How Your Thought Process Affect Your Hormones
My passion for psychology began in high school, when I received care from a therapist that made such an impact that my life was going to be devoted to giving back what she had provided. From almost future psychologist turned Naturopathic Doctor, I continuously witness
how we care for the body, but tend to neglect the 'mind' aspect of the mind-body connection, an effective way to address health and disease prevention.
During flu season, we can experience any symptom from a stuffy nose to a cough, to perhaps more severe symptoms like fever, and muscle aches. We may have gotten the same virus, but different expression. Similarly, we are all entitled to have a different emotional reaction when exposed to the same situation.
Are YOUR reactions 'normal'?
Ever feel like you're overreacting, or 'never used to respond like this'? You always considered yourself so much more level headed that whatever the heck is going on now, right??
You're right- it may not be 'just you'...
Our emotions are comprised of past experiences, what we learn and observe from others, and our physiology.
Some examples of how our physiology affects our hormones:
-Serotonin, our happy hormone, is made predominantly in our gut, so happy gut= more happy hormone. An efficient gut also processes all the vitamins and minerals we need to synthesize the hormones that contribute to our mood.
-Stress inhibits gut function, sleep, and multiple hormone levels, so if low levels of serotonin and dopamine are not already contributing to us being irritable and or depressed, then maybe it’s lack of sleep.
-Estrogen helps increase serotonin, and its receptors in the brain, however, a dramatic flux of hormones around a woman’s menstrual cycle or pregnancy may also contribute to an undesirable mood.
-Our DNA favorably changes when thinking happy thoughts, as negative thoughts direct resources and energy away from repair.
According to Psychologies publication, here’s what you can do to positively affect your hormones and emotions:
-Count your blessings= feelings of gratitude boost immunity, lower blood pressure, and speed healing. Oxytocin, our ‘bonding hormone’, is secreted by the heart whenever you feel open and connected, switching off your stress response.
-Burst into tears= One study noted that tears of women exposed to stress contained high levels of hormones related with stress, compared to tears of women exposed to onion. Holding back tears leaves the body prone to anxiety, including weakened immunity, impaired memory and poor digestion.
-Laugh= Go see a comedy show, or hang around a really funny person. Mood boosting hormones rose by 27% and human growth hormone (aids sleep and cellular repair) increased by 87% upon having a fit of the giggles. It also creates a decline of stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin.
-Fall in love= Yes, easier said than done. But you can have love for an animal too- and it’s a win-win situation! You get increased levels of nerve growth factor which helps restore the nervous system and improve memory, and your new friend gets a home.
And sometimes we're overwhelmed by information, or something worked only temporarily. FIND OUT how you can adjust your thought processes to get your hormones back in balance!