One of my long time friends (whose initials are jw but shall remain nameless) is a bit of a sugarcarboholic and green isn’t her favorite food color. She also is in chronic pain and lacks energy. When I found this research I wanted to share it and I know she reads this blog.
The Chemistry of Joy
Our mood, outlook and energy levels are determined to a huge extent by the chemicals serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and their relationship to one another.
We feel good when they are in balance. Beta endorphins also create a feeling of well-being, connectedness to others, and emotional stability. They even help us tolerate pain.
- If levels of norepinephrine and dopamine are low, people will slow down, sleep a lot, have trouble concentrating and find it hard to motivate themselves. They can have a “sluggish” depression.
- On the other hand, people with high levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, and possibly low levels of serotonin often feel angry, resentful and despairing. They can be critical and demanding. This would be an “agitated ” depression.
- A third kind of depression can occur with low levels of serotonin, which results in people feeling fearful , worried and inadequate. This is an “anxious” depression.
In the Kitchen by Peggy
- Sluggish Depression – Eating to INCREASE norepinephrine and dopamine:
Eat high quality proteins throughout the day, lean beef, low-fat meats and fish.
- Agitated Depression – Eating to DECREASE norepinephrine and dopamine:
eat the same as to increase serotonin but eat very small amounts of protein. A vegetarian diet would be good.
- Anxious Depression – Eating to INCREASE serotonin:
Increase carbs, eat tryptophan, which is in nuts, dairy, and meats. Eat regularly throughout the day. Get some protein, but not a large amount.
SUGAR (also alcohol) elevates beta endorphins, which may be why people have sugar cravings. This elevation only lasts a short time, because the body metabolizes it quickly. This results in a “low” that follows the sugar “high”, and you want more sugar! My friend (who shall remain nameless) can avoid this by eating complex carbs and protein.
Cholesterol helps the brain make the chemicals we need. So if you are depressed, eat some fat: Halibut, salmon, grains and nuts that have omega 3 and animal fat with omega 6 are both needed in balance.
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Hopefully my friend will not only read this post but start to eat better. To make sure, I’ll suggest it for the book we are working on . . .
“Hacking Your Way to Happiness” (It’s a work in progress, just like my friend).
“No new research was issued Thursday. Instead, the National Toxicology Program dialed up its concerns about a link to heart and brain cancer from a study of male rats that was made public last winter.”
THE ORIGINAL STUDY
“In a $30 million study, scientists put rats and mice into special chambers and bombarded them with radiofrequency waves, like those emitted by older 2G and 3G phones, for nine hours a day for up to two years, most of their natural lives.”
“The levels the rodents experienced were far higher than people are typically exposed to.”
“Last February, the National Toxicology Program said there was a small increase in an unusual type of heart tumor in male rats, but not in mice or female rats. The agency concluded there was “some evidence” of a link. Also, the February report cited “equivocal evidence” of brain tumors in the male rats.”
“Thursday, the agency upgraded its description of those findings. The heart tumor increase marked “clear evidence” of cancer in male rats, it announced. There is “some evidence” of brain cancer.”
“The change came after the agency asked outside experts to analyze the findings.”
“We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumors in male rats is real, and the external experts agreed,” said John Bucher, the toxicology agency’s senior scientist.”
“While his agency said the risks to rats don’t directly apply to people, the study raises safety questions.”
“The FDA immediately disagreed, firing off a press release assuring Americans that “decades of research and hundreds of studies” has made the health agency confident that the current safety limits for cellphone radiation protect the public health.”
“Plus, FDA pointed out confusing findings from the rodent study — such as that the radiated rats lived longer than comparison rats that weren’t exposed to the rays. The toxicology agency said it appeared that the radio-frequency energy helped older rats’ kidneys.”
“There’s a reason two different government agencies are clashing — they’re asking different questions, said George Washington University public health professor George Gray.”
“A former science chief for the Environmental Protection Agency, Gray said the toxicology program examined how cellphone radiation affected animals. By looking at what it means for humans, the FDA “brings in more sources of information and data than just these recent tests in rats and mice,” he said in an email.”
You be the judge.
I have little, VERY little, memories of my childhood or adolescence – or adulthood for that matter. It concerned me when a therapist colleague said “not remembering” was an indication of repressed memory probably of horrible childhood trauma. Ai yiiii yiiiiii. Maybe I was beaten, or worse, and all these years believing I had nice parents.
I told a psychiatrist friend about my memory “affliction”thinking he would suggest decades of psycho-analysis at best and in-patient treatment at worst. He looked passively at me and without the slightest hesitation said, “All that indicates is your childhood was boring.”
This is one of my aha moments that I DO remember and spurred me to investigate the neuro-biology of emotion. What does that have to do with hang-over? Read on!
You already know without a doubt that most of your memories are ones that were highly emotional experiences.
