Love at the level of biology is all chemicals. The attraction process is strongly linked to physiological arousal that typically starts with increased heart rate and sweatiness. When you catch sight of your beloved, your heart starts racing because of an adrenaline rush.
The brain sends signals to the adrenal gland, which secretes hormones such as adrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine. They flow through the blood and cause the heart to beat faster and stronger. It is similar to a fast heartbeat while running on a treadmill. For people with serious heart problems, love could actually be dangerous because when the heart rate goes up, the heart uses more oxygen, which can be risky for a person with blood vessel blockages or who has had a prior heart attack. Good medicines such as beta blockers help curb the adrenaline response. The norepinephrine, a stress hormone that governs attention and responding actions, makes one feel weak in the knees. The brain imaging studies of people who said they were "madly in love" showed activity in the area of the brain that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Dopamine and norepinephrine are closely related. Dopamine gives you focused attention, the craving, the euphoria, the energy and the motivation to win life’s greatest prize. This norepinephrine response seems to be more active in people who are in love. Serotonin system too plays a role. Data from an Italian study indicate that a drop in serotonin levels is associated with obsessive thinking. The stress hormone cortisol has also been shown to have implications for love. Those who are in love show an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol.
Three brain systems play vital role in romantic love: sex drive, love and attachment. The sex drive evolved to get you to look for a lot of partners, the "love" portion is for focusing mating energy on one specific person at a time, and attachment is for allowing you to tolerate the partner — at least, long enough to have children with him or her. These systems are often connected, but can function separately. You can start out with one of them — casual sex, or an intense feeling of love, or an emotional connection — and move on to the others. For example, what may start out as a one-night stand may feel like more because the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, released during orgasm, make you feel deeply attached to someone. You may feel in love after that, or instead feel somehow responsible for the person, because of these hormones.
The romantic love doesn’t have to die. The activity level in the brains of people who are in love after 20 years of marriage is same as in people who had just fallen in love. This brain area makes dopamine and sends it to other areas. In the days of early humans, in hunting-and-gathering societies, these qualities were especially advantageous for finding a person to bear and raise children.
Love also has health benefits for people who have aged beyond their reproductive years. Being in love makes people feel optimistic, energetic, focused and motivated, which were all positive for health and societal contribution in the early days of humans. So, it makes sense evolutionarily that people can still fall in love after their childbearing period.
Romance is good for health. Studies have shown that people who have frequent sex are generally healthier, with a longer life, fewer coronary events and lower blood pressure. A 1995 study in the journal Demography found that marriage adds seven years to a man’s life and two years to a woman’s.
It is hypothesized that people for whom the love is still new will respond to the stress and recover from it quicker than those who have recently been in a breakup or have been in a relationship for a long time. The guess is that when individuals are falling in love, they are walking around with rose-colored glasses.
Since lightning is electricity, how hot can a lightning bolt be?
Hotter than you probably think, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University. "Scientists have done numerous experiments on this very subject," McRoberts explains, "and the air around a lightning bolt can reach as high as 54,000 degrees. That is over five times hotter than the surface of the sun. That is why when the air gets that hot, it expands faster than the speed of sound, and the compressed air around it sends out a quick shock wave — and that is thunder. Since one bolt is really several bolts strung together, there are several of these shock waves one right after another, each at a different altitude. That is why thunder often seems to rumble. One bolt can contain millions of volts of electricity, McRoberts adds, "That’s why lightning can be such a killer — it is extremely powerful. About 100 U.S. residents are killed by lightning each year, and remember that worldwide, there are more than 1,000 thunderstorms at any given moment, causing 6,000 lightning strikes per minute. It has been estimated that the Empire State Building in New York City is struck by lightning an average of 25 times each year.”
This is a photograph taken from the teenager (shirtless guy) named Austin Schafer’s Twitter account, of a kid being tied up and beaten by upper classmen at Columbia High School in Nampa, Idaho.
President Franklin Roosevelt famously asserted, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." I think he was right, actually. Fear of fear probably causes more problems in life than fear. That claim needs a bit of explaining. Fear has a bad reputation among most human beings. Fear is not nearly as complicated as we try to make it. A simple and useful definition of fear can be an anxious feeling, caused by our anticipation of some imagined event or experience.
