The Physiology of JOY - Part Two


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

The Brain and The Nervous System



The Nervous and Endocrine Systems

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 expand



Autonomic Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system, (also known as the visceral nervous system - although it only connects 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 function 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 has been described as non-adrenergic and non-cholinergic neurons; they use nitric oxide as a neurotransmitter instead of the main two ANS transmitters: noreadrenaline 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.

Note: 
Adrenergic nerve cells utilize epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline), or a similar substance as a neurotransmitter.

Cholinergic nerve cells use acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter.

Nitric oxide, the precursor to nitroglycerin, is only exchanged in the sinuses when nose breathing, and is another important reason why nose breathing is the best method for physiological health. 


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The brain, nerves and nerve tissue, internal organs, chemical neurotransmitters, connected to immune and digestive systems, are complementary, co-dependent, and cooperative systems, 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 physiological event. 





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Coming Next:
  • The Physiology of Joy Part Three
  • Part Four: The Psychology of Joy
  • What is Joy?
    • Neurochemistry: Happy Hormones 
      • Tears of Joy
      • Is Joy an Extraverted Emotion?
      • Vulnerability
      • Emotional Intelligence
      • Affective Neuroscience 
      • The Next Evolutionary Stage For Humans Is Already In Progress
      • Basic Health Habits and Joy
      • A Practical Guide to Joy


      DO YOU KNOW?
      • Neurogenesis
      • Cortical Re-Mapping (Neuroplasticity )
      • How Storytelling Affects The Brain
      • Daydreaming
      • Mindfulness Meditation
      • Dopaminergic Society
      • And more...





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