Internal Friction…….Hijacked Hormones and Brain Chemistry
Part 4 of 5
As our hormones shift and start to take short cuts and get all thrown off we start to see changes begin to happen in our brain and nervous system. Our brain and nervous system’s cells do not reproduce like most other cells so we have to take excellent care of them. These nervous system cells do make new connections and re-connect constantly to give us countless new options in our health, healing and function and this process can be displaced and interfered with when the inner friction builds to this point. Our brain cells are very high powered little machines and they need a lot of energy and nutrients to keep them happy and firing in a healthful way. When our hormones are causing friction for our brain chemistry and we add life stress into the equation we see a compounding negative effect. The process of running our brain cells is very expensive so to speak using a lot of different vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep that high quality, high performing brain running. When these sources of nutrients from our food start to run low the brain has to start to budget and starts cutting corners.
As the brain budgets, just like we do, it has to start to picking and choosing which processes and mechanisms it is going to “fund” and with what. One of the first things that we see is that it starts to try and stretch its energy use and downgrades the fuel it uses and how it uses it. It is like going from super octane fuel to a plus grade, then to a standard grade, and to eventually a low grade and at times a very substandard fuel. With each downgrade of the fuel that the brain uses it burns more and more dirty, as in producing more and more residues, just like in the engine of your car. As these residues build up they clog up a whole lot of the machinery in the brain. Soon, due to this lack of nutrient resources forcing the down regulating of how the brain uses fuel it causes oxidation which is like rust in the brain and that causes inflammation. Oxidation and inflammation in the brain is the friction that takes our health issues to a whole new level.
At this level of friction from the oxidation and inflammation we start seeing changing in the normal balance, function, utilization and production of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. When these chemicals, or neurotransmitters, start developing issues in this process it changes how we feel, our mood, our energy levels, ability to concentration, our memory, and can produce potentially addictive behavior like urges, impulsivity, and can hi-jack other parts of our brain that run our logic centers, rational thought, morals, decision making, and cost benefit balance type of thinking. Oh, did I mention it can change our mood? Big time, and it can change our demeanor, our motivation, adherence to our values, it can blur our goals, and can literally alter what and how we think.
Once this brain chemistry friction wheel starts turning it is real hard to stop it, never mind turn it around. It is a slippery slope that once we start down it we slide right down the mountain into nothing but trouble and despair. This is exactly what happens in this poor mental economy when the friction tips our cup and we spill over with negative thoughts that come fast and furious, one after another, quickly escalating the perceived negative thoughts and pulls us into a hole of anxiety, depression, and altered thinking. We start thinking in ways that are not us. Just like we are thinking someone else’s thoughts and it doesn’t take long to start to feel we are really far off our mental mark and in a word, crazy. In reality it is the mental friction and the breach of our tipping point that is changing our biochemistry and physiology and driving our thoughts to a place we would never go otherwise.
So far I have outlined how we accumulate the different friction byproducts and fill our glass to the very rim leaving us vulnerable to a tipping incident at any point of the day. Some days it seems all we do is mop up the spillage from the constant, repetitive, tipping that can happen multiple times a day. Three fourths of the friction equation is body centric, building from the cells, then flowing to the hormones, and then reaching the brain chemistry, with the remaining one fourth of the equation being mental, or more specifically, what we believe.
Yes, you read that right, I said what we believe. A very oversimplified way to think of it is that our experiences throughout our life forms our memories and based on these memories and experience concept we choose our beliefs. Now, we can’t change our past or the experiences we have been through, but we can change how we interpret what those experiences mean to us and how we approach similar experiences in the future. What we believe about any given experience will determine how any future experience impacts us mentally and physically. I know it sounds out there, but it is true and this concept has been shown sound in multiple studies with thousands of people in multiple countries spanning many years. What these research studies found was that it was not the level or type of stress that determined how stress effected their health and happiness.
Yes, some people did have very negative health outcomes from their stress, and others had very significant stress events with little to no negative health effects. What made the difference? Remember this concept from the beginning of the article here? What determines which side of the stress line these stress events in life fall? What determines whether my stress hurts me or heals me? As it turns out, it is whether you believe stress is bad or not. People who believed that stress was part of life, that is was not necessarily bad or thought stress could even be good for you are the ones that were not negatively effected health and happiness wise from their stress, even at very high and prolonged levels of stress. People who believed that stress kills people and will ruin their health saw major negative health effects from their stress, and not just at high levels but even at relatively low levels of stress. In fact, the low stress level people who believed that stress was bad had more negative health effects than people who saw stress as part of life but had very high stress levels! The only discernable difference the researchers could find in these groups was how they believed stress would effect them.
Those are some amazing facts are they not? I find this stuff fascinating.
To be continued……
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