Medical experts tell that the anxious feeling we get when we are afraid is a standardized biological reaction. It is pretty much the same set of body signals, whether we are afraid of getting bitten by a dog, getting turned down for a date, or getting our taxes audited. Fear, like all other emotions, is basically information. It offers us knowledge and understanding if we choose to accept it of our psychobiological status.
There are only five basic fears, out of which almost all of our other so-called fears are manufactured. Those five basic fears are extinction, mutilation, loss of autonomy, separation, and ego-death.
Think about the various common labels we put on our fears. Start with the easy ones: fear of heights or falling is basically fear of extinction, possibly accompanied by significant mutilation, but that is sort of secondary. Fear of failure? Read it as fear of ego-death. Fear of rejection? It is fear of separation, and probably also fear of ego-death. The terror many people have at the idea of having to speak in public is basically fear of ego-death. Fear of intimacy or fear of commitment is basically fear of losing one’s autonomy.
Some other emotions we know by various popular names are also expressions of these primary fears. If you track them down to their most basic levels, the basic fears show through. Jealousy, for example, is an expression of the fear of separation, or devaluation. At the extreme, it can express the fear of ego-death. Envy works the same way. Shame and guilt express the fear or the actual condition of separation and even ego-death. The same is true for embarrassment and humiliation.
Fear is often the base emotion on which anger floats. Oppressed peoples rage against their oppressors because they fear or actually experience loss of autonomy and even ego-death. The destruction of a culture or a religion by an invading occupier may be experienced as a kind of collective ego-death. Those who make us fearful will also make us angry.
Religious bigotry and intolerance may express the fear of ego-death on a cosmic level, and can even extend to existential anxiety. Some of our fears, of course, have basic survival value. Others, however, are learned reflexes that can be weakened or re-learned.
That strange idea of "fearing our fears" can become less strange when we realize that many of our avoidance reactions like turning down an invitation to a party if we tend to be uncomfortable in groups; putting off the doctor’s appointment; or not asking for the raise are instant reflexes that are reactions to the memories of fear. They happen so quickly that we don’t actually experience the full effect of the fear. We experience a micro-fear; a reaction that is a kind of shorthand code for the real fear. This reflex reaction has the same effect of causing us to evade and avoid as the real fear. This is why it is fairly accurate to say that many of our so-called fear reactions are actually the fears of fears.
When we let go of our notion of fear as the welling up of evil forces within us – the Freudian motif – and begin to see fear and its companion emotions as basically information, we can think about them consciously. More clearly and calmly we can articulate the origins of the fear, the less our fears frighten us and control us.
- The Only Thing I Have to Fear is Me (discoveringwisdom.com)
- FEAR: What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? (believecounselling.ie)
- The Fear (randomblurting.com)
- Heroism vs. Fear (bhauschild.wordpress.com)
- Life’s Greatest Threat (tobilobaoladunjoye.wordpress.com)
Endorphins are hormones that are released by the pituitary gland that have motivational benefits. Many long-distance runners experience frequent rushes of endorphin release.
Most people who run want to become fit and maintain a healthy weight. A combination of diet and exercise has proven to be the most effective way to lose weight. Running is a cardiovascular exercise that allows you to burn an average of 100 calories per mile. The number of calories burned varies depending on how fast and long you run.
Cardiovascular exercises, such as running, strengthen the heart. In fact, a person who does not run daily has a heart that beats approximately 36,000 times more than the average runner. The reason is because running keeps the arteries open and blood flowing more easily. They expand and contract more often, increasing their elasticity. The result is lower blood pressure and the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood. Running is also beneficial for the lungs. The exercise makes runners take deeper breaths, which increases lung capacity over time.
Running also has psychological benefits. The endorphins that are released during running help to treat depression and other psychological disorders. Running helps people feel less fatigued, depressed, and tense throughout the day.
