"Dil Ghabrana": Physiology and Etymology

R: You know, how in urdu you say, when you feel sick "dil ghabra raha hai"? I never liked that phrase. I could never reconcile the fact that I should say "my heart is scared" when I feel sick. It just never made any sense to me. And now that i feel nauseous so frequently, I had the opportunity to analyse my nausea and I realized that the feeling of nausea is very similar to the feeling of fear from a physiological point of view. It involves the same region of the body, the throat area. And if I hadn't known that I was nauseous I could mistake that feeling for fear! So now i can understand the phrase. Whoever came up with the phrase must have realized that the feeling is similar in nature.
Me: That is a pretty interesting observation. Are u aware of William James theory of emotions? The theory holds that emotion is the mind's perception of physiological conditions. The neurological circuit in the brain that is related to emotions, it is kind of circular in a way. Normally, we feel an emotion, and it leads to physiological changes. But it can also act in reverse: physiological changes can lead to an emotion.
R: The connection between body and emotion makes sense to me now. But I'm really impressed with whoever made that phrase.
Me: It is an interesting possible theory about the etymology of the phrase.
R: I'm glad I could share this with you.
Me: Yeah, thanks. Me too :)


tehzib said…
I think 'dil ghabraana' is a very appropriate expression, partly for the reason you said, but also because fear might be involved with the experience of nausea in general. I'm not saying for certain that it is, but it's certainly worth exploring.