Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Chemistry of Emotions


Yes, we are chemists! As we think, we shape the chemistry of our brain and blood, we shape the chemistry of our relationships, and we also shape the chemistry of our life. Even though we think of chemists as people who work in labs, everyone is a chemist and the labs we work in are the laboratories of our bodies, our homes, and the laboratories of our own lives. Here are the different ways we are chemists.

1) How we practice brain chemistry

As we think, we practice brain and blood chemistry. When we think about someone or something that stresses us, then we produce stress chemistry in our brain and blood stream.

We elevate levels of cortisol, adrenalin, norepinephrine, and histamine. Prolonged thinking like this often leads to a build up of free radicals and inflammatory cytokines in our bloodstream. These are chemicals that play a role in heart disease and ageing. And we are doing this with our mind!

If we were to think of someone that we love instead, or think of a moment of affection, then we produce different chemistry. We elevate levels of dopamine, serotonin, growth hormone, and oxytocin.

If we consistently think of positive thoughts, we increase oxytocin in our bloodstream, which helps sweep those damaging free radicals and cytokines out of our blood. It is a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone and again, we are doing this with our mind.

Research shows that a hostile mindset is linked with cardiovascular disease. People who tend to be most hostile and aggressive have a much higher risk of heart disease than the general population. An attitude of love, compassion and kindness, on the other hand, is associated with better cardiovascular health.

2) How we practice relationship chemistry

A hostile or aggressive mindset also shatters relationship quality. It steers conversations towards complaints and criticism and guides us away from the things that really matter.

When we overly focus on what’s wrong with things or what’s wrong in the world, we get so caught up in the emotions of anger and frustration that we actually miss out on savouring special moments that happen around us. During these times, we move farther away, emotionally, from those who matter most to us.

When we point the mind towards the heart and focus on what’s good and the good qualities in people, we sow the seeds of emotional closeness. People find us more approachable and more enjoyable to be around. We gradually move closer, emotionally, to those who matter most to us, as well as build a network of people who value us for who we are.

3) How we practice life chemistry

Our thinking also shapes the events and circumstances of our lives. We move towards, or attract, those things that we give most attention to.

The trouble most of us have is that while we might have a goal or aspiration, we only give it a fraction of our focus. Throughout the day, a whole manner of things occupy a greater portion of our minds: how crappy our current state of affairs is, how such and such a person is causing us stress, how little money left at the end of each month, as well as, of course, a lot of happy thoughts too. But most of us generally apportion a larger percentage of our thinking to where we are and the woes of the past than to imagine and vision our future. We need to flip this around a bit and learn to direct a better portion of our attention to where we want to go.

Even if it’s not an 'event' or ‘thing’ we want a state of mind learning to direct more of our attention inwards, perhaps through prayer and supplication.

So everyone is a chemist. I like to reflect on the fact that I started out to explore the power of the human mind. You may have read my book, ‘Mind Control System’ and realised that we never stop being a chemist at all. I have just learned to practice different kinds of chemistry, kinds of chemistry that we are all practising in every moment of our lives. We just don’t realise that we are doing it.

Now if we do realise it, we can impact our health in a favourable way, we can nurture and build our relationships, and we can use our chemistry prowess to shape the landscape of our lives.

Most people grow up with the idea that the mind is impotent, that its only function is to interpret life, think and make decisions. But the mind can be thought of, as a force, one that pushes chemistry in the brain and body, one that brings love into our lives, and one that pushes outwards to create our hopes and dreams.

We are much more than we think we are and far more capable than we think we are! As long as we believe in ourself!