BlogHer December NaBloPoMo: JOY

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There is a light that shines above all things on earth. Above us all, above the heavens; the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our heart.     Upanishads

BlogHer National Blog Post Month

HEALTH COACH is taking part in the BlogHer National Blog Post Month for the month of December. The topic of study all month long is joy. Nine-tenths of the activity here at HEALTH COACH takes place behind the scenes and involves research.

Please visit The Physiology of Joy, Part One.

The Brain and The Nervous EcoSystem

The Physiology of Joy
Part Two 

Neural Tracts: A Two-Way Path
Emotions are relayed to the organs of the endocrine system and the immune system through a shared link: the autonomic nervous system. As a result, emotions can affect the internal organs that control the immune system. A positive mental attitude (a basic health habit) has the ability to boost body functions and the resistance to disease. 

Emotions are in part, a chemical event; therefore the physical environment that you create through your basic health habits supplies the building materials for the structural matrix and the chemical ecosystem for healthy physiological function and healthy emotion.

Organization of the Nervous System - click to enlarge

Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system, (also known as the visceral nervous system - although it is only connected with the motor side), is a division of the peripheral nervous system which is the part of the nervous system that consists of the nerves and ganglia outside of the brain and spinal cord, that functions as a control system (largely below the level of consciousness), over the function of internal organs. These functions include heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, salivation, perspiration, pupillary dilation, urination, sexual arousal, breathing, and swallowing.

Within the brain, the autonomic nervous system is regulated by the hypothalamus, one of the main structures of the limbic system. Autonomic functions include control of respiration, cardiac regulation, vasomotor activity (dilation and constriction of blood vessels), and certain reflex actions such as coughing, sneezing, swallowing, and vomiting.

The Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems
The autonomic nervous system has two branches: the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The sympathetic nervous system is often considered the fight or flight system, while the parasympathetic nervous system is often considered the rest and digest, or feed and breed system. In many cases, PSNS and SNS have opposite actions where one system activates a physiological response, and the other inhibits it. 

The sympathetic nervous system is a quick response, mobilizing system, and the parasympathetic is a more slowly activated, dampening system, but even this has exceptions; such as in sexual arousal and orgasm, wherein both play a role.

In general, the autonomic nervous system functions can be divided into sensory (afferent) and motor (efferent) subsystems. Within both, there are inhibitory and excitatory synapses between neurons (brain cells). 

Relatively recently, a third subsystem of neurons have been described as non-adrenergic and non-cholinergic neurons; they use nitric oxide as a neurotransmitter instead of the main two ANS transmitters: noradrenaline and acetylcholine - and are integral in autonomic function; in particular, the digestive system, and the lungs.

Most autonomous functions are involuntary but they can often work in conjunction with the somatic nervous system which provides voluntary control.

Basic Health Habits and Emotion
The ecosystem of brain, nerves and nerve tissue, internal organs, chemical neurotransmitters and hormones, connected to immune and digestive systems, is linked by a two-way delivery system and is a complimentary, co-dependent, and cooperative system dependent on your basic health habits. Neglect of basic health habits leads to physical deterioration, malfunction, and a cascade effect of health complications; including an adverse effect on emotion, which is a physical event. 

I am looking for the extra in the ordinary

Coming Soon:
  • The Physiology of Joy Part Three
  • Neurochemistry: Happy Hormones 
  • What is Joy?
  • Is Joy an Extroverted Emotion?
  • Tears of Joy
  • Vulnerability
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Affective Neuroscience 
  • The Next Evolutionary Stage 
  • Basic Health Habits and Joy
  • A Practical Guide to Joy

    HEALTH COACH Talks with Olam Qatan Proprietor,  and Scholar, Ya'qub ibn Yusuf, in Jerusalem, about joy

    • Neurogenesis
    • Cortical Re-Mapping (Neuroplasticity )
    • How Storytelling Affects The Brain
    • Daydreaming
    • Mindfulness Meditation
    • Music and the Brain
    • Dopaminergic Society
    • and more...

    Art Credit