WHY BE NERVOUS ?

aziz anom

When one is good at doing something but happens to feel nervous doing it, one invariably does that thing badly. Why is that?

I once used to play a lot of billiards and was rather good at it when I wasn't under any stress (which, when one considers it, is another word for being nervous). One day I went to my club and tried my hand at tennis, thus getting for a change a good deal of physical exercise, which made me feel so 'shaken up' that I thought if I also played billiards on top of that I will surely not play it well. But having been dragged to the table by a club-mate, I found to my amazement that I played even better than normal; indeed I was complimented on my play by my opponent. The little stress or nervousness that I used to have, had disappeared like magic. I won handsomely that day.

Years later another such extra-ordinary happening took place in my life. For some reason I took up jogging for about half an hour everyday and, although I didn't make the connection at the time, I suddenly stopped having any negative thoughts: I stopped recalling awful events of the past and I stopped criticising or hating people who had done me harm or who I thought were against me. It just didn't seem worth the effort anymore. I became tolerant. A calm descended within me which I had only rarely felt before.

Now, having studied Psychology for many years, I know that an athlete or anyone moving or jumping about vigorously on a daily basis, does not generally suffer from psychological disturbance. Such a person is healthy in the sense that he does not engage in useless or irrational behaviours; he has feelings; he wishes the best not only for himself but for others as well; he is what we might call a good-natured fellow.

To be sure, nobody engages in useless or irrational behaviours consciously. Consciously we all think that we have our self-interest at heart: a shopper with pockets bulging with money thinks that he is doing himself a great favour by stealing an item even if it is worth only a pittance. What he does not realise is that unconsciously he is deliberately looking for trouble. Investigation has revealed that such shoplifters are the hapless victims of enormous stress.

So what is it about stress that takes reason out of us and makes us our own worst enemy? Is stress the result of some tangible change within us that we can look at or measure?

Nobody is absolutely sure but the suspicion is that in a very large number of cases of mental disturbance it might have to do with the behaviour of our blood sugar level.

An adequate glucose level in the body is a must for the brain to function properly, to be emotionally stable. It is possible in fact to lessen significantly, if not altogether eliminate, the impact of a mental problem by correcting for abnormally low levels of blood sugar or HYPOGLYCAEMIA.

To test a person for Hypoglycaemia a glucose solution is given to him on an empty stomach and his blood sugar is then monitored every hour for six hours. A normal reading would show a gradual rise and then a gradual fall back to the fasting level. An abnormal reading on the other hand would show a sharp rise and then a sharp fall going well below the initial level.

The reason for the abnormal behaviour of blood sugar levels has been attributed to (1) addictions to caffeine, nicotine and alcohol which stimulate the adrenal glands into releasing sugar from the liver and the muscles: this sudden burst of blood sugar triggers the pancreas to release too much insulin and blood sugar plummets; (2) the modern junk diets consisting of refined and processed foods with high sugar content, which again repeatedly provoke the pancreas into over-reacting with insulin; (3) being a victim of long-standing abuse, especially during childhood and early adulthood when escape from such abuse was not possible; and (4) allergies to foods and chemicals, which the above glucose tolerance test would not reveal, unless the allergy is to the source of the glucose itself.

Most of these offenders, however, can be rendered harmless if the blood sugar has previously been brought to a higher, stable level by frequent eating of small portions of protein and fats combined with complex carbohydrates, preferably in the proportions of 20:40:40 respectively; as well as by an adequate water intake and by vigorous physical activity.

Nutritionists also prescribe the following vitamins and minerals (to be taken one hour before meals) as an additional help.

Vitamins A,C,E,B1, B3, B5, B6, B12 and folic acid.

Minerals Choline, Inositol, zinc, chromium and manganese.

Symptoms of Hypoglycaemia can of course be many and varied, depending on the individual's particular history, but usually the signs are that he becomes irritable, aggressive and irrational; he has trouble concentrating, is tormented by unpleasant memories, like for example of people who have done him harm, making him resentful and hateful all over again. Most perplexing of all, he has horrific thoughts against his loved ones as well as against his own person. It is as if the devil had taken possession of him (remember the film The Exorcist?). Indeed his ACTUAL behaviour is unconsciously directed against his own interests; he does things he would normally avoid doing; he misses easy opportunities for personal advancement, cannot bring himself to spend money, is indecisive...

The implications of Hypoglycaemia are only just being understood by medical researchers. The reader should therefore not be surprised if his local shrink is unaware of it and derides the whole thing.

For a more comprehensive advice on solving your mental problems, please go to MENTAL PROBLEMS -- A SELF-HELP GUIDE


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