Many things can trigger the release of endorphins. Though many triggers are known to exist, the primary triggers are stress and pain. The hypothalamus is the command-and-control center of endocrine system. It decides when you need to eat, when you should begin puberty and when you need a big dose of endorphins, among many other functions. It keeps tabs on every part of your central nervous system, and hormones are released to other parts of the body when the hypothalamus wants to make an adjustment.
Many cardiovascular exercises, like running, swimming, and cycling, stimulate the release of endorphins; hormones that block pain and enable you to experience euphoric feelings. Endorphins are closely linked to addictions and were discovered by scientists who carried out research on drug addictions. The findings showed that the brain contains its own chemicals that are more potent than most drugs, such as opium and morphine. Endorphins are released during strenuous exercises. The chemicals make runners feel energized both during and after the exercise. This feeling is often referred to as a “runner’s high” and helps to motivate runners. The amount of endorphins released depends on the physical fitness of a runner. Daily runners will maximize the potential benefits of endorphins.
Running elevates the levels of endorphins more than other cardiovascular exercises, like swimming and cycling. Additionally, the Department of Health and Sport Science at the University of Richmond attempted to determine if weight lifting heightened the level of endorphins in the body. The experiment concluded that the levels remained unchanged both during and after weight-lifting exercises. Other sport activities that require great cardio fitness levels, such as long-distance rowing, football, basketball, and soccer, produce high levels of endorphins.
When hypothalamus of the brain calls for endorphins, it initiates a chain of messages by chemically prompting the pituitary gland to release its own chemicals that then make their way to glands throughout your body and on down the line until endorphin-containing neurons release them. These endorphins then find their way to the brain’s opioid receptors.
Endorphin is produced throughout body and is requested by the hypothalamus, but besides stress and pain triggers, endorphins are also released by exercises like heavy weightlifting or intense aerobic activity that includes periods of sprinting or increased exertion. Exercises are not the only activities that trigger the production of endorphins. Clinical researchers reported that acupuncture also effectively raises endorphin levels. Acupuncture needles that were inserted into specific body points helped to release endorphins in spinal fluid. The patients experienced relaxation and the pain-blocking effects of the chemical.
The most difficult part of exercising is getting into a routine. Remember that the effect of endorphins increases with routine and better physical fitness. Once you start running every day, the quality of your health and life can dramatically increase. Meditation or controlled-breathing exercises like Tai chi, Pilates and yoga trigger endorphins. Giving birth to a child is clearly a subcategory of both pain and stress. Light to moderate drinking stimulates endorphins, but heavy drinking doesn’t. Drugs that block the attachment of endorphins to receptors have been shown to eliminate cravings in alcoholics. Capsaicin, which puts the burn in chilies, also triggers the body to release some fire-quenching endorphins. Acupuncture and massage therapy trigger your inner drug dealer. Ultraviolet light also trigger endorphin production which may explain why some users of tanning beds achieve something of a "runner’s high," and why others may overuse them at the risk of their health.
To our forefathers, stress was an essential component of survival. That burst of adrenaline brought on by an encounter with a saber-tooth tiger gave them the speed to flee or the strength to kill the monstrous beast. Today’s challenges might not include facing hungry carnivores, but office politics, news, and dodging minibus taxis make for an equally stressful life, only now, running away is not an option.
Initially, feeling stressed is a positive response that enables us to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. Over time, stress build-up takes its toll on our bodies, usually on those areas that are genetically weak, and can lead to chronic illness. Most, if not all, diseases have their foundations in prolonged and ill-managed stress. This, together with a predisposing genetic defect that determines the weak link in the body, will, for example, lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer, slower recovery after operations and infections, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, asthma, eczema and many other disorders.
Because there are so many different manifestations of stress build-up, stress is often not recognized as the cause of illness. Worse still, once identified, many ignore it, fearing it is a sign of weakness. Stress can be an ever increasing out of control spiral. When we do not remove stress hormones through deliberate relaxation or by using the fight or flight response, our brain takes that to mean that we are not sufficiently prepared for fight of flight. Survival demands that our autonomic system comes to the rescue by pumping more and more stress hormones into our system, until we show signs of fight or flight or deliberate relaxation.
