Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Booting Your Brain's "Positive", 2
Think of your brain as your innate command center for the molecular chemical--neurotransmitter and hormonal--changes that occur in both your brain and body when you embrace and live a positive mindset. When your brain receives a pleasure stimulus (or even anticipates a pleasurable experience), it activates its reward system in the limbic system. This results in the release of dopamine, the feel better chemical that goes at least to the amygdalae (those twin almond-shaped brain organs that process emotion) and to the prefrontal cortex (the portion of the brain right behind your forehead that contains high-level executive functions including conscious thought). [Dopamine release is also associated with addictive behaviors, many of which may be pleasurable but are harmful in the long term such as smoking, taking drugs, gambling excessively, engaging in promiscuous sexual activity or even viewing pronography.] Endorphins, your brain's opiate-like chemicals, are also associated with pleasurable sensations be they released by eating chocolate or by physical exercise. Turns out than maintaining an attitude of gratitude can also have a similar effect. More tomorrow.