dfdfd

THE HAPPY BRAIN CHEMICALS

In the spring of 1977. Tools had been discovered that were enabling scientists to penetrate the very interior of single nerve cells in the brain. Important discoveries were being made almost daily about the inner workings of the brain. We now know that vital chemicals carry messages between brain cells. In essence, they allow brain cells to “talk to” one another.

On a typical day in the brain, trillions of messages are sent and received. The messages that are happy, up beat messages are carried by the brain’s “HAPPY MESSENGERS” (technically known as Biogenic Amine/Endorphin System). Other messages are somber and quieting. They are carried by the brain’s “SAD MESSENGERS”. Most nerve centers receive input from both types of messengers. As long as this input is balanced, everything runs along on an even keel.

Stress, however. cuases problems with the brain’sHappy Messenger. When life is smooth, the happy messages keep up with demand. But when too much stress is placed on the brain, the Happy Messengers begin to fall behind on their deliveries. As the stress continues, the happy messages begin to fail. Important nerve centers then receive mostly SAD MESSAGES, and the whole brain becomes dipressed. The person enters a state of brain chemical imbalance .

Enter Seratonin: The chemistry of Well-Being.

Serotonin, must work properly in order for you to sleep well. Serotonin is responsible for making sure that your body’s physiology is set for sleeping. If Serotonin does not do its job properly, you will not be able to obtain a restful sleep, no matter how hard you try.

More than 100,000 chemical reactions go on in your brain every second!

The brain is also a radio transmitter, which sends out measurable electrical wave signals. In fact the brain continues to send out these signals many hours after death!

Among the brain’s many jobs is to be your own chemist. The brain produces more than 50 identified active drugs. Some of these are associated with memory, others with intelligence, still others are sedatives.

fgss

Endorphin is the brain’s painkiller, and it is 3 times more potent than morphine. Scientific research over the last several decades has led to the revolutionary discovery of opiate-like chemicals in the body that associate with opiate specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord, including Serotonin,a hormone manufactured by your brain.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, involved in the transmission of nerve impulses.

It is manufactured in your body using the amino acid tryptophan. Release of serotonin or other drugs (depending on the type of nerve) causes the other nerve to fire and continue the message along the “cable”.. The neurotransmitters are dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. At the neurochemical and physiological level, neurotransmitters are extremely important, since they carry impulses between nerve cells. The substance that processes the neurotransmitter called serotonin is the amino acid tryptophan. It increases the amount of serotonin made by the brain. Certain aminos cause you to have better feeling of well being. Serotonin is a chemical that helps maintain a “happy feeling,” and seems to help keep our moods under control by helping with sleep, calming anxiety, and relieving depression.

erwe

The brain also makes Dopamine, which makes people more talkative and excitable. It affects brain processes that control movement, emotional response, and ability to experience pleasure and pain. All of these chemicals are natural chemicals that affect our bodily processes. Besides being involved in the process of addiction, low Serotonin levels are believed to be the reason for many cases of mild to moderate depression which can lead to symptoms like anxiety, apathy, fear, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia and fatigue. We are learning that depression is related to and a number of other health issues. Depression is the nation’s most prevalent mental health problem, affecting about 15 million Americans who spend about $3 billion a year on drugs to battle it. Almost all of these medicines target either serotonin or norepinephrine, brain chemicals which are neurotransmitters. “Research over the past two decades has shown…that depression is an important risk factor for heart disease along with high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.” – National Institute of Mental Health A whole new class of antidepressant medications has been developed that affects chemical messengers within the brain (the neurotransmitters). These medications are believed to work by regulating the release or action of Serotonin. Those drugs do help many patients, but they can cause serious side effects, and some 20 percent of patients get no help from today’s medicines.

People seeking these medications normally indicate a feeling of being more or less in a state of depression. They may feel emotionally numb, “nothing feels nice,” and/or vague aches and pains or perhaps the sensation of “aching all over,” and almost invariably have a sense of some isolation. Some people do not admit anger, sadness or guilt; instead they withdraw and hide from society. They lose all interest in things around them and become incapable of any pleasure. Things appear bleak and time passes slowly for them. They are typically angry and irritable. They often try sleeping off their depression or do nothing but sit or lay around. In most people depression is not severe. They can still function, but do so at a lower capacity and at a slower pace. Symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia or sleeping frequently and for excessive periods of time, loss of appetite or a ravenous appetite, headaches, backaches, colon disorders, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Many think of death and consider suicide.

