Mental Health

Optimal health consists of a triangle of factors:  physical, mental, and chemical.

MENTAL

There are entire fields of health care specializing in stress medicine and the chemistry of the mind. For more than a decade, evidence has been accumulating in the field of Neuroendocrinimmunology, which combines research on the brain, nervous, endocrine and immune systems.

Another area of study is in Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), which studies the effects of stress and attitude on our mind-body. Notice I didn’t separate the two into mind and body since the evidence is showing that they are inseparable.

The majority of the public hasn’t heard of these studies because of the impenetrable medical jargon used in these journals. Even college texts still treat the immune system as separate from the brain and hormones.

We know through recent scientific research that the nervous, endocrine and immune systems do communicate. Chiropractors have always been taught and have treated patients from this perspective.

New research has shown that mental stress can trigger physical sickness.

Dr. Matthew Kluger and colleagues at the Lovelace Research Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, demonstrated that animals placed in an unfamiliar environment responded to new visual and auditory stimuli with an immune reaction very much like the physical reaction they had to infections.

In other words, the thoughts that were stimulated by a strange environment caused physical sickness!

A primary cause of a decline in cognitive abilities is long term stress. Chronic stress causes the over-production of stress hormones, which creates the “fight or flight” syndrome, and another hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol is a glucocorticoid hormone release by your adrenal glands and is highly catabolic, which means it destroys tissue. Cortisol chews up muscle and brain tissue rapidly.

Dr. Hans Seyle wrote about it decades ago.

A Stanford neurobiologist, Robert Sapolsky PhD, recently discovered that stress has a profoundly negative effect on the brain. It contributes to death of brain cells, interferes with neurotransmitters, and starves the brain of its only fuel, glucose.

Over a decade of studies have shown that an excess of cortisol triggered by negative mental states can damage the hippocampus, the part of the brain most responsible for memory.

A study published in the journal of Biological Psychiatry found that the extent of hippocampus damage in a group of former soldiers was directly proportional to the severity of their combat exposure in war.

Stress-related cortisol overproduction is not the only cause of brain cell death.

Other factors are inadequate nutrition, environmental toxins, drug and alcohol use, impaired circulation to the brain, and lack of mental exercise.

If the brain is not regularly engaged in mental exercise, it begins to atrophy physically, just like a muscle. The hippocampus can shrink up to 25% without regular use. If you don’t use it… you lose it!

Exercise and the brain: something to chew on-Henriette van Praag -Trends in Neurosciences Vol.32 No.5-Neuroplasticity and Behavior Unit, Laboratory of Neurosciences, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.  Link:Exercise and the brain: something to chew on

So how do we decrease our cortisol production?

Relaxation techniques, prayer, meditation, and a lot more laughter!

“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while Nature cures the disease.”-Voltaire

Laughter is helpful in reducing stress and is hearty medicine that boosts the immune system and triggers a flood of pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain.

Pioneering studies from Dr. Lee Berk and Dr.Stanley Tan have shown that some of the benefits of laughter are lowered blood pressure, increased muscle flexion, and increased beta endorphins.

It also helps stimulate the nervous system, regulate the endocrine system, and provides a safety valve that shuts off the flow of stress hormones. Loma Linda University researchers said, “Humor has health enhancing properties, some of which have yet to be explored.”

Dr. Berk, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine said “If we took what we know about laughing and bottled it, we would need FDA approval.”

Laughter’s most profound effects are on the immune system!

Natural killer cells that destroy viruses and tumors increase with a good belly laugh. Studies show that immunogolbin-A (IGA), a key immune component, increases when a patient laughs.

Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist, has developed a theory during his 30 years of research into the nature of success and happiness. He published his findings in The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

He doesn’t think rest and eliminating stress are the keys to happiness.

His research has shown passive leisure doesn’t create contentment nor does it build positive energy.

What he discovered is that people who have a clear goal, which gives an immediate feedback telling them what they are doing is positive and making a difference, are among the most successful and confident.

He also noted that people who love what they’re doing tend to lose themselves in the activity and become empowered in the job of the task itself. Now that’s true health!

“Laughter is the best medicine for a long and happy life. He who laughs… lasts.” Wilfred Peterson

Link to some humor:George Carlin’s Views on Aging

Link to: INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE

CONCLUSION

Most of the health problems Americans are now suffering from, including the Six Deadly Diseases, can be avoided.

They are diseases of lifestyle; years of eating poorly, not taking nutritional supplements, not exercising appropriately, not paying attention to spinal health, and living a stressful life with too little laughter, prayer and meditation.

If we could feel the immediate consequences of our lifestyle choices, most of us would change those habits today.

Pay more attention to the three areas of your Triangle of Health and live a longer, more fulfilling life full of vitality, hope and joy, beginning today!

When you have 1 1/2 hours…this is a good youtube video of Jon Kabat-Zinn – “The Healing Power of Mindfulness”

Good books to check out…

The Brain That Changes Itself-by Dr. Norman Doidge-The discovery of neuroplasticity, that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains, even into old age, is the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years. He introduces principles we can all use to overcome a number of brain limitations and explores the profound brain implications of the changing brain in an immensely moving book that will permanently alter the way we look at human possibility and human nature.

SPARK-by Dr. John Ratey is a groundbreaking exploration of the connection between exercise and the brain’s performance that shows how even moderate exercise will supercharge mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen thinking, enhance memory, and much more.SPARK will change forever the way you think about your morning run—or, for that matter, simply the way you think.

The Talent Code-by Daniel Coyle (New York Times bestselling author)

3 books by Malcom Gladwell: The Tipping point, Blink, Outliers

If you are suffering from: Sports Injuries, Sprains, Strains, Car accident,  Herniated Disc, Disc Bulge, Degenerative Disc Disease, Neck pain, Headaches, Low back pain, of just want to feel better and have better life performance– please call our office in Irvine, California- at 949.857.1888 or visit our website at ADJUST2IT to learn more about Functional Fitness ChiropracticSports massage,Myofascial ReleaseCorrective ExerciseNon Surgical Spinal DecompressionClass IV laser,  and Functional Nutrition.

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