Saturday, April 07, 2012

Bullying: Part 12 - Being Bullied Makes the Heart Rate Go Up

"...it's okay to be afraid.  If I didn't think you had fear, I'd think twice about you.  But it's learning how to operate with that fear, and break through it,..." - Command Sergeant Major Bob Gallagher

When Jesus was in a place called Gethsemane, He was under such stress as He prayed to His Father "his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground".  If Jesus's body responded in such a way to stress, so will mine.

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44 ESV)
 (Jesus was "in an agony" because of God's wrath not because of man.  And the bible states we should not fear man...but I feel though the brain receives that message the body does not always get it.)
 
It is my understanding many things happen to the body physically when under fear or survival stress.  (I feel being bullied falls into this category.)

One of those is an increase in heart rate.  Lt. Col. Grossman gives the example (which I am going to use here) of someone who has the "shakes" after a car accident or being pulled over for a traffic violation.  He writes,
"Such symptoms are a result of early stages of vasoconstriction, a condition that restricts the flow of blood to the extremities."(Grossman, Dave, Lt. Col. ON COMBAT. 2008. Warrior Science Publications. Pg. 32)

He goes on to explain,
Cardiologists tell us that at a certain point an increased heart rate becomes counterproductive because the heart is pumping so fast that it cannot draw in a full load of blood before pumping it back out.  As the heart rate increases beyond this point, the effectiveness of the heart, and the level of oxygen provided to the brain, steadily decreases.(Grossman, Dave, Lt. Col. ON COMBAT. 2008. Warrior Science Publications. Pg. 43.)

He also gives several examples of people who were placed in a situation where they needed to dial 911 for help but could not.  Either their fingers or brain was not working properly because of their increased heart rate.  His suggestion, practice dialing 911 so it becomes "muscle memory" and/or try to stay calm because,
What you rehearse is what you will do under stress.(Grossman, Dave, Lt. Col. ON COMBAT. 2008. Warrior Science Publications. Pg. 47.)

Maintaining a lower heart rate also goes for trying to talk to someone who is truly frightened or angry.  Lt. Col. Grossman writes,
"To connect with him, you must first calm him down."(Grossman, Dave, Lt. Col. ON COMBAT. 2008. Warrior Science Publications. Pg. 44.)
 
The Emotional Side of Being Bullied
 
Author and consultant to professionals, Lundy Bancroft, states that 1/3 of relationships are abusive.
 
It is my opinion a lot goes into interacting with a bully.  It is not all about "survival".  On the other hand is the emotional side of it.  We are made in God's image and though all struggle with sin, I believe men/ women on a whole are "good"...the light in most of us out weighs the darkness.  Or going back to the way Lt. Col. Grossman put it, we do not go around expecting others to attack us.  We approach strange dogs cautiously because it is in their nature to bite.  We do not engage with human "strangers" in the same manner.  So, when confronted with a bully, I feel we want to believe the best of him/her.  Maybe we even tell ourselves things like, 1. He/she doesn't mean it. 2. This time will be different. He/she has changed. 3. I must have misunderstood. 4. It's me, I'm the problem.  5. I need to change myself.  6. I don't want to hurt him/her.  7. God wants me to love and forgive him/her.  (This is where Pastors John Piper and Mark Driscoll's messages come in, by the way.)
 
With all the physical and emotional repercussions of being bullied, it is no wonder our youth (and even adults) struggle terribly because of it...some to the point of depression or destruction.
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