Depression may be caused by tension, upset stomach, stress, headache, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, sugar mononucleosis, thyroid disorders, endometriosis (linked to depression in women), any serious physical disorder, or allergies. Some people become more depressed in the winter months when days are shorter and darker. The sun and bright light seem to trigger a response to a brain hormone known as melatonin (produced by the pineal gland), which is, in part, responsible for preventing the “blues.” Stay in brightly-lit rooms on dark days.

zcxzzx

Research reveals that two hours of morning sun is very effective in lifting depression. The evening light had comparatively little results. Depression begins with a disturbance in the part of the brain that governs moods. Most people can handle everyday stresses; their bodies readjust to these pressures. When stress is too great for a person and his adjustment mechanism is unresponsive, depression may be triggered. Diabetes and alcoholism also make a person more vulnerable to depression. In recent years anti-depressants are among the most widely prescribed medications, in spite of their side-affects. The presumption is that a chemically induced sense of well bring is better than none. Withdrawal from these medications can be particularly hazardous and must be managed carefully. Scientists have long hunted another way to attack depression. It has been discovered that some foods influence the brain’s behavior, and the brain’s neurotransmitters, which regulate our behavior, can be affected by what we eat.

cvcvc

Research is showing that some foods such as bananas and turkey have proteins that help to create the chemical seratonin. So, diet may contribute to depression, especially poor eating habits and constant snacking on junk foods. We really do not know the triggers for hunger or appetite. It seems that serotonin is involved, but where and how are currently unknown. Serotonin release is triggered by a carbohydrate load (sugar, etc.) and there are many who feel that eating Carbohydrates under stress is aimed at this serotonin release. When the brain produces serotonin, tension is eased.

Balance your Brain

When it produces dopamine or norepinephrine, we tend to think and act more quickly and are generally more alert. Eating carbohydrates alone seems to have a calming effect, while proteins increase alertness. Complex carbohydrates, which raise the level of tryptophan in the brain, have a calming effect. Protein promotes the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, which promote alertness. Protein meals containing essential fatty acids and/or carbohydrates are recommended for increased alertness. Salmon and white fish are good choices. Avoid foods high in saturated fats; consumption of port or fried foods, such as hamburgers and French fries, leads to sluggishness, slow thinking, and fatigue

vbvbvb

Actually take 10 or 15 minuets and really worry, then let it go and do something constructive for an equal period of time. Recognize that there are two kinds of worrying: conceptual, which is goal-oriented, and reactive, which is mostly destructive. Productive worrying seeks a trial soul ti on to the problem, while non-productive worrying usually seeks to blame or condemn. Attitude counts for a lot here. Is your cup half empty or half full? Most fear full worry is wasted obsession with unfounded or un-realistic outcomes. Disappointment is usually the product of poorly managed expectations. Taking time to smell the flowers implies a willingness to be spontaneous. A talent like this one is something that some just have while others must learn. Make a detailed list of little things that you enjoy and include them in your activities. Actually schedule a time of day to go for a walk, create or listen to your favorite music, read a poem, meditate, spend quality time with family and friends, paint, exercise, or play.

vgf

Also, exercise has been shown to produce another chemical known as endorphins, which help with depression, anxiety, sleep, and sexual activity. So, besides eating certain foods, relaxation, exercise, and are things that we do that can also affect the level and activity of these chemicals. Thomas Jefferson wrote that most people feel about as happy as they make up their minds to be. And indeed, a positive attitude is invaluable. Most people never heard of serotonin management, or even considered it at all except for medications. Serotonin management amounts to paying attention to the little things that make you feel good and systematically including them in your daily routine

rtrtrrt

We know, instinctively, that pampering ourselves is a door to a sense of well being, but we may not take time to schedule pleasant surroundings, favorite music or food, or even quality time with loved ones into our daily agenda. Just getting out of bed and into a warm shower elevates serotonin levels, making it easier to get into a positive, constructive frame of mind. And generally speaking, depression if it is mild enough can sometimes be managed without prescribed medications. Aerobic exercise, watching your carbohydrate & alcohol consumption, getting up early and moving, even if you don’t feel like it, forcing structure on your life, using meditation and imagery (if can concentrate, which depends on how depressed you are), and seeking a support group or psychotherapy, have all proved helpful

qwqwq

A group of psychologists did an on-going survey about happiness. When asked to rate their over all level of happiness, on a scale from 1 to 10, most people indicated about 6.7 or so. Interestingly it was discovered that a divorce, or serious injury, even the loss of a limb, caused this level to go down a point or two, for a year or two. But then it usually came back to about 6.7. Falling in love or winning the lottery caused the level of happiness to go up a point or two for a year or two, but then it went back to the previous level. What this implies is that a slight increase that could be sustained, was more significant than more dramatic life events. In other words if you find small things that make you feel good, and do them on a regular basis, your overall level of happiness is greater than if you fall in love, win the lottery. Seemingly little things that taste good, smell good, or delight the senses can be very significant when systematically included in your daily routine. Violets for the soul may be one of your best investments, especially if you consider the fact that people who feel good are significantly less likely to tardy, absent, ill, or involved in accidents of all kinds.

