else.

      Like the blog post says, at some level the brain is preparing the body to meet a challenge. You're saying this doesn't affect your thoughts at all though. What I can't see is how that's really possible. Without a conscious assessment that the situation is challenging where is this response coming from? Surely, at some point there must be thoughts triggering this physiological response. Do you see what's not making sense with it?

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    56. I see why it doesn't make sense to you, but it's just the way it is for me.. I don't know why but it just is

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    57. ok, thanks. I know no one can make sense of it when I try to explain some of the ways my brain works. One of the things I love about this place is we can ask questions like this and get an idea of how the minds of others work differently to ours.

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  2. We have had millions of years to form this controlled processing and automatic processing.

    When the first clumps of neurons were forming the first brains more than 600 million years ago, these clumps must have conferred some advantage on the organisms that had them because brains have proliferated ever since. Brains are adaptive because they integrate information from various parts of the animal's body to respond quickly and automatically to threats and opportunities in the environment. By the time we reach 3 million years ago, the Earth was full of animals with extraordinarily sophisticated automatic abilities, among them birds that could navigate by star positions, ants that could cooperate to fight wars and run fungus farms, and several species of hominids that had begun to make tools. Many of these creatures possessed systems of communication, but none of them had developed language.

    Controlled processing requires language.

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  3. I love it when you reach that point, when it feels like you're just about to black out, everything gets hazy, there's this metallic-like taste of blood in your mouth, and just as you are about to lose control, and shit yourself in a panic, your reflexes take over... you're moving lightning-fast, everything is in slow-motion, you don't even have to think about what you're doing, it just happens.

    Hot damn.

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  4. Hey everybody!!! I didnt see this new thread til now! It wasnt here this morning!

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  5. I am like Rich. I have horrible anxiety in certain situations. They are about my health mainly ~

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    1. Hey Monica! :)

      I get really anxious when there's no calculation possible.
      Not knowing what could happen and with what probability makes me feel anxious. (i hope this makes sense to you)

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    2. OH! This is my anxiety too. I thought everyone has this kind.


      When people give me mixed signals, and I cannot do the probabilities in my head, i have to do work. I watch more closely, try to see more patterns, . If I cannot calculate after that, I will be uneasy inside and have to do here and now living. Here and now living is hard for me. My head will not let go. If my head lets go, I feel like I am going to have an accident. .. I do not drive, but you understand.

      It is the fog I want. Without the feeling of death. I am sure that when I die I will do the fog naturally. Somehow that gives me great comfort.

      If I think about death when I get to this anxiety in the 2nd paragraph, maybe I will have more peace in those here and now moments.

      Does anyone here do that?

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    3. I mean does anyone here think about death and a feeling to just let go when they cannot control? And does the thought of the death give a sense of pleasure?

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    4. you are saying you are trying not to care one way or the other, but don't you?

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    5. I would say yes and I would certainly hope yes. But I go back and forth.

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  6. The guy in the video - the researcher - is a former derivatives trader. He's studying recklessness, having had firsthand experience with it.

    I used to work in the derivatives world too. I've experienced that. I'm a secondary psychopath; I have relatively high levels of anger and fear. Basically, I'd be a risk-avoiding reclusive pussy, but for that fact that I'm so greedy, desirous, overconfident and grandiose, I regularly put myself in shitty situations to get the reward I feel from winning.

    There are similarities between sociopaths and guys that trade derivatives. The key: traders are more reckless than psychopaths. Traders are also more competitive and manipulative than psychopaths, and they'll spend their own resources to try to hurt the guys they are competing with.

    That all sounds like testosterone overload to me.

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  7. I would be terribly horriby interested to hear a theory on sock puppet evolution :)

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    1. Today, is SCREAMING "Sock Puppets!!!"

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    2. Who are the sock puppets and of whom

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    3. Ahh, now there is the -$64,000.00 question. Meaning you would have to pay someone to give a shit

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    4. Don't kid yourself ~ Everyone hates that sock puppet shit that goes on here.

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    5. i love this sock puppet stuff

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    6. because you created it?

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    7. do you think the puppet master has an addiction to gaslighting?

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    8. I think the puppet master has no life and no self-esteem, and mistakes the banter here for some type of real relationship.

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  8. i dont understand the difference between how M.E. describes being nervous, and how neurotypicals describe being nervous?

    wouldnt anyone describe shaking voice, hands, anxious physical symptoms and nothing more?

    what does it mean to be mentally nervous and not just physically nervous?

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    1. performance anxiety would be mentally nervous wouldn't it? i've had it. you can focus the mental energy into the performance. exams, for example.

      the other kind feels like a disconnect, where you're caught off guard somehow with how you're really feeling. there is no mental energy to to focus you physically. i've noticed when i'm distracted or ambivalent or uninterested i come off as unsure, or worse flippant. it's like nobody's home but the cat and dust bunnies. not good.

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    2. mentally nervous is like this spacey sick feeling that you can focus into energy

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    3. shaking voice, hands, and physical symptoms can also be excitement.

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  9. my fight or flight reaction looks like it's broken my bain keeps working and i look for an alternative sollution

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