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Do not disturb yourself by musing on the whole of your life. Do not let thoughts play havoc by worrying about what may happen, and what may not happen, but instead, ask yourself the question, what is there in this that I cannot endure? You will then discover there is no situation which may arise that you cannot deal with effectively.

Marcus Aurelius

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How We Think

Thoughts Can Cause Reactions in Our Bodies

From The Inflammation Cure
by William Joel Meggs, MD, PhD

"It's intuitively easy to make the link between our health and environmental toxins, food, smoking, or alcohol consumption. These are outside forces corrupting our previously 'pure' bodies, so that we become less pure with each whiff of polluted air, doughnut, cigarette, or martini. What many people don't realize , however, is that these 'pure' and natural bodies of ours can create inflammation on their own, with no outside influence at all. Our thoughts, stress levels, moods, and even social lives can trigger a cascade of inflammatory reactions in our bodies that could lead to heart disease, asthma, or other health problems."

"Every time you engage your brain — every time you speak, move, read, ponder, plan, or daydream — the nerves in your brain communicate with each other by chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. So with every thought, the brain releases chemicals that have effects beyond the original thought. We know, for example, that neurotransmitters are intimately tied to moods. The neurotransmitter serotonin is sometimes called the 'feel good' chemical because it is responsible for feeling calm and happiness. People who don't produce enough serotonin or who break down serotonin too quickly tend to be depressed and/or anxious. That's why medications that increase the amount of serotonin available in the brain — such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft — are used as antidepressants and mood stabilizers."

"The relationship between neurotransmitters and mood have been known for decades. What's new is that scientists have discovered that being depressed, anxious, hostile, or stressed also has an effect on inflammation-related chemicals. When we have extreme emotions, the body chemicals associated with those emotional states can change how our immune, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems function. Certain inflammation-related chemicals are thrown out of balance."

"For example, cytokines,is increased during certain emotional states. This means that the delicate balance of inflammation and anti-inflammation is lost, and our bodies become at risk for all the interconnected inflammation-related diseases."

Depression, Anxiety, and Hostility

"Studies have shown that depression is associated with increases in pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6. These relationships, however, can be confusing. Which occurs first? Does having high levels of IL-6 (which might occur due to simple aging or as a result of other inflammatory disorders) cause depression? Or does having depression cause high levels of IL-6? Several studies have attempted to answer these questions, but the answer is still unclear. Here's what we know:"

"People who are depressed have elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines, higher than people who are not depressed."

"Giving cytokines to people, as might be done to battle hepatitis C or other diseases can bring on symptoms of depression."

"In animals, giving cytokines experimentally can cause many of the same behavior patterns associated with depression: lower food intake, less activity, and an inability to feel pleasure."

"People with other inflammatory-related diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, or autoimmune diseases, tend to have higher rates of depression than healthy people."

"Giving antidepressant medications reduces depression and also reduces levels of certain cytokines in the blood."

"...Because depression so influences inflammatory and immune system functions, it is likely that the risk for many inflammatory-related illnesses increases. We know that feeling depressed or hopeless increases the risk of heart disease and death. Healthy people who are depressed are more likely to develop heart disease."



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