weweww

If you are in the habit of worrying about things, then put some boundaries on it. Actually take 10 or 15 minuets and really worry, then let it go and do something constructive for an equal period of time. Recognize that there are two kinds of worrying: conceptual, which is goal-oriented, and reactive, which is mostly destructive. Productive worrying seeks a trial solution to the problem, while non-productive worrying usually seeks to blame or condemn. Attitude counts for a lot here.

rrrr

Is your cup half empty or half full? Most fearful worry is wasted obsession with unfounded or un-realistic outcomes. Disappointment is usually the product of poorly managed expectations. Taking time to smell the flowers implies a willingness to be spontaneous. A talent like this one is something that some just have while others must learn. Make a detailed list of little things that you enjoy and include them in your activities. Actually schedule a time of day to go for a walk, create or listen to your favorite music, read a poem, meditate, spend quality time with family and friends, paint, exercise, or just play. Make a pact to try it, just for a few weeks, then see if your over-all well being is not improved.

adasd

“Mind” refers to the part of you that is capable of thought. “Brain” can be a synonym for mind, and it can also refer to the physical organ within your skull. That is, the “brain” is a physical organ while “mind” is a more philosophical concept.

People sometimes make a careful distinction between the two words when discussing the philosophical concept. Like, when people are debating whether there is such a thing as an immortal soul, they will say things like, “Can the mind exist without the brain?”

In most day-to-day contexts, like your example above, the two words are pretty much synonymous

Mind vs Brain

Mind is related to brain. Most people do not find any difference between the two words mind and brain. Most scientists and thinkers believe that the brain and the mind are one and cannot be separated. Most of the time these two words are used interchangeably. While brain is considered to be a physical thing, mind is considered to be mental.

The brain is composed of nerve cells and blood vessels whereas the mind is not like that. While the brain has a definite shape, the mind does not have one. We can see and touch the brain whereas it is not possible to do this with the mind.

As the brain is made up of several materials, it can be studied. On the other hand, it is hard to conduct studies on the mind as it is not made up of any material.

The brain is an important organ in the human body whereas the mind is not like that. It is in the brain that all the functions and activities take place. The brain, which is the centre of the nervous system, coordinates the movements, thoughts and feelings. But these are put forth or felt through the mind. We all use the mind to think, feel and respond. The Mind refers to a person’s understanding of things and also his conscience. Mind also refers to a person’s thought process.

The brain has a definite place in the head. But with regard to mind, it is only supposed to be in the brain. The brain may be affected with diseases and can be diagnosed whereas mind does not have such complications.

Summary

  1. Most of the scientists and thinkers believe that brain and mind are one and cannot be separated.
  2. While brain is considered to be a physical thing, Â the mind is considered to be mental.
  3. Brain is made up of nerve cells and blood vessels whereas mind is not like that.
  4. While brain has a definite shape, mind does not have one.
  5. We can see and touch the brain whereas it is not possible with mind.
  6. The brain is an important organ in the human body whereas the mind is not like that.
  7. The brain, which is the centre of the nervous system, coordinates the movements, thoughts and feelings. The mind refers to a person’s understanding of things and also his conscience. Mind also refers to a person’s thought process.
  8. The Brain has a definite place in the head, but with regard to mind, it is only supposed to be in the brain.

loollo

FREE AT LAST
ENDING ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.…

Not just our diet, but out thoughts, our emotions, and our behavior all effect body chemistry. For instance, relaxation produces the chemical norepinephrine with which low levels are implicated in depression. Also, exercise has been shown to produce another chemical known as endorphins, which help with depression, anxiety, sleep, and sexual activity. So, besides eating certain foods, relaxation, exercise, and are things that we do that can also affect the level and activity of these chemicals. Thomas Jefferson wrote that most people feel about as happy as they make up their minds to be. And indeed, a positive attitude is invaluable. Most people never heard of serotonin management, or even considered it at all except for medications.

rtrtr

Serotonin management amounts to paying attention to the little things that make you feel good and systematically including them in your daily routine. We know, instinctively, that pampering ourselves is a door to a sense of well being, but we may not take time to schedule pleasant surroundings, favorite music or food, or even quality time with loved ones into our daily agenda. Just getting out of bed and into a warm shower elevates serotonin levels, making it easier to get into a positive, constructive frame of mind.

werwer

And generally speaking, depression if it is mild enough can sometimes be managed without prescribed medications. Aerobic exercise, watching your carbohydrate & alcohol consumption, getting up early and moving, even if you don’t feel like it, forcing structure on your life, using meditation and imagery (if can concentrate, which depends on how depressed you are), and seeking a support group or psychotherapy, have all proved helpful. A group of psychologists did an on-going survey about happiness. When asked to rate their over all level of happiness, on a scale from 1 to 10, most people indicated about 6.7 or so.

