The idea that our thoughts and moods are linked to an individual’s level of "happiness" has a surprising outcome rooted in genetic testing. Hedonic well-being (the subjective judgments of external experiences that produce a state of happiness) is determined to produces a cellular expression that produces more inflammatory cells in an immune response and less antibody production. In contract, eudaemonic well-being (intentional expression of interior beliefs and values that produce actions) produces .lower levels of inflammatory cells and greater levels of antibodies.
Barbara L. Fredrickson, Karen M. Grewen, Kimberly A. Coffey, Sara B. Algoe, Ann M. Firestine, Jesusa M. G. Arevalo, Jeffrey Ma, and Steven W. Cole
A functional genomic perspective on human well-being
PNAS 2013 110: 13684-13689.
The aging brain is a heterogenous process and varies individually, case by case. Neuroplasticity and neurogenesis aid the aging brain in creating new neural structure, thereby minimizing any impact of asymptomatic pre-clinical lesions.
Experiencing stressful situations prompts a cascading neuropsychological response, in our brains and in our bodies.
During episodes of stressful encounters, the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis acts as a regulator,. The HPA is both influenced by and provide feedback to the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal glands. The HPA function is a primary aspect of the neuroendocrine system in the stress response cycle, including bodily regulation of digestion, the immune system, emotions and moods, sexuality and the inflow and outflow of energy. It serves as a central mechanism for the complex interactions of hormones, glands, and parts of the general adaptation syndrome (GAS). The HPA axis combined with corticosteroids produces the physiological response to stress. (Lange C, Zschucke E, Ising M, Uhr M, Bermpohl F, Adli M., 2013).
"Follow your fascinations and immerse yourself in them. Just begin working on something that you love and don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Trust your process and your intuition." - Gail McMeekin
Experience-dependent brains get boosts by life-long learning and being socially active, among other acitivites
Not only do our brains sprout new neurons based on experiences we have (via #neurogenesis and #neuroplasticity) but specific activities help protect your brain. This brain growth-protection is based on the "use it or lose it" premises:
1. Never stop learning.
2. Immerse yourself in another culture.
3. Seek out tough "stretch" assignments.
4. Manage stress.
5. Have lots of friends.
I'll add to this list, exercise, seek novelty in new experiences, and have fun!
#Running and exercise in general prompts cellular changes that increase, among other things, #metabolic-action
"Exercise elicits gene expression changes that trigger structural and metabolic adaptations in skeletal muscle. We determined whether DNA methylation plays a role in exercise-induced gene expression. Whole genome methylation was decreased in skeletal muscle biopsies obtained from healthy sedentary men and women after acute exercise."
This blog is intended to explore ideas, educate, entertain and expand our thinking. Some posts speak to current trends in the brain sciences, neural benefits of exercise & sports, emotional intelligence and personal growth.