When we are first stressed, the brain signals the release of adrenalin and cortisol. These are hormones that boost our blood sugar and oxygen levels, push more blood to the brain, the result is increased alertness. The average adrenalin rush experienced while in traffic supplies enough glucose to keep one running for a mile. In the short term, stress suppresses the immune system, increasing the risk of infections; slows down the body’s rate of repair; slows down the metabolism; robs the body of vital nutrients. The symptoms can be recurrent headaches, vague aches and pains, dizziness, heartburn, muscle tension, dry mouth, excessive perspiration, pounding heart, insomnia and fatigue.
As we become more and more stressed out, our body begins to adapt to the high level of stress hormones. As a result, we feel increasingly anxious, fatigued and prone to mood swings. Long-term stress promotes rapid ageing, leads to weight gain, and increases the risk of developing osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and digestive problems. When we find ourselves stuck in the stress response and it is chronic, we become exhausted and depleted of vitamins and minerals. Our energy plummets, and our body’s ability to produce adrenalin decreases. Consequently, our emotions take a dive and we experience anxiety, fear, restlessness, irritability, anger, depression and insecurity, loss of libido, impaired memory and concentration.
We can recover by going with the fight or flight response. Physical exercise 5 times a week will act as the flight or fight response by using the body’s preparation for fight or flight and thereby lowering stress hormones to manageable levels. Regular, deliberate relaxation techniques used to lower or remove stress hormone build up from our systems such a floatation therapy; massage and meditation allow the body to naturally remove stress hormones from the body.
Many headaches are caused by stress. Tension headaches feel like a band tightening around the head. Relaxation, just like tension is a learned response. With regular practice, you can teach your body to relax, and learn what it feels like to be relaxed. The weightless environment of the floatation tank means that you do not have to support your body against gravity. Deep physical and mental relaxation follows.
In Mind-Body Medicine, there is a clear relationship between lower-back pain and stress. Again, relaxation techniques are the answer. In the floatation therapy, you are able to take quality time out, and reach deep relaxation very quickly and without years of training or practice. With regular massage, both the mind and body relaxes. To combat insomnia, breathe deeply and relax your body starting with your toes and working your way up to the top of your head. Take calcium and magnesium supplements before going to bed, and avoid caffeine as much as possible.
The body’s release of adrenaline during stressful events raises the heart rate and blood pressure. Adrenaline also stimulates a release of fat from the fat cells into the blood stream to supply energy for the fight or flight response. If unused, this fat is deposited on inside of the arteries. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that indicates that surges of blood pressure can trigger heart attacks in susceptible people. Repeated elevations of blood pressure over periods of weeks and months accelerate atherosclerosis thereby increasing the risk of heart attacks.
Arthritis is often aggravated by stress. Learning to manage stress can help to relieve pain. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killer. Massage helps to release the muscles that are tightening up around the body in response to pain, and encourage us to feel good about our bodies again. Sore muscles and pain occur when the muscles contract in response to stressful events, increasing the production of lactic acid and leading to pain. If you are able to deeply relax your muscles with the Epson salts in the water, the body is rid of lactic acid in the muscles, while the endorphins released by the brain help with pain relief.
In a stressful situation, digestive system slows down, freeing body’s energy for fight or flight. The stomach however continues to excrete acid, and ulcers may develop. Using relaxation techniques goes a long way in preventing the onset of stress-related illnesses. High levels of stress hormones dampen the functioning of the autoimmune system, leaving one more likely to catch whatever is floating around.
Blood moves from the intestines, when the body turns its focus to survival instead of healthy day-to-day functioning. This results in digestive problems for stressed individuals. The sudden de-stimulation of large areas of the nervous system triggers a spontaneous chain-reaction throughout the body to remove stress and leave one feeling wonderful and changed in body chemistry. Blood testing indicates that floating therapy reduce the level of stress and stress-related neurochemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol, and adrenocorticotropic hormone. It is high levels of these chemicals in the blood stream that leave one feeling stressed out. It is also because of these chemicals that stress is bad for health, causing heart disease and hampering function of immune system. Increasing levels of endorphins helps to relieve pain, and improve mood.