Inositol is a pseudovitamin, more commonly referred to as vitamin B8. Unlike other vitamins, Inositol is not considered essential as the body can make it. The kidneys and other body parts can produce it. Inositol is mostly found in the brain. It is vital for the body because it is involved in several crucial processes of the body namely –
1. Insulin regulation and helps to maintain blood sugar. It can improve the insulin sensitivity of the insulin receptors and reduces insulin resistance. 2. Fat metabolism which prevents the fat from accumulation. 3. Neurotransmitter synthesis like Seratonin which is greatly affected by Inositol. Therefore, it affects our mood and behaviour. 4. Calcium signalling. 5. Epigenetic regulation. 6. Cytosketetal formation.
Because it plays an essential role in these processes, it helps to benefits and improve many chronic conditions like :
“The best use of imagination is creativity, the worst use of imagination is anxiety”. Deepak Chopra.
Humans are the only species since evolution, who have the most evolved mind. They can undoubtedly imagine both constructively and destructively. So, it’s our thoughts alone which can make or break us.
Being anxious is having an uninvited guest into your house, which you are trying to avoid, but still, he refuses to leave.
Anxiety is a state of mind, not a disease. Every day, we generate about 70,000 thoughts, out of which majority of them are negative and repetitive thoughts which do not serve any purpose. Thoughts are the main stimulator of our state of wellbeing. Whether you are physically healthy or not, thoughts are only instrumental which determines our state of wellbeing. It’s the day to day thoughts that creates our perceptual reality which we believe our real world. Hence, this is the hard truth that needs to be acknowledged by us.
It’s essential to educate ourselves that thoughts typically creates our reality. So, if we modify our thinking pattern or start creating empowering thoughts and beliefs, we can easily change the world around us. Therefore, thoughts are so powerful that they can push you to the peak of physical and mental wellbeing or dumped you in the pit of depression and anxiety.
So, how does anxiety builds up? Out of 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts generated, every day, about 90% of them are just repetitive and negative thoughts. There is overthinking and rumination of the same type of thoughts. As the cycle continues, there is an alteration in the chemical makeup of the brain. Dopamine and serotonin, the mood regulators get depleted in the brain. The production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) gets consumed, and slowly there is shrinkage in the size of the brain. When the cycle becomes vicious, and anxiety state becomes chronic. It started to interfere with daily activities. Such a state is regarded as an Anxiety disorder. As chronic stress get elevated and reaches the threshold, there are significant changes taking place in the brain.
Some noticeable changes are : 1. The more the brain is engaged in anxious thoughts, the more the ‘anxious neural pathways’ are strengthened. 2. The brain is stuck in the state of ‘high alert’, becomes more reactive to the stress receptors for possible threats which are mostly imaginary. 3. The fear centre in the brain becomes more prominent and more significant. 4.Not just the chemistry, but changes start appearing up to the DNA level in the brain. 5. Brain ageing process also fastens. 6. The circadian rhythm is disturbed, and the sleep cycle gets disrupted.
Simple ways to get rid of the anxiety state : 1. Firstly, it is better to face the anxiety. More avoidance will lead to more exaggeration. So, visit your fears, and start being an observer. Being an observer of your mental state, create a sense of indifference, feels like you are different from your state of mind. You understand that the mind and body have created a false association to any external object or stimulant as the triggering factor.
2. Diaphragmatic breathing: Long bouts of inhalations followed by long rounds of exhalation. The deep breathing technique: Like taking a prolonged deep breath of inhalation by counting 1-4, then, a pause of 1-4, followed by an exhalation of 1-4, then another break of 1-4, and the sequence continues. That is why this technique is known as four-square breathing. This slow and deep breathing causes the oxygen to reach your brain, and the parasympathetic nervous system gets activated. It can be an instant stress reliever. 3. Naming your anxiety is as expressing your state of mind to another person. Putting words, and explanation of your anxious thoughts will stimulate the frontal cortex. Your brain will be more attentive in the frontal cortex and deviated from the fear centre, which is responsible for the anxious state.
4. Mindful and relaxation techniques like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, which all goes to help stimulate the parasympathetic system, which is for relaxation.
5. Plant-based food is known to have a calming effect on the human mind.
Some 50 – 80 years ago, people rarely used the word “stress”. Maybe the word was just another word in the dictionary whose meaning had the least relevance in their lives. But, today, it is the most common widely used word in every individual’s life.
Today, everywhere, you go, stress can follow you. At home, at the office, stuck in traffic, getting late and the list goes on. Therefore, the most common causes of stress in people’s lives nowadays.
4 points of clarifications as to how genes are linked to stress.
1.Genetical predisposition: Often seen, some people tend to battle more with day to day stress than some other people. So, how are genes related to our body’s psychological response? Genes produce proteins which influences our body’s reactions to different psychological responses and, stress being one of them. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), are tiny differences in the genes which affect the release of hormones and proteins in the body and determine the psychological responses. This is a reason, different people react differently and have a different level of stress for the same particular situation.
2.COMT gene: Catechol – O– methyltransferase is an enzyme which causes the body to break the stress hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine.Epinephrine and epinephrine are hormones produces during extreme stress, under fight and flight response whereas dopamine is feel good (reward) hormone which also function as a neurotransmitter. So depending on which version of the COMT gene you have, your genotype can be a :
Warrior gene: Those who perform well under stress or under pressure.
