Hormones & Health
The hypothalamus is an area near the center of the brain, located above the pituitary gland, and its “job” is to keep us in a healthy and balanced state. It does this by acting as the connector between our nervous and endocrine systems.
Our endocrine system regulates all our biological processes and is made up of our body’s different hormones.
Our nervous system carries messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to various parts of our body. Two parts of our nervous system are the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system directs involuntary responses to dangerous or stressful situations we encounter, often called the “fight or flight response.” When the sympathetic nervous system is activated we go into “survival mode” and the “stress hormones” adrenaline and cortisol are released in our body. Both these hormones are produced in the adrenal glands.
Although stress hormones are necessary to be able to deal with stressful situations, over-exposure to adrenaline and cortisol can cause:
• sleep problems
• digestive problems
• muscle tension & pain
• impaired memory & concentration
• heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, & stroke
After activated, the sympathetic nervous system does not destress on its own. The parasympathetic nervous system needs to be activated in order for us to “destress.” The parasympathetic nervous system controls the body’s ability to relax and its main nerve is the vagus nerve. The parasympathetic nervous system releases the “happy hormones” dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins into our body. All these hormones are produced in the hypothalamus (among other places) and travel down the vagus nerve to our heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, abdomen, and genitals.
If our parasympathetic nervous system is functioning well, then:
• migraines are reduced
• we experience better digestion
• our immune system is strengthened
• we experience better physical health
• we experience better emotional health
• we experience an increase in happiness
• risk of heart disease & stroke are reduced
In summary, when we get stressed, our adrenal glands release stress hormones. In order to de-stress, our hypothalamus must release happy hormones. While stress hormones are released involuntarily, each of us has the ability, and can learn how, to voluntarily release our happy hormones and bring ourselves back into balance.
Methods which we can use to voluntarily produce our happy hormones include:
• getting exercise
• feeling gratitude
• getting direct sunlight
• eating something delicious
• listening to music you enjoy
• practicing meditation and yoga
• getting a good night’s sleep (7 - 9 hours)
In addition to the above, various breathing methods such as Making Happy Hormones can be practiced.
By combining healthy lifestyle choices (as listed above), engaging in breathing exercises (like Making Happy Hormones), and taking tincture remedies designed to support brain and nervous system health (like Apollo’s Lyre Lion’s Mane Tincture), we can develop and maintain a state of neurological balance and harmony within our daily lives.