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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thoughts turning into chemicals

The body, and especially the brain, is a completely amazing thing.  This thought is never far from me, but I was reminded of it particularly yesterday whilst at a lecture, when the lecturer stated that 'thoughts and feelings are converted into chemicals in the body'.


At first this statement may sound far-fetched; it is often difficult to quantify thoughts and feelings, and to think that they turn into chemicals can be hard to believe.
Perhaps if the statement is changed to 'thoughts and feelings stimulate the release of chemicals' it may be easier to digest.  The chemicals in question are neurotransmitters which govern almost every function in the body.

But which ever way, the statements are true.  For example, when you are frightened, you feel scared and anxious.  The brain translates these feelings into neurotransmitters which then have an effect on your body.  Your heart might beat faster, you may become pale.

These stress and fear reactions are all fairly well researched.  But what about at the other end of the scale?  What happens when you are joyful and happy?  It would make sense that these mechanisms don't suddenly switch off, and perhaps happy thoughts stimulate the release of neurotransmitters that make your body function in a more healthy way?  Research to support this theory is surfacing all the time.



And then of course we have the middle ground.  Times when you might not be overtly frightened, or joyously happy, but perhaps just a bit frustrated, or fed up, or just ticking along nicely.  I hypothesise that the mechanisms that turn feelings into neurotransmitters, which then have an effect on the body, are always working.

In this way, how we feel emotionally is intrinsically involved with how healthy we are.  I believe that if you are constantly exposed to stress, anxiety or fear, your chances of being healthy are minimised, even if you have the  healthiest diet in the world.  And on the other hand, being carefree, relaxed and joyful goes a long way to keeping you in good health.

What can you do to make your life happier?

Start now.




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