Physiology And Biochemistry Of Emotions

Happiness, pleasure, love. hatred, care, esteem. pity, anger, lust, greed, reverence, disgust, enthusiasm, depression, frustration, grief, self pity associated with humiliation, self aggrandizement associated with respect, power etc , agony associated with insult, sadness associated with loss of life money, other possessions etc are varieties of emotions Their intricate nature does not permit identification of one to one association of a particular emotion or one of its shades, with anyone specific structure, physiologic process or neurotransmitters. But I have some understanding of these.

Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline! (N E) is present in locus ce rule us present in the pons, tegmentum of midbrain and hypothalamus. Insufficiency of NE causes depression.

Dopamine (prolactin inhibiting hormone (PIHj) is found in substantia nigra as HI as in hypothalamus.

It is interesting to note reduction in lactation associated with anxiety which is associated with dopamine reduction or inhibition. Levels of dopamine are raised in schizophrenia.

The serotonin is found in limbic system, hypothalamus and spinal cord It is concerned with sleep, emotions and pain perception.

Various other hormones such as adrenocorhco trophic hormone, somatostatin, enkephalins, acetyl choline, gam a amino butyric acid etc. are found in brain. Various peptide hormones found in GIT are also found in brain.

Applied Aspects

The drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAD) eg imipramine prevent the reuptake of the NA.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) eg isocarboxazide inhibit the Mono amine oxidase which catabolizes the NE and thus prolongs the life of NE.

Thus TCAD &MAOI increase availability of NE in synapses Since NE deficiency is associated with depression they are used as antidepressants.

It is essential to look at the various procedures of PRANAYAMA and ASANAs in HATHA YOGA from the point of view of altering NE concentrations in human beings Moreover plane exercise like walking has to be assessed from this point of view If such experiments have already been conducted and found even marginally successful their results must be widely publicized and utilized m curative and health promoting measures.

Drugs such as phenothiazines (e.g chlorpromazine] which cause reduction in dopamine act as tranquilizers on the one hand, can cause increase in lactation on the other Further these drugs are known to be beneficial in schizophrenia in which levels of dopamine are found be raised.

A complication of the treatment can be reduction of dopamine in substantia nigra leading to drug induced Parkinsonism.

Drugs like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) which is banned can possibly cause reduction in pain perception but also cause hallucinations.

But even as I understand above facts and use hundreds of antidepressants and anxiolytics I fail to curb the undesirable emotions leading to unprecedented and horrendous violence of mankind towards mother earth, mother nature, plants, animals and towards men of different caste, creed, religion, race, nationality, language etc I find violence even amongst brothers, sisters and so on.

Physiologically and psychologically our emotional status seems quite acceptable. One cannot detect and pinpoint any gross 'emotional abnormality" or any conspicuous syndrome in us. But our social fabric reflects emotional chaos, degeneration and perversions. Moreover if I introspect honestly then I find that I contribute to the emotional morbidity of our society.

This necessitates that I study this topic with holistic perspective.

In as much as homeostasis of an organism affects all the cells to a greater or lesser extent, just the same way social cosmic homeostasis, global homeostasis, social homeostasis which constitute our environment influence each and every one of us to greater or lesser extent.

The perspective of global unity, plans and policies bora out of it in different fields (such as environment, nuclear weapons, economy, health etc.), administrative programs | in these variety of fields), strategies of their implementation and their actual implementation at various (international, national, regional and local levels) affect each and everyone of us to a greater or lesser extent in every possible way.

Thus it has to be clearly seen and appreciated that our emotions can notbe understood as isolated phenomenon They are inseparably integrated with environment and heredity.

The corollary of this is that Proper diagnosis and treatment as 111 as prevention of emotional disorders and promotion of emotional health (even at individual level) can not be efficient enough unless, individual and environment are taken together.

How To Address All These?

My working hypothesis or feeling is that NAMASMARAN which is advocated and practiced in most religions holds the key to this problem.

NAMASMARAN as I understand involves following activities: i) Chanting or remembering repeatedly the name of God, Guru or deity in whom an individual has either faith or respect or love This maybe loud or silent ii| Exploration through introspection and observation of the results in terms of:

A) Broadening of perspective leading to decline in religious, regional, ideological and other forms of bigotry and consequent bitterness.

B) Development of ability to see things from various perspectives and thus in a holistic sense.

C) decline in obsessive, compulsive and fanatic thoughts and increase in tolerance and considerate attitude, decline in the suffocating and disturbing effects of mean emotions, be it happiness, pleasure, love, hatred, care, esteem, pity, anger, lust, greed, reverence, disgust, enthusiasm, depression, frustration, grief, self pity associated with hum illation, self aggrandizement associated with respect, power etc., agony associated with insult, sadness associated with loss of life, money, other possessions etc. or any other emotion.

D) Gradual development of positive, optimistic, joyous and dynamic approach in the accomplishment of challenging tasks and goals as 111 as day to day errands.

E) Improvement in relationships at working place, family, neighbors etc.

F) Manifestation of globally beneficial policies, plans programs and their implementation at all levels in i Spreading one's observations and experiences in terms of scope of such chanting / remembering.

It can be easily appreciated that NAMASMARAN is not suggested as an exclusive measure But it is suggested as a common and constant feature of everything that I do! Thus, NAMASMARAN should be practiced irrespective of any circumstance, religion, caste, age, sex, profession and so on and so forth.

Having seen the inevitability of holistic approach for emotional health and importance of NAMASMARAN I can then consider other measures useful in curing emotional diseases and promotion of emotional health These are general measures and hence, for grave and uncontrolled emotional disorders treatment from a specialist should be sought.

A) Waking Up

Wake up only after the sleep is complete and sufficient. Inadequate sleep usually causes irritability This can cause unnecessary skirmishes and quarrels.

B) Defecation

This is called SHAUCHA which actually means cleaning. Regular bowel habit precludes the possibility of restlessness and consequent lack of concentration and hence poor grasp and poor communication This can reduce the level of performance and cause bitter encounters especially at working place.

C) Bath

Bath has rejuvenating and refreshing effects and contributes to positive thinking.

D) Use Of Appropriate Perfumes

If there is dirty smell of one's own body or in the surroundings then one can get disturbed. Keeping fragrant flowers in house is recommended.

e) Use of properly fitting clothes, shoes, spectacles etc.

f) Change of posture, rest, refreshment, cordial interaction during working hours etc nurture us emotionally can be re ally re warding. Protracted work without refreshment can cause disturbing hypoglycemia which can upset mind.

G) Ambulation, Locomotion

Daily walk can be very useful in relieving hypokinetic stress and make us emotionally stable and profound.

h) Massage is useful by virtue of i] relaxing muscles and iij breaking the positive feed back developed due to stress and tightness which aggravate one another turn by rum i) Deep and slowbreathing whenever possible presumably helps to harmonize the activity of reticular activating system and thereby all parts of brain j) Head massage by application oils such as BRAHMI oil.

k) Judicious socialization and interactions amongst friends is also important in life for emotional harmony.

1) Suitable instrumental and vocal music helps to change the mood.

m) For temporary but immediate relief from distressing emotions resorting to comics can be very effective.

BUT n| NAMASMARAN which was practiced by all time greats such Mahatma Gandhi plays the important role even in enabling us to practice at least fewof the above.