The Body and the Mind

We integrated organizations: the physical systems, emotional and cognitive interact closely with each other.

Physical activity, yoga, meditation, join training programs on stress management, read books about it, take some ‘time to themselves, they are more valid interventions that we can put in place.

Very carefully, silence and humility we must learn to feel, to look inside, to understand that our life is made up of many aspects – body, thoughts, emotions – interrelated and you can not improve it if we take care of them in “separate” mode, ie if we divide the body from the mind.

The ways in which the systems emotional, cognitive and physical are interconnected and are not yet fully known, but many items were analyzed and understood. The emotions are mediated by the limbic system of the brain, a complex structure consisting of many specific organs, including the hypothalamus, pituitary and amygdala.

The experiments that demonstrate the link between emotions and the limbic system were made for the first time by Wilder Penfield and other neurologists. Penfield found that stimulating via electrodes on the cortex, the amygdala of individuals conscious and awake, emotions were aroused: anger, sorrow, pleasure, and that these emotions were associated with ancient memories. The operation of the cerebral system is based on the exchange electrochemical: electricity is that which passes from one exchange and said electric neuron is mediated by chemicals: neurotransmitters. The neurochemical exchange proceeds for specialized networks, triggered by substances called, precisely, “neurotransmitters”: only a few neurons “respond” (possessing the corresponding receptors) the reports made by others (who have the correct transmitters).

More and more scientific studies that point out that not only in the brain but throughout the body, are common substances capable of receiving information neurochemical transmitted by neurotransmitters or by peptides (on this see box “What are neurotramettitori “, below). For example, receptors for neuropeptides also exist in human monocytes, important immune cells.

The neuropeptides then affect the efficiency of our immune system. It also seems that the same immune cells are able to produce neuropeptides, in particular beta-endorphins and other opioids peptides. In other words, the cells of the immune system produce the same chemicals that control mood. They then monitor and defend the integrity of the tissues in the body and also produce chemicals that control mood, the “way we feel.”

On this basis it seems to have demonstrated a close connection between our emotions and our bodies.


As mentioned endorphins are important neuropeptides similarly acting opiate, can regulate our mood and produced during exercise. Endorphins, in addition to increasing tolerance to pain, are involved:

  • in the regulation of the menstrual cycle;
  • in the secretion of hormones such as gh, ACTH, prolactin, catecholamines, cortisol;
  • in the sense of well-being and contentment that occurs after sexual intercourse;
  • in the control of appetite and gastrointestinal activity;
  • in thermoregulation;
  • in the regulation of sleep.

Endorphins thus have the ability to give us pleasure, gratification, happiness, thus helping us to better withstand stress. Endorphins interact with other neurotransmitters and hormones and are extremely important in influencing many aspects of psychological and sexual sphere of man.

By studying the plasma concentrations of these substances in special situations (betrayals, maternity, love, sex, infatuation etc.) It was discovered that there is a strong correlation between these situations and the amount of endorphins and other neurotransmitters present in the blood.

The addiction to certain drugs, such as heroin, can be explained by the inhibition of endogenous production of endorphins. Within our body heroin in fact replaces the natural role of these substances inhibiting the production. When you suspend the intake of this drug, plasma endorphin levels are extremely low, and this is linked to the feeling of tiredness, dissatisfaction and malaise that brings the subject dependent on the drug to seek a new dose. The synthesis of endogenous opioids such as beta endorphins, increases in response to exercise. Although this increase is subjective, the average plasma concentrations of these neurotransmitters increase both in males than in females of 500%.

This perfectly explains the undeniable feeling of euphoria and well-being that arises after practicing physical activity. Reduction of anxiety, stress, anger and appetite control are more beneficial properties of endorphins which among other things also a potent analgesic implicated in reduced perception of pain. This latter feature has probably the physiological significance of increasing tolerance to prolonged effort. Not by chance in highly trained subjects there is a slower degradation of endogenous opioids produced during exercise.

Endorphins also would have a further positive effect on sports performance by improving the coordination of movements and optimizing the recruitment of muscle fibers.