“Emotional experiences can induce physiological and internal brain states that persist for long periods of time after the emotional events have ended, a team of New York University scientists has found. This study, which appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience,also shows that this emotional “hangover” influences how we attend to and remember future experiences.”
“How we remember events is not just a consequence of the external world we experience, but is also strongly influenced by our internal states–and these internal states can persist and color future experiences,”explains Lila Davachi, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science and senior author of the study.”
“‘Emotion’ is a state of mind, . . . findings make clear that our cognition is highly influenced by preceding experiences and, specifically, that emotional brain states can persist for long periods of time.”’
” . . . data showed that the brain states associated with emotional experiences carried over for 20 to 30 minutes and influenced the way the subjects processed and remembered future experiences that are not emotional.”
“We see that memory for non-emotional experiences is better if they are encountered after an emotional event,” observes Davachi.
I’m so relieved! Not only wasn’t I beaten . . . or worse . . . the biggest hang-over I’ve experienced was the result of my exceptionally boring life.
Initially posted on CATNIPblog.com
*To read the entire article, who the authors are and the research behind it click HERE.
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual … “
Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
Hold up your hand for just a second. Feel anything?
At any given second 100 trillion neutrinos are passing through your body . . .RIGHT NOW.
The majority of neutrinos in the vicinity of the Earth are from nuclear reactions in the Sun. The solar neutrino flux for us on Earth is about 65 billion neutrinos, passing through just one square centimeter of area on earth, every second. That’s a lot of neutrinos and we are not able to see them, sense them nor understand them.
There is so much, too much, that is not perceivable to our limited senses nor explainable by our reason.
I was a psychotherapist in private practice for 30 years. Not only did people share their fears and sorrows but unexplainable encounters with spirits, near death experiences and life altering experiences with the divine. I admit I was sometimes skeptical. Over time it became impossible, to dismiss what intelligent, discerning people shared.
I now think of science as one wing and religion as the other wing of a bird; a bird needs two wings for flight, one alone would be useless . . .
. . . and I circled back to my study of faith and my belief we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed. I discovered two faiths I’d not originally studied – Unitarian Universalism and Baha’i. They not only complemented each other but each offered something a bit different.
Baha’is believe in and share all the UU principles:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
. . . and most importantly the 7th UU principle –
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
The Baha’i World Faith brought me full circle back to childhood and to God but it wasn’t the God of fear but of love.
When I read the three core principles which are the basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity. From these stems the belief that God periodically reveals his will through divine messengers: Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Krishna the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh. It was an “ah-ha moment for me that all establishers of religion. the great religions of the world, represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society. That religion is seen as orderly, unified, and progressive from age to age unexpectedly resonated.
Through decades of trials and tribulations I realize the magical thinking in my childhood, that the world revolved around me, wasn’t quite accurate . . . however,
. . . perhaps some magical thinking persists 60+ years later. Every morning I say a Baha’i prayer for family, friends, acquaintances, past clients and a prayer for those who have passed. The recitation of all the people grows longer each day and takes longer than the prayers . . . The difference between then and now is my prayers are steeped in love, not terror.
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I’m attending a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.
To read Part I, The Interconnectedness of All Beings click HERE
Read Part II, Head & Heart click HERE
Read Part III – Stardusted, click HERE
Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, says it best . . .
“So you’re made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?”
Not only are we synchronizing our heads and hearts, one with another, (Part II) we are interconnected with the Universe. All is from the same matter.
We are made of stardust. It’s like a line from a song, but there is some solid science behind this : Almost every element on earth, including you and me, was formed from the heart of a star.
Next time you’re out gazing at the stars, (all 5 stars we can actually see in a city) twinkling in the night sky, you are looking at the energy released by nuclear fusion reactions at their cores.
When a massive star explodes at the end of its life, the resulting high energy enables the creation of oxygen, carbon, iron, nickel, and all the other elements – the building blocks which make up the world around us and in us.
The explosion disperses these elements across the universe, scattering the stardust through stellar winds which makes up planets including Earth, eventually some of it finds its way into our bodies.
There is so much we are not able to perceive through our senses: The Earth’s electromagnetic fields that guide animals engaged in long-distance migrations, sea turtles and Monarch butterflies, birds, use Earth’s magnetic field as a navigational system; smells which compel my dog Freddie to lift his leg; dreams that portend the future.
I admit I don’t understand science.
How do liver cells know how to make more liver cells and new heart cells know how to take up the beat? We’re not fixed at all. We’re more like a pattern or a process, a transient body, cells continually dying and rebuilding all the time, and a continual flow of energy and matter being created . . . without my awareness . . .
Not only are our hearts synchronizing, our brain waves vibrating in unison but the very atoms of our cells are dying, being reborn and quivering in recognition we are all made of stardust.
Everything around us does this. Nature is not outside us. We are nature.