zfdaf

Interestingly it was discovered that a divorce, or serious injury, even the loss of a limb, caused this level to go down a point or two, for a year or two. But then it usually came back to about 6.7. Falling in love or winning the lottery caused the level of happiness to go up a point or two for a year or two, but then it went back to the previous level. What this implies is that a slight increase that could be sustained, was more significant than more dramatic life events.

cvcvd

In other words if you find small things that make you feel good, and do them on a regular basis, your overall level of happiness is greater than if you fall in love, win the lottery. Seemingly little things that taste good, smell good, or delight the senses can be very significant when systematically included in your daily routine. Violets for the soul may be one of your best investments, especially if you consider the fact that people who feel good are significantly less likely to tardy, absent, ill, or involved in accidents of all kinds. If you are in the habit of worrying about things, then put some boundaries on it.

ghgh

Actually take 10 or 15 minuets and really worry, then let it go and do something constructive for an equal period of time. Recognize that there are two kinds of worrying: conceptual, which is goal-oriented, and reactive, which is mostly destructive. Productive worrying seeks a trial soul ti on to the problem, while non-productive worrying usually seeks to blame or condemn. Attitude counts for a lot here. Is your cup half empty or half full? Most fear full worry is wasted obsession with unfounded or un-realistic outcomes. Disappointment is usually the product of poorly managed expectations. Taking time to smell the flowers implies a willingness to be spontaneous. A talent like this one is something that some just have while others must learn. Make a detailed list of little things that you enjoy and include them in your activities. Actually schedule a time of day to go for a walk, create or listen to your favorite music, read a poem, meditate, spend quality time with family and friends, paint, exercise, or play.

sds

Stress is not a useful term for scientists because it is such a highly subjective phenomenon that it defies definition. And if you can’t define stress, how can you possibly measure it? The term “stress”, as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. Selye had noted in numerous experiments that laboratory animals subjected to acute but different noxious physical and emotional stimuli (blaring light, deafening noise, extremes of heat or cold, perpetual frustration) all exhibited the same pathologic changes of stomach ulcerations, shrinkage of lymphoid tissue and enlargement of the adrenals. He later demonstrated that persistent stress could cause these animals to develop various diseases similar to those seen in humans, such as heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis. At the time, it was believed that most diseases were caused by specific but different pathogens. Tuberculosis was due to the tubercle bacillus, anthrax by the anthrax bacillus, syphilis by a spirochete, etc. What Selye proposed was just the opposite, namely that many different insults could cause the same disease, not only in animals, but in humans as well.

asds

Selye’s theories attracted considerable attention and stress soon became a popular buzzword that completely ignored Selye’s original definition. Some people used stress to refer to an overbearing or bad boss or some other unpleasant situation they were subjected to. For many, stress was their reaction to this in the form of chest pain, heartburn, headache or palpitations. Others used stress to refer to what they perceived as the end result of these repeated responses, such as an ulcer or heart attack. Many scientists complained about this confusion and one physician concluded in a 1951 issue of the British Medical Journal that, “Stress in addition to being itself, was also the cause of itself, and the result of itself.”

adasaa

Unfortunately, Selye was not aware that stress had been used for centuries in physics to explain elasticity, the property of a material that allows it to resume its original size and shape after having been compressed or stretched by an external force. As expressed in Hooke’s Law of 1658, the magnitude of an external force, or stress, produces a proportional amount of deformation, or strain, in a malleable metal. This created even more confusion when his research had to be translated into foreign languages. There was no suitable word or phrase that could convey what he meant, since he was really describing strain. In 1946, when he was asked to give an address at the prestigious Collège de France, the academicians responsible for maintaining the purity of the French language struggled with this problem for several days, and subsequently decided that a new word would have to be created. Apparently, the male chauvinists prevailed, and le stress was born, quickly followed by el stress, il stress, lo stress, der stress in other European languages, and similar neologisms in Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic. Stress is one of the very few words you will see preserved in English in these and other languages that do not use the Roman alphabet.

Because it was apparent that most people viewed stress as some unpleasant threat, Selye subsequently had to create a new word, stressor, to distinguish stimulus from response. Stress was generally considered as being synonymous with distress and dictionaries defined it as “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension” or “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” Thus, stress was put in a negative light and its positive effects ignored. However, stress can be helpful and good when it motivates people to accomplish more.

dfdf

As illustrated to the left, increased stress results in increased productivity – up to a point, after which things go rapidly downhill. However, that point or peak differs for each of us, so you need to be sensitive to the early warning symptoms and signs that suggest a stress overload is starting to push you over the hump. Such signals also differ for each of us and can be so subtle that they are often ignored until it is too late. Not infrequently, others are aware that you may be headed for trouble before you are.

Any definition of stress should therefore also include good stress, or what Selye called eustress. For example, winning a race or election can be just as stressful as losing, or more so. A passionate kiss and contemplating what might follow is stressful, but hardly the same as having a root canal procedure.

