This is the 3rd and final article in a series about the endocrine glands in the brain.
A tiny gland in the brain called, the hypothalamus has an amazing role in managing the nervous system in the body. It manages the communication between the body and the brain through the nervous system and has a significant role in managing how we feel.
The hypothalamus works with the pituitary to release hormones that help regulate things like our emotions, hunger and satiety, immunity, memory input, and our parasympathetic and sympathetic response systems. The sympathetic is our fight or flight response to act fast in an urgent need, while the parasympathetic slows heart rate, sets the body for rest, digestion and sleep.
The busy world we live in (especially right now with Covid-19) can put us into continuous flight or fight response, which becomes overwhelming and exhausting. We can balance these demands on our nervous system by creating space for the body to recover itself.
On a physical level, we can support the hypothalamus with healthy lifestyle choices. These include good nutrition, food based supplements, food choices high in antioxidants, a good detoxification, getting plenty of sleep, regular exercise and spiritual practices that allow us to quiet the mind and body like yoga or meditation.
On an emotional level, we can make a powerful impact on how we feel and respond to a given situation in life, simply by recognizing that our thoughts drive the chemistry for our choices. Both the pituitary and hypothalamus generate hormones that affect our physical body and emotions. These glands respond to our feelings through the nervous system, AND also our thoughts about those feelings,
When emotions are high, we tend to lose grounding. This makes it harder to be in our intuitive wisdom that we rely on for our best decision making. Thoughts can amplify an upsetting emotion, or they can help calm the body. Here are three ways we can look at the interplay of our thoughts and emotions during a difficult situation:
1) Identity - Does it feel like this is about me? It is easy to jump to conclusions like this when we feel upset or offended. However, we can always choose to look at a situation with an open and objective mind, and recognize that most other people may be struggling with their own issues.
2) Perception - Am I seeing this situation as a crisis or something I can work through? Remembering our own past triumphs over challenging events can help us connect in with our strengths to shift perspective. And having more compassion for ourselves can help ease that inner critic and bring in more clarity.
3) Focus - Am I focusing on what has gone wrong or what is going right? Focusing on what is going right activates our intention to help us start moving in that direction. Focusing on what is right about the people in our lives helps us feel more calm and accepting of them.
Remember our thoughts drive the chemistry for our choices. And at any moment we can change our thoughts to shift our perspective and focus.
What kind of choices do you want to make?
- Fearful choice
- Empowered choice
- Grounded choice
- Safe choice
- Spiritually supported choice
- Loving choice
Blessings to each of you and your loved ones,