Does "Whistling in the Dark" Really Help Lessen Fear?
An upbeat emotional attitude has a powerful physiological effect on the brain's parasympathetic nervous system.
Saying "Everything's going to be all right" is something that naturally springs to our lips, when prospects for a good outcome are pretty dim, and we can think of nothing useful to say. I used to grimly question, in my thoughts if not out loud, people who made that blanket statement. They don't know everything's going to be all right. Everything's probably not going to be all right, at all. Why do they say that?
But years have past since those cynical times, and now I too say things like, "Things are going to work out." What happened to give me a more positive outlook?
Well, partly I was introduced to a God-reliance which was suggested when nothing purely rational gave me a peaceful heart. The reason I know that a God-reliant peaceful heart is actually a good thing, a reality and not just a fantasy, is that my actual behavior vastly improved when I took the spiritual dive.
But partly I was also introduced to the powerful tool of emotional content in my self messages. So how does that actually lessen fear?
Well, apart from the purely spiritual energies that are no doubt invisibly at work, the emotional energies mediated by the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex portion of the brain actually soothe the powerful but gross-over-reactor body-guard, the amygdala.
Most everyone is acquainted with the amygdala by now, but what is not common knowledge is it's ability to be re-directed by emotionally laden declarations. For example, saying "Don't be scared," in a calm voice has no impact. But gently, soothingly saying, "It's just the wind in the trees," has a powerful effect, causing the amygdala to holster its guns and stand at ease. It recognizes pictures, feelings and emotion.
So, whether it's whistling in the dark or emotionally proclaiming "I love the night!" the amygdala hears, and happily reverses the fight, flight, freeze neurotransmitter cascade.
As long as you're whistling with an emotional upbeat message.