Selye struggled unsuccessfully all his life to find a satisfactory definition of stress. In attempting to extrapolate his animal studies to humans so that people would understand what he meant, he redefined stress as “The rate of wear and tear on the body”. This is actually a pretty good description of biological aging so it is not surprising that increased stress can accelerate many aspects of the aging process. In his later years, when asked to define stress, he told reporters, “Everyone knows what stress is, but nobody really knows.”

As noted, stress is difficult to define because it is so different for each of us. A good example is afforded by observing passengers on a steep roller coaster ride. Some are hunched down in the back seats, eyes shut, jaws clenched and white knuckled with an iron grip on the retaining bar. They can’t wait for the ride in the torture chamber to end so they can get back on solid ground and scamper away. But up front are the wide-eyed thrill seekers, yelling and relishing each steep plunge who race to get on the very next ride. And in between you may find a few with an air of nonchalance that borders on boredom. So, was the roller coaster ride stressful?

The roller coaster analogy is useful in explaining why the same stressor can differ so much for each of us. What distinguished the passengers in the back from those up front was the sense of control they had over the event. While neither group had any more or less control their perceptions and expectations were quite different. Many times we create our own stress because of faulty perceptions you can learn to correct. You can teach people to move from the back of the roller coaster to the front, and, as Eleanor Roosevelt noted, nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. While everyone can’t agree on a definition of stress, all of our experimental and clinical research confirms that the sense of having little or no control is always distressful – and that’s what stress is all about.

sdss

Why is stress now diferent and more dangerous ?

Contemporary stress tends to be more pervasive, persistent and insidious because it stems primarily from psychological than physical threats. It is associated with ingrained and immediate reactions over which we have no control that were originally designed to be beneficial such as:

  • heart rate and blood pressure soar to increase the flow of blood to the brain to improve decision making,
  • blood sugar rises to furnish more fuel for energy as the result of the breakdown of glycogen, fat and protein stores,
  • blood is shunted away from the gut, where it is not immediately needed for purposes of digestion, to the large muscles of the arms and legs to provide more strength in combat, or greater speed in getting away from a scene of potential peril,
  • clotting occurs more quickly to prevent blood loss from lacerations or internal hemorrhage.

dfdfd

These and myriad other immediate and automatic responses have been exquisitely honed over the lengthy course of human evolution as life saving measures to facilitate primitive man’s ability to deal with physical challenges. However, the nature of stress for modern man is not an occasional confrontation with a saber-toothed tiger or a hostile warrior but rather a host of emotional threats like getting stuck in traffic and fights with customers, co-workers, or family members, that often occur several times a day. Unfortunately, our bodies still react with these same, archaic fight or flight responses that are now not only not useful but potentially damaging and deadly. Repeatedly invoked, it is not hard to see how they can contribute to hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, ulcers, neck or low back pain and other “Diseases of civilization

fgff

How can stress cause so many diseases?

Many of these effects are due to increased sympathetic nervous system activity and an outpouring of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress-related hormones. Certain types of chronic and more insidious stress due to loneliness, poverty, bereavement, depression and frustration due to discrimination are associated with impaired immune system resistance to viral linked disorders ranging from the common cold and herpes to AIDS and cancer. Stress can have effects on other hormones, brain neurotransmitters, additional small chemical messengers elsewhere, prostaglandins, as well as crucial enzyme systems, and metabolic activities that are still unknown. Research in these areas may help to explain how stress can contribute to depression, anxiety and its diverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract, skin and other organs

fgfgf

afadsfaf

Science News from research organizations.

Role of spleen in prolonged anxiety after stress

Scientists are uncovering clues to what might be unfolding in the relationship between the brain and immune system in those who suffer from long-term repercussions of stress. New research details those connections, specifically that an abundance of white blood cells in the spleen could be sending messages to the brain that result in behavioral changes long after mice experience repeated stress.

Scientists are uncovering clues to what might be unfolding in the relationship between the brain and immune system in those who suffer from long-term repercussions of stress.

New research details those connections, specifically that an abundance of white blood cells in the spleen could be sending messages to the brain that result in behavioral changes long after mice experience repeated stress.

“We found that immune cells in the spleen can contribute to chronic anxiety following psychological stress,” said Daniel McKim, a graduate student at The Ohio State University and the lead author of the study.

“Our findings emphasize the possibility that the immune system represents a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of mental health conditions.

The research was part of a series of related studies presented Nov. 13 in San Diego at Neuroscience 2016, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

McKim’s co-authors and advisers, John Sheridan and Jonathan Godbout, are working toward explaining the complicated interplay between immunity and stress in animals that have experienced “repeated social defeat” in an effort to eventually improve the well-being of people who experience chronic psychological stress. Sheridan is associate director of Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research and a professor of biosciences. Godbout is an associate professor of neuroscience.

