How do emotions affect your health as you’re healing from cancer or just trying to stay as healthy as possible?
So, how do emotions affect your health both positively and negatively? To best illustrate this, let me share with you here an example. There are two systems in our body that regulate the way the body works, the nervous system which is the brain and the peripheral nerves. The second is the endocrine system which is the hormone system.
These are the two main control mechanisms of the body which control a lot of the organ and cellular functioning. These two systems actually connect together at a place in the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus releases chemicals that stimulate the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is often referred to as a master gland of the body.
As the master gland of the body, the pituitary gland tells the ovaries, testis, thyroid and adrenal glands what to do. Now, let’s imagine this, two thirty year old women become roomates. This was a result of one of them running an ad. It ends up they really like each other and they get along very well. And, within one to two months, they find out they are menstruating at the same time.
Now, they did not plan this, they didn’t think or talk about it, it just happened. That’s the power of the neuroendocrine axis. It’s very subtle but it is a very real thing. We know that positive emotions stimulate our natural killer cells. Natural killer cells are lymphocytes which are a certain type of white blood cell. They kill cancer and virally infected cells and cells that have intracellular parasites.
How do emotions affect your health and the best ways to keep them in balance
We know for a fact that laughter increases not only the number of natural killer cells but also their ability to do what they need to do. Also, we know that fear, doubt, pain, all these things diminish our natural killer cell count and effectiveness. We can actually measure these effects. That should be enough for us to realize that impact of positive versus negative emotions.
I was thinking back to an experiment I read back about when I was in graduate school. They had a group of people are these red hot iron pokers and then they blinded them and had only placed an ice cube on their hand. The skin on their hands actually shriveled up as if it had been burned as they were anticipating heat.
It’s incredibly powerful and because of that power, one of the many things we do at An Oasis Of Healing is teach people to laugh, meditate and still the mind. This is just as important as the nutritional aspect. When the emotional piece and the nutritional piece are both in check, this has profound positive effects on our long term health.