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The Urge to Jump is the Urge to Live
Yes, there is finally a name for that strange feeling when you are driving on an icy overpass or walking along a high bridge and feel an urge to jump (or in my case -- disastrously for the myopic -- to throw your glasses). As the Body Odd blog on MSNBC reports, a team from Florida State University’s psychology department investigated this feeling and termed it "high-place phenomenon."
According to the Body Odd, the researchers thought their study might "shine light on one of Freud’s ideas, that some people have a 'death wish,' and that some suicides are purely impulsive, absent any sign of depression or even sadness." The post describes how the researchers went about gathering data, and explains why peoples' reactions to anxiety are sometimes more significant than their actual anxiety levels. Their conclusion? Essentially, it's all a miscommunication. When someone with high anxiety sensitivity stands at the precipice of something, she may experience a moment of fear and step back. She then wonders why she stepped back if there wasn't any danger, and her brain concludes there must have been a danger of her jumping.
What a wonderful thing, that brain! And always good to remember how the urge to live carries us along throughout our days—even when we eat what we know we shouldn't, even when we don't sleep enough, even when we push ourselves to the limit, even when we sway for a moment on whatever precipice we find ourselves on—how our brains move us through our lives, whispering "Live! Live! Live!"
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