In this study, the trio of scientists determined that the immune cell changes persisted for almost a month after the mice experienced the stress.

“Stress appears to prompt the release of stem cells from the bone marrow to the spleen, where they develop into white blood cells, or monocytes, and expand over time,” Godbout said.

“Then the spleen becomes a reservoir of inflammatory cells.”

Sheridan said the spleen is now understood to be integral to the sensitization that happens after prolonged stress in mice, leading to anxiety and other cognitive problems down the road.

“It’s like a stress memory,” Godbout said.

In their previous work, Ohio State researchers have documented an increased prevalence of long-term anxiety and depression in mice exposed to chronic stress, a model that has been compared to post-traumatic stress disorder in people.

“Maybe anxiety is a good thing for survival — it’s beneficial evolutionarily — but the issue becomes what happens when that system is put into overdrive. That’s when it gets problematic,” Godbout said.

Added Sheridan, “We’re beginning to piece together more details about the bi-directional communication between the brain and the body and the body and the brain.”

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length

dyhdth

RELAXATION?

  1. The act of relaxing or the state of being relaxed.
  2. Refreshment of body or mind; recreation: played golf for relaxation.
  3. A loosening or slackening.
  4. A reduction in strictness or severity.
  5. Physiology The lengthening of inactive muscle or muscle fibers.
  6. Physics The return or adjustment of a system to equilibrium following displacement or abrupt change.
  7. Mathematics A method of solving equations in which the errors resulting from an initial approximation are reduced by succeeding approximations until all errors are within specified limits

Systems biology research study reveals benefits of vacation, meditation

Scientists used a rigorous study design to assess the biological impact of meditation compared to vacation. The researchers found that a resort vacation provides a strong and immediate impact on molecular networks associated with stress and immune pathways, in addition to short-term improvements in well-being, as measured by feelings of vitality and distress. A meditation retreat, for those who already used meditation regularly, was associated with molecular networks characterized by antiviral activity. The molecular signature of long-term meditators was distinct from the non-meditating vacationers.

dhdghgd

A resort vacation provides a strong and immediate impact on molecular networks associated with stress and immune pathways, in addition to short-term improvements in well-being, as measured by feelings of vitality and distress, say researchers.

Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of California, San Francisco, and Harvard Medical School used a rigorous study design to assess the biological impact of meditation compared to vacation. They examined the effect of meditation on gene expression patterns in both novice and regular meditators. The researchers found that a resort vacation provides a strong and immediate impact on molecular networks associated with stress and immune pathways, in addition to short- term improvements in well-being, as measured by feelings of vitality and distress. A meditation retreat, for those who already used meditation regularly, was associated with molecular networks characterized by antiviral activity. The molecular signature of long-term meditators was distinct from the non-meditating vacationers. The study was published in Springer Nature’s journal Translational Psychiatry.

The study involved 94 healthy women, aged 30-60. Sixty-four women were recruited who were not regular meditators. Participants stayed at the same resort in California for six days, and randomized so that half were simply on vacation while the other half joined a meditation training program run by the Chopra Center for Well Being. The meditation program included training in mantra meditation, yoga, and self reflection exercises. It was designed by Deepak Chopra, MD, who did not participate in data collection or analysis.

For greater insight into the long-term effects of what scientists dubbed the “meditation effect” compared to the “vacation effect,” the team also studied a group of 30 experienced meditators who were already enrolled in the retreat that week. Researchers collected blood samples, and surveys, from all participants immediately before and after their stay, as well as surveys one month and ten months later.

“In the spirit of other research efforts we have pioneered with other groups, this work underscores the importance of studies focused on healthy people,” said Eric Schadt, PhD, senior author on the paper and the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Founding Director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology. “By combining an interrogation of gene networks with advanced data analysis and statistics, we have generated clinically meaningful information about stress and aging that is relevant to the broader population.”

The research team examined the changes in 20,000 genes to determine which types of genes were changing before and after the resort experience. Scientists performed an integrative transcriptomic analysis, comparing gene expression networks across all three groups of participants and finding unique molecular profiles and pathway enrichment patterns. Study results show that all groups — novice meditators, experienced meditators, and vacationers — had significant changes in molecular network patterns after the week at the resort, with a clear signature distinguishing baseline from post-vacation biology. The most notable changes in gene activity were related to stress response and immune function.

Researchers assessed self-reported measures of well being. While all groups showed improvements up to one month later, the novice meditators had fewer symptoms of depression and less stress much longer than the non-meditating vacationers. The psychological effects appear to be enduring and it is unknown how much of this longer lasting benefit may be due to continued practice or lasting changes in how people view events in their lives.

