Most of us are aware of the feeling; a tightening in stomach that feels like tangled up knots. It’s unpleasant. It’s uncomfortable. It makes it difficult to sit still in any kind of content way.
It also has the ability to cloud our logical thinking and make us do and say irrational things. It throws us off kilter and changes dynamics in our relationships. Our inputs to other people are skewed and off the mark. Internal tension effects us in so many different ways it is hard to conceptualize.
Internal tension unsettles our emotions and contributes to us making more emotional decision-making. When we once thought we were rational decision-makers, the knots in our stomach steer us off course and leave us with a jittery sense of being – an uncertainty about ourselves that threatens our efficacy.
So what breeds internal tension? How does it come about and throw our logic over the side of the boat?
It may be safe to say that the arising of internal tension is an existential problem. We are uncertain of who we are and how we contribute to society so the tension begins to build in our being and decay daily efforts. Other people may say that internal tension arises because of relational reasons or how we are relating to the people in our life. If interactions aren’t positive and productive we begin to feel the tension slowly seep into who we are and we wonder how we are going to continue to relate to the people in our life. Better yet, some scientific experts may believe that internal tension is simply a biochemical process that has to do with the transmission of chemicals in our systems that leaves us feeling a certain way with corresponding actions. Other analysts may state that internal tension is a result of how active or healthy our sex life is and how often we get to express our fantasies to someone intimate and important in our life.
There are innumerable ways to look at the arising of internal tension and how eventually it interferes with logical decision-making. And some people may not care about this thesis. Some people simply believe that living life should be based on emotional decision-making and engaging every enticing whim. To hell with logic and how it shapes our thinking and decisions. Our hedonistic emotions should not be denied and we need to embrace our spirit.
Nevertheless, an abundance of internal tension can lead to a negative view of the self, poor health outcomes, and very poor decision-making (because our thinking is clouded by tension or emotion).
The beginnings of internal tension and building up of it in the individual need to be carefully monitored and taken in stride. If the individual is feeling overwhelmed by the tension and subsequent tension steps need to be taken to alleviate the problem and restore balance to the individual.
I’m not saying here that I have the answers for such problems, yet it may be prudent to talk to someone you trust about your feelings and tension so someone understands what you are going through. Perhaps it may be wise to book an appointment with a clinical psychologist or medical professional. Mental health professionals and medical professionals typically have effective ways of re-framing your situation and helping you to see things in a new light (often referred to as cognitive restructuring or cognitive refinement). Or try writing down your thoughts and feelings on a sheet of paper as a cathartic expression of self.
Internal tension is not to be taken lightly and it can heavily influence how you feel and how you make decisions. You may be doing things you would have not otherwise done.
Have you ever felt internal tension begin to overwhelm your being? How did it make you feel? How did you deal with it or cope with it?
I always love to hear your thoughts.
I’d love to hear from you,
Matthew R. Polkinghorne