The first law of emotional dynamics is: If you can make it worse you can make it better. So it’s really good news if just remembering a panic attack makes you anxious, if thinking about an old hurt makes you depressed, if recalling a past insult gets your blood boiling. This is because, if you can make your symptoms worse by thinking about something, it means that you can make it better by dealing with it.
So how do you know if something is psychological or physical? If you can increase or decrease a symptom by thinking of something then you know there is a huge psychological part to the problem. When you vividly recall a memory or you vividly imagine doing something – climbing a ladder if you have a height phobia – you are not changing anything about you physically, you haven’t changed any gene, you haven’t triggered a chemical imbalance, and you haven’t changed a single neuron in your brain. All you have done is think of something; all you have done is to imagine a situation or recalled a memory. So whenever you can make your symptoms worse you will know – with 100% certainty – that a huge part of your problem is psychological.
Your goal now is to deal with and fully resolve the psychological part and then see how much of your symptoms dry up and blow away.
So what happens if you think about something and it doesn’t make it worse. This may or may not prove that it’s not psychological, depending on how you did the test. For the test to count you have to make sure that you VIVIDLY imagine or recall the situation – for example, feeling the ladder begin to shake as you you climb rung by rung. If you simply think about it you might not feel anxious because just thinking about it only activates your thinking brain. However, when you vividly imagine something – when you experience it in your mind with all five senses as if it is really happening – then you are activating your emotional mind and any psychologically generated feelings will show up.