“It’s intuitive that taking a vacation reduces biological processes related to stress, but it was still impressive to see the large changes in gene expression from being away from the busy pace of life, in a relaxing environment, in such a short period of time. These findings will have to be replicated to see if the changes are reliably invoked under the same circumstances, in future studies, and compared to an at-home control group,” said Elissa S. Epel, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco and first author of the study.

“Based on our results, the benefit we experience from meditation isn’t strictly psychological; there is a clear and quantifiable change in how our bodies function,” said Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Meditation is one of the ways to engage in restorative activities that may provide relief for our immune systems, easing the day-to-day stress of a body constantly trying to protect itself. The prediction is that this would then lead to healthier aging.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Mount Sinai Health System. Note: Content may be edited for style and length

_______________________________________________________________________

Is there a higher plane of consciousness or spirituality that binds all people? Oxytocin makes men more likely to say so….

gdhgdh

Oxytocin enhances spirituality: The biology of awe

Oxytocin, otherwise known as the love hormone, is released by the pituitary gland and is responsible for human behaviors associated with relationships and bonding. It is most commonly used to help mothers produce contractions in labor and control bleeding.

What Is Oxytocin?

Have you ever heard of the love hormone? Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone that is made in the hypothalamus and is stored and released by the posterior pituitary gland in the brain. When released it produces a feeling of love and satisfaction. It is the primary hormone released during an orgasm and causes new moms to form a loving bond with their babies after birth.

Oxytocin affects certain organs in the body, which include the uterus and the breasts. This chemical communicates with the reproductive system during childbirth, lactation, and during certain human behaviors. It is found in men too and has effects on testosterone production and the movement of sperm. This love hormone has been linked to important functions, such as sexual arousal, trust, and bonding.

How Does Oxytocin Work?

Oxytocin is secreted into the bloodstream due to electrical activity of nerve cells when they are excited. The release causes the uterus to contract, which causes labor contractions and tightens the uterus after a baby is born to deliver the placenta. Have you ever heard of a milk let down? That’s the oxytocin causing the milk to be released into a mother’s breasts to feed her baby.

The hormone works by a positive feedback system, where the more oxytocin is released the more is produced. So that explains why a woman in labor continues to produce stronger and more frequent contractions. It also explains why the more a baby nurses, the more breast milk the mother produces.

Have you ever heard of a pregnant woman having her labor induced? Synthetic oxytocin, called pitocin, can be given to expectant mothers through an intravenous drip to stimulate labor contractions or make the contractions she is already experiencing stronger. An injection of pitocin can be given after birth to stop postpartum hemorrhage.

Oxytocin has been dubbed the “love hormone” for its role promoting social bonding, altruism and more. Now new research from Duke University suggests the hormone may also support spirituality.

In the study, men reported a greater sense of spirituality shortly after taking oxytocin and a week later. Participants who took oxytocin also experienced more positive emotions during meditation, said lead author Patty Van Cappellen, a social psychologist at Duke.

“Spirituality and meditation have each been linked to health and well-being in previous research,” Van Cappellen said. “We were interested in understanding biological factors that may enhance those spiritual experiences.

“Oxytocin appears to be part of the way our bodies support spiritual beliefs.”

The Biology of Awe

“Spirituality is complex and affected by many factors. However, oxytocin does seem to affect how we perceive the world and what we believe.”

Study participants were all male, and the findings apply only to men, said Van Cappellen, associate director of the Interdisciplinary and Behavioral Research Center at Duke’s Social Science Research Institute. In general, oxytocin operates somewhat differently in men and women, Van Cappellen added. Oxytocin’s effects on women’s spirituality still needs to be investigated.

The results appears online in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Oxytocin occurs naturally in the body. Produced by the hypothalamus, it acts as a hormone and as a neurotransmitter, affecting many regions of the brain. It is stimulated during sex, childbirth and breastfeeding. Recent research has highlighted oxytocin’s role in promoting empathy, trust, social bonding and altruism.

To test how oxytocin might influence spirituality, researchers administered the hormone to one group and a placebo to another. Those who received oxytocin were more likely to say afterwards that spirituality was important in their lives and that life has meaning and purpose. This was true after taking into account whether the participant reported belonging to an organized religion or not.

Participants who received oxytocin were also more inclined to view themselves as interconnected with other people and living things, giving higher ratings to statements such as “All life is interconnected” and “There is a higher plane of consciousness or spirituality that binds all people.”

Study subjects also participated in a guided meditation. Those who received oxytocin reported experiencing more positive emotions during meditation, including awe, gratitude, hope, inspiration, interest, love and serenity.

Oxytocin did not affect all participants equally, though. Its effect on spirituality was stronger among people with a particular variant of the CD38 gene, a gene that regulates the release of oxytocin from hypothalamic neurons in the brain.

