In this life, there is nothing that is 100% predictable except change and it is oddly enough change that people often refuse to accept. We generally opt mainly for the familiar or the familiar, being in this sense very appropriate the expression “it is better to know evil than to know well”. As you follow this thread, it is worth knowing a concept known as psychological entropy.
Psychological entropy is a concept that psychology has adopted from thermodynamics and refers to that degree of uncertainty and chaos that surrounds people, so people must develop strategies necessary to learn to manage or adapt. in your life and it will inevitably happen.
In this article we will examine the concept of psychological entropy and how do you relate to anxiety disorders.
What is psychological entropy?
Psychological entropy is a term in psychology that comes from thermodynamics, referring, according to this branch of physics, to the fact that systems tend to drift into a messy and chaotic state. This applied to the field of psychology refers to that degree of disorder and uncertainty to which people’s lives are exposed, so adapting to it is a necessity and even an obligation of human beings to move on. ‘before.
Chaos is an irrefutable fact and as such must be accepted, therefore human beings have to live with the fact that in their life there is nothing that is 100% predictable, therefore unexpected things can always happen, because there is an important part of the events which is subject to chance, to uncertainty and it is something which can generate nervousness or anxiety in people.
According to the concept of psychological entropy, people have to come to terms with this chaotic factor that is always present, because it will never be possible to predict what will happen in the future and no matter how hard we try to control everything. in order to control what will happen, something unexpected can always happen that is out of your control, it would therefore be more appropriate to assume that there will always be this chaotic and uncertain component.
Accepting that there is psychological entropy, which this concept implies, makes it easier for people to balance their minds. Paradoxically, learning to tolerate a certain chaos and uncertainty that is beyond self-control helps to find greater psychological balance, as it avoids worrying about something that cannot be controlled. Now you have to find a happy medium because if we are completely in chaos and allow psychological entropy to prevail, it is very likely that it will cause us serious psychological problems..
In other words, slipping into the psychological entropy of total chaos and trying to fight it will end up harming us psychologically, which will affect other facets of our life (for example, at a relationship level. , professional or academic, etc.). This is why the most beneficial would be to try to adapt to the changes that are inevitable, to learn to tolerate uncertainty and not to try to keep everything under control by seeking to maintain absolute rigidity in our lives, just as we cannot allow absolute chaos to prevail. . . .
Relationship between psychological entropy and anxiety disorders
Jacob B. Hirsh and colleagues conducted research in 2011 in which they investigated the relationship between anxiety disorders and psychological entropy, assuming that humans are a kind of self-organizing system that constantly seeks to maintain homeostasis or balance in all or most areas of life. in order to keep your life under control and avoid as many surprises or surprises as possible.
However, due to the fact that human beings live in a constantly changing context or environment, these external changes lead to these unforeseen and surprise events causing chaos, discomfort and fear of uncertainty in people, which is the phenomenon known as psychological entropy and is that if this discomfort caused by fear of uncertainty and other psychological conditions persists for a long time, they will eventually produce a number of mental problems, such as anxiety disorders.
Research on this has shown that the human brain treats symptoms of anxiety the same way it does uncertainty, and in both cases a significantly higher amount of norepinephrine is released due to increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex which led to increased levels of this neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.
The importance of accepting psychological entropy
Due to the psychological issues that can be caused by avoiding or not accepting the phenomenon known as psychological entropy along with the factors it is associated with that influence people’s lives, you should learn to live with it, because it is something that cannot be eradicated and the more you oppose it, the more trouble it could cause you.
Psychological entropy, like entropy in thermodynamics, it is a natural phenomenon that cannot be eradicated, because it is inherent in the human mind, nature and the universe, because no matter how much we try to control every facet of our life to avoid surprises, there will always be external phenomena that can change completely our course.
We have a clear example of unexpected external phenomena that have created a lot of uncertainty in the lives of people, due to the high degree of uncertainty generated, as is the case with the pandemic caused by the SARS-Cov-2 virus , which started in 2019 in Wuhan (China), spreading to all countries of the world and continues to spread and cause contagion in 2022, without knowing when it will be possible to return to normalcy.
Another example is the event that took place in September 2021 due to the volcano eruption on the island of La Palma, which lasted for 3 months, and which prompted thousands of people who lived there to leave their homes. houses. .
These are two clear examples of unexpected changes that can change people’s lives overnight, showing that no matter how hard we try to control all areas of our lives, there will always be many factors that cannot be controlled. future no matter how hard we try, demonstrating the need to embrace psychological entropy as a part of life without trying to combat or avoid it.
This chaos that surrounds everyone forces them to constantly develop new strategies adapt to constant changes that have occurred throughout life, because if it is not done and a person does not accept the uncertainty, trying to resist, the only thing that they will succeed is to suffer in a prologue, and can also trigger this suffering in the development symptoms of anxiety and / or depression.
There can always be a certain degree of stability in anyone’s life, but the change will always be present and inevitably happen, so everyone must learn to accept these changes which cannot be avoided and also try to develop. strategies that allow a better future adaptation to the coming changes, which means accepting psychological entropy.
- Hirsh, JB, Mar, RA and Peterson, JB (January 16, 2012). Psychological entropy: a framework for understanding anxiety related to uncertainty. Psychological review. American Psychological Association, 119, p. 304-320. doi: 10.1037 / a0026767.
- Kauth, AR and Falcon, MY (1997). Entropy, psychology and some political considerations. Political Psychology, 15, p. 59-68.
- Zhang, W. & Guo, B. (2017) Solving Defense Mechanisms: A Perspective Based on Dissipative Structure Theory. Int J Psychoanal, 98 (2), p. 457-472.