Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)

psychoneuroimmunology

The notion that our thoughts can affect our bodies, or that our thoughts had any “power” in a physical sense was once absurd. It was quackery and pseudoscience. Well, not anymore. In fact there is an entire branch of science dedicated to understanding this phenomenon. And it is called psychoneuroimmunology

The field of psychoneuroimmunology looks at the interactions of the nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) with the immune system (cells that defend the body against infection), specifically. The two systems produce chemicals that interact with one another and affect one another. So, our brains and our thoughts can, and quite literally do, affect immune function. 

This is just one of the many reasons why it is so important to focus on brain health. Our brains and our thoughts govern everything in our lives. Also, every aspect of our body, including our body’s own defense mechanism, is at the mercy of our thinking. 

So this is why it’s also critical to better manage our stress throughout the day. Chronic, self-inflicted stress from our thoughts wreaks havoc on the body. It leads to all kinds of sickness and disease (see blog post about stress).

Inflamation 

One of the ways it does this is by creating inflammation in the body. Stress stimulates the release of small proteins in cells called cytokines – specifically, proteins called pro-inflammatory cytokines. Under normal circumstances, these proteins are helpful in response to infections, injuries, germs or for tissue repair. But when we are chronically stressed, the body chronically releases these proteins and chronic inflammation occurs. This can result in things like high blood pressure, heart disease and weakened immune function. It could also cause the body to attack its own healthy tissue. 

Thankfully, through scientific research and fields like psychoneuroimmunology, we have simple tools and practices to strengthen our minds, our brains, and our immune systems. We have the ability to change, improve and rewire our brains (neuroplasticity). Simple, daily practices, such as mindfulness, meditation, breathing, journaling, and cognitive behavioral therapy (which are all described on this platform), do just that.

So take time today to really think about your thinking. I cannot stress that enough. The most important aspect of our being, pertaining to health improvement, stress reduction and greater immunity is our brains and our thoughts. Adopt a daily practice of brain training and mindset development with the help of this platform for greater health and well-being. 

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