Van Cappellen cautioned that the findings should not be over-generalized. First of all, there are many definitions of spirituality, she noted.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Duke Unoversity. Original written by Alison Jones. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

dhdfhdfh

Enjoy a Vital, Fulfilling Life Regardless of Age

A quick web search on the term “graceful aging” brings up phrases like:

“Combat the signs of aging…”
“Who said that we have to age…”
“Defy the aging process…”

More often than not, aging is viewed as something to be fought off for as long as possible. Regardless of how liberated we’ve become, many women and men still experience aging as a threat to their sense of self worth and quality of life. It is pretty much expected that middle age will bring a “crisis” and far too often we hear seniors lament that “I thought these were supposed to be the golden years.” Whole industries are built on the attempt to stay young – from hair colors to face lifts to Viagra. (Aging Gracefully)

Women come into their greatness after menopause.

There is a place for all of these things, of course, but if your reaction to the aging process has you racing to beat time, I’d like to ask you to take a deep breath, relax, and give yourself some space to shift into a different perspective on aging.

What if aging were equated with getting better rather than worse? What if you lived in a culture which reveres the elderly and views them as a repository of power and wisdom? What if it was understood that women really come into their greatness after menopause? Since how we age has so much to do with our attitudes and beliefs, such a shift in perspective could make a world of difference.

Aging Well in the Culture of Youth

Age “gracefully” in a culture which idolizes youth requires inner strength and wisdom. Hopefully we can ask questions together about our common notions and experiences with aging, so that we can not only do away with some myths about aging which limit our quality of life, but also discover some of the “perks” of aging that we often ignore. There are lots of role models who have led the way for us. Did you know, for example, that:

Martha Graham danced professionally until she was 76?
Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals at the age of 78?
Georgia O’Keefe continued painting well into her 90s?

Vitality in “later life” is not just for the famous. Undoubtedly everyone knows at least one person who is living a vital, fulfilling life “despite” their age. This is really the way it should be – life should become better as we age.

Two Basic Requirements of Graceful Aging

What I’ve discovered is that there are two “basic requirements” of graceful aging. To borrow from the “Serenity Prayer”, graceful aging requires the “serenity to accept the things we cannot change; courage to change the things we can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Certainly acceptance of aging is a key to aging gracefully – but which of the changes that commonly come with age are the “things we cannot change” and which are the “things we can change?”

What You Can and Cannot Change — Importance of Relaxation

These two major requirements of successful aging – accepting the aging process and not accepting what we can change — may at first seem contradictory. Sometimes success in life involves the ability embrace the paradox that when we accept life at it is at the moment, it paradoxically opens a doorway for positive change. A common example of this is the couple who finally “get pregnant” when they’ve given up and decide to adopt a child.

The bottom line, as I see it, is the ability to relax with whatever challenges us at any given time and that includes the changes aging brings. When we are relaxed, we are open to different ways of looking at things.

Relaxation brings us out of the “fight or flight” mode that causes us to act impulsively, and gives us more ability to reflect on things. Instead of running out to buy some new anti-aging product, we can spend some time examining our fears and learning whether they are based in reality or on some cultural programming that we’d be better off ignoring. (Read Debunking 5 Common Myths about Aging).

What We Can Change — The Role of Attitude and Lifestyle

It’s been discovered that attitude has an enormous role in how we age. Much of the decline that people experience with aging comes about due to the belief that decline in function and quality of life is part and parcel of aging. In addition, many of the problems of age are not due to the process of aging itself, but rather due to the effects of a lifetime of stress and poor health habits.

It’s never too late to change the two most important ingredients to graceful aging – attitude and lifestyle.

What We Cannot Change — Coming to Terms with Our Mortality

One thing we absolutely cannot change is the fact that every day brings us closer to death. This one fact alone may account for a great deal of our difficulty with aging. As soon as we see signs of aging, we are reminded that this body is eventually going to die. As we age, we come face to face with our mortality, and to deal with this we are thrown upon our spiritual resources. Our “spiritual health” may well be measured by how we face the fact of our mortality.

With the rest of the things we cannot change, there is more of a gray area, as we are only now starting to make scientific discoveries about the aging process. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that aging will bring change. With menopause, both male and female, we begin to live with a different hormonal environment. The appearance and function of our body changes and requires that we adapt. Our roles change dramatically as our children grow older and leave home, and we become grandparents rather than parents. At some point, many of us become parents to our parents as they enter their final years.

Growing older also brings more loss. Not only is there loss of many aspects of being young, more people we know die. This may be one of the most difficult aspects of aging. If we haven’t learned to grieve earlier in life, the all important task of learning to live with loss must be learned to avoid psychological and health problems. (Read Living with Grief).

Finding a Balance

Finally, graceful aging means finding a balance between acceptance of the inevitability of aging and doing what we can to remain vital and healthy as long as possible. Once again, we emphasize the importance of relaxing. Acceptance involves relaxation into life and the ability to flow with change. When we are relaxed, we stop fighting the inevitable. At the same time, relaxation is a key to better health and greater vitality.