How our thoughts and emotions affect our health!

by Marie Baker and Michele Longo O'Donnell

There are three major sections of the human brain. The lower brain/reptilian brain is responsible for breathing, blood flow, body temperature and homeostasis. The mid brain/limbic system is referred to as the emotional brain, it stores emotional and behavioral patterns also known as our "adaptive survival responses". The higher brain/cortex is responsible for cognitive thought and gives us the ability to make choices; this is what distinguishes us as humans. Within 21 days of conception, our central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, has begun to develop. Our senses, including vibration, pain, sight, smell, sound, taste, touch, plus information from our internal organs, are relayed through the spinal cord to the brain for a response, creating our neurological pathways. With this in mind, you can begin to understand how long some of our neurological pathways or "adaptive survival responses" have been in place; this is why it can feel difficult to create change in our lives. Our sensory information is relayed to the lower brain first and if necessary, on to the mid-brain where it is integrated with your previous emotional and behavioral responses or "adaptive survival responses". Based on the information from the mid-brain, the cortex makes a judgment and the brain produces peptides that correspond with the emotion. These peptides go out into the bloodstream to find receptors on each cell that respond to that particular emotion and its peptide. So now we know that our thoughts actually produce chemicals in our body and these chemicals are called peptides. This peptide network expands beyond the brain; it is the language used by cells throughout the body to communicate across systems such as the endocrine, immune and gastro-intestinal systems. According to Candace Pert, author of Molecules of Emotion, we not only experience our emotions, they run every system in our body. It is a two way communication between the brain and the body. Every single cell in our body has peptide receptors; the receptors receive the message and transmit it from the surface of the cell deep into the cell's interior where the message can change the state of the cell dramatically. Events, feelings, sensations, thoughts and perhaps even spirit or soul release peptides creating a biochemical reaction in our bodies right down to the cellular level. The life of a cell and what it's up to at any given moment, is determined by which receptors are on its surface, and whether these receptors are occupied or not. Emotional memories (peptides) are stored in every single cell of the body and emotional memory stored through out the body can be accessed from anywhere in the network; not only do cells receive peptides; they produce them. Let's take a look at the gastro-intestinal system or gut; the entire lining of the intestines is lined with cells that contain peptides, it's entirely possible that this is why we feel our emotions in that part of the anatomy, often referring to them as the "gut feeling". What, then, is the relationship of mind and emotions to an individual's state of health? The peptides and their receptors are the substrates of our emotions, and they are in constant communication with the immune system, the mechanism through which health and disease are created. It is documented that there is a connection between "happy thoughts" and a healthy immune system but, it is also important to feel your anger, fear and sadness - the so-called negative emotions. To repress these emotions and not let them flow freely creates blockages and insufficient flow of peptide signals to maintain function at the cellular level, this is what contributes to the weakened immune system that can lead to disease. All honest emotions are positive emotions as long as they are expressed responsibly. Suppose we are driving down the road and someone cuts into our lane and nearly runs us off the road. The first thought that might come to us could be one of great anger at the driver's carelessness. If we hold onto that thought, some immediate physiological reactions will result. First, the fear and the anger send a message to our adrenal glands, which then release adrenaline. The adrenaline causes our blood vessels to constrict. This reduces the supply of oxygen carried in the bloodstream to our cells. When the cells become deprived of oxygen they die prematurely, which, in turn, increases the incidence of disease. (This explanation is an oversimplification of the complex physiological processes that occur when we encounter stress, but it highlights the key bodily effects.)
Now, let's say we go to work and we react to all the stressful incidents that occur during the day. Then we go home and watch people killing or in some way destroying each other on our TV set for a couple of hours. All day long we have indiscriminately allowed negative experiences and the thoughts associated with them to enter the gates of our city. These thoughts have systematically destroyed cells, interrupted the flow of various functions of our organs, and, by the end of the day, our Life Energy is in the red. Repeat this pattern day after day and it is little wonder that we end up with symptoms of disease.
So if we know that every thought is creating our future right down to the cellular level, it goes without saying that we need to feel good about ourselves and how we conduct ourselves in the world around us. If our goal is to create new thought processes, we need to create new neurological pathways and recognize that our emotional responses are "adaptive survival responses" that could have been put into place long before we remember. To create change you need to be present to each feeling or emotion that you experience as it processes through the mid-brain and use the higher brain to make a cognitive choice instead of resorting to the "adaptive survival response" that may not be appropriate for you anymore. Eventually, you will have laid down a new neurological pathway and therefore have a new thought process.

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