Is Replaying An Emotional Trauma Good Or Bad For You?

Who Cares – But Why

Controlled mental replaying of your negative experience (event) is excellent therapy. Repetition with new understanding deadens, dulls and benumbs the pain from the original occurrence.

Mental repetition of a traumatic event desensitizes your emotions. Examples: a severe car accident, the boss firing your fundament, a dirty divorce, war battles or personal physical attacks (rape). The secret is in your cognitive strategies.

If you don’t have special desensitizing strategies you fall into PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and depression for years.

Inquiring Minds need this scientific core knowledge. It’s baby-easy to learn and use for yourself and those who touch your life. You can teach it to others.

So What

Normal folks use Escape Mechanisms like getting drunk, bar fights, drugs or make life miserable for those around them to eliminate negative feelings. PTSD is receiving more notice today because of thousands of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

And it applies to 308, 802, 372 U.S. citizens and almost seven billion world population so it is important to Inquiring Minds.

Many of us experience chronic stress because of a bullying boss, disruptive kids, and an emotional Significant Other. These strategies help control our emotional reactions to stress. It works for corporate executives, law students and the military.

Scientific Research

A new study published in Biological Psychiatry by Dr. Christine Hooker, proves that how we react to painful trauma and stress is located in our LPFC (lateral Prefrontal Cortex). That’s right, locating the brain site is a new discovery.

What does your PFC do all day?

You trigger it voluntarily for your problem solving, decision making, learning and
memory. It is your Executive function for goal setting and works Top-Down, using
your volition (free will) to organize and create a successful career and relationships.

Get this: our LPFC is the control center for our emotional reactions to negative facial expressions by others. Sounds weird? Homo sapiens react emotionally and
behave negatively based on the antagonistic (angry) looks on the puss of those whose lives we touch. Can you ignore the puss on your significant other, boss, or kid?

Stop and remember the facial expression on your significant-other just before your
last prize fight (conflict and altercation) with him or her. That is what sets the mood
for loss of control. Yes, their expression affects you and you may be the causative factor that enflames their emotions.

Operant Conditioning

Remember this secret – your mother told it to you and you forgot.
Repetition is the Mother of Learning and Memory. How do you get to
Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice and more…

Would it be a valuable personal skill to avoid chronic stress at home or in your career? How to short-cut emotional traumas and stress is a learnable talent.

Fact: facial expressions of emotion are hardwired into our Genes.

Fact: your Lateral PreFrontal Cortex can raise your threshold of tolerance and
avoid reacting irrationally.

Fact: your brain can be conditioned (Operant Conditioning) through Positive
Reinforcement. You get more of what you want, and less negative punishment
(avoid what you dislike).

It is not brainwashing, but a scientific system to reinforce positive behaviors.

Fact: humans are hardwired genetically to achieve two goals in life: the pursuit of
pleasure and the avoidance of pain.

For Inquiring Minds

Whatever is reinforced (rewards or punishment) is enlarged and increases. There are emotional rewards like a smile and loving affection, a gold star on the refrigerator, and financial rewards like a weekly salary, bonus and promotion.

Your brain gives you a dose of Dopamine – the pleasure hormone triggered by rewards – and we are conditioned (programmed) to repeat the behavior because we choose to be further rewarded, right? It feels good.

Four Consequences to Any Behavior

a) Reinforcement: the behavior is repeated and increased.
b) Punishment: the behavior is eliminated or decreased.
c) Positive: something is added to increase the behavior.
d) Negative: something is removed (you desire) and the
behavior is decreased.

What’s the secret? Answer: cause and effect; there are consequences to our actions.
Use Positive reinforcement in Operant Conditioning to get more of what you want and less of what you want to avoid.

Two Strategies

a) sit at your desk and take a deep diaphragmatic inhalation
and slowly exhale. Do it two more times to set the mood.
b) place you attention and concentration on your face and
your facial expression. Can you tell if you are smiling or
frowning? Of course.
c) inhale and place a make-believe (fake) smile on your face,
There are three muscles groups involved, but basically
your eyes and the sides of your mouth.
d) use your will power to raise the sides of your mouth and
show some teeth. Simultaneously crinkle the sides of both
eyes. Create crows-feet and feel your eyes smile.
e) Hold your eyes and mouth smile for twenty (20) seconds
and release. Deep breathe and do it for another 20 seconds.
Do the third rep (repetition) for the last 20 seconds.

The second strategy adds one thing to the a-e smiling exercise. Ask your students to
close their eyes and imagine their significant other, child or best friend smiling, laughing or giggling in delight. Hold that Creative Imagery for three reps of 20 seconds each. It is short and sweet and a fun learning experience.

When you and those you teach become aware they are responsible for their own emotional responses, and they can control the pain of chronic stress and depression,
they are amazed and motivated. Who needs painful PTSD in our lives?

Repetition: success requires this one-minute exercise for 21 consecutive days to turn it into a habit. Our corporate executives and law school students call it life altering.


Mouth and eyes muscles create our facial expressions, but we can either put them on
auto-pilot (autonomic nervous system) or take voluntary (will power) control. The second way avoids high levels of stress and depression and even becomes a habit.

You do not have to remember the brain location is the Lateral PreFront Cortex,
just do the simple routine. Make it a daily ritual like brushing your teeth and you
will improve your mental and physical health for life.
Would a unique competitive advantage over your peers improve your career prospects? Our corporate executives and law students read and remember three (3)
books, articles and reports while their peers can hardly finish one. Knowledge is power, huh?

For a free speed reading report with all the details, contact us now.

See ya,

copyright © 2010 H. Bernard Wechsler

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals,published by Barron's.
Business partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading,
graduating 2 million, including the White House staffs of four
U.S. Presidents: Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Carter.