Strategic gene: Those whose performance suffers during stress but performs well in calm situations. Combination of both: Those who are quite in between.
3.BDNF ( brain-derived neurotrophic factor): BDNF normally function as protecting and creating new neurons, strengthening the signals between neurons. As far as stress is concerned, this protein acts as a resilience factor. This helps you to tolerate and resist the stressful situation and can still act and make you perform without affecting your health and wellbeing.
4.Managing stress level: This is the most important part of this topic. So how do we manage stress level? Depending upon, genetic predisposition, you may be the either high or low level of stress resilience. So, easy steps to handle routine stress are: Breathing/relaxation: Deep breathing is a simple step that can be effective to control stress. Because, when you breathe deep, this makes the brain to relax and calm down. Exercise: When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, your body enters the feel-good phase. 2 types of endorphins: Anandamide and serotonin.
Exercise increases your level of anandamide which helps the body to produce BDNF which in turn helps to regulate stress. Serotonin is a feel-good chemical which makes you happy, motivated which can be boosted by exercise, walking, running or any physical activity which you enjoy doing. When serotonin is level is maintained, stress is less likely to occur.
Anatomically, the pineal gland is a pea-sized endocrine gland which is located in the epithalamus, near the centre of the brain. Functionally, it is a part of the endocrine gland as it secretes the hormone melatonin, which is synthesized from serotonin, which maintains our day-night cycle, circadian rhythm, our natural biological clock.
Some mains functions of the pineal gland are : Sleep cycle (circadian rhythm) Reproductive functions and fertility Bone growth Body temperature Water balance Blood pressure Immune system Longevity and anti-ageing.
Scientific researches have proved that, besides maintaining the sleep cycle, the pineal gland has many important roles to play, hence it is quite a crucial organ.
Some 6 wonderful facts about this tiny gland;
1.Master Gland : Considered as a master regulator with the hypothalamus of the endocrine system, it controls hormone signals to all organs of the body. It has a dual neuroendocrine role, much bigger role than only maintaining the melatonin, sleep cycle. Besides, melatonin, serotonin, it also secretes biogenic amines like Catecholamines (Noradrenaline). Now, researches show that pineal gland is responsible for the release of pituitary hormones and so it is the master conductor of the endocrine system. Therefore, all the body’s vital functions are controlled by this organ.
2. Sixth sense :Since it has a rich adrenergic nerve supply, it is found to be very sensitive to our energy field, both magnetic and electric fields (vibrations) which we are normally not aware. Normally, we are aware of what our five senses feel. So, this gland is responsible for the “sixth sense.”, the bioelectromagnetic field (vibrations). This is what is called an Expanded consciousness. Animals have normally a bigger pineal gland so have a larger bioelectric field. They respond to vibrations while communicating which humans don’t use as we, humans have languages.
3. Third eye: Since the ancient time, it is regarded as the “third eye” (in many ancient mythologies like Egypt, Greek, Chinese and Hindu). Now science-based studies proved that it indeed contains rod-like cells (pinealocytes) that are similar to those of eye. There are both dark and light pinealocytes. The gland is connected to the eyes to detect light and dark stimuli and stimulate the release of melatonin.
4. Anti ageing :Melatonin which is released by the pineal gland is found to be a powerful anti-oxidant. It has about 200% more oxidative power than vitamin E and also vitamin C. Therefore, it is a strong hormone against oxidative stress, so very important in anti-ageing.
5. DMT :Pineal gland mediates the release of serotonin and dopamine. Both are considered as happy hormones. Therefore disruption in circadian rhythm can affect the release of melatonin which is synthesized from serotonin in Pineal gland. Another mystery fact is increased scientific evidence have shown pinoline and DMT( dimethyltryptamine) have been naturally producing in the pineal gland, help in mood, perception, consciousness, dream state and cognition. DMT is produced naturally during deep sleep in the unconscious state. It can be produced in deep meditation at a conscious level by experienced meditators like monks and yogis. DMT has a psychedelic effect, an elevated state because it gives the visionary experience, a state of transcendence, body and spirit connection.
6. Awakening : Since it is the most powerful organ, pineal gland activation can help you give more clarity about the world, and perform at your most optimal potential. It can help you perform brilliantly in any task. Many practices like deep meditation, Kundalini yoga, Chi Kung (Chinese) like deep breathing, tapping, focussing (at the centre of forehead), laughing (being happy), light music and being in darkness can awaken the pineal gland. Pineal gland activation also helps to balance the body’s 7 chakras or 7 healing energy sources. Neuroscience has proved that activation of this gland can give profound spiritual experiences, out of the body experiences. Practising deep meditation and concentration daily can slowly help to activate the pineal gland.
Self-care is a priority and not selfish. The simple reason is if I don’t care about me, how can I care for my loved ones? If I don’t cater to my emotional and physical needs, then how will I cater to other’s needs?
But, then, in reality, you are driven by your responsibilities, to push yourself more and more. There are personal, professional, family, societal pressures and commitments which makes you push yourself to the extreme limits to fulfil all the demands and responsibilities. In the process, you forget yourself and do not even realise that you have your share of emotional and physical needs to be taken care of for your overall wellbeing.
Realisations come very late when we are knocked down by chronic stress, complete burnout or end up in a diseased state. Therefore, self-care daily is very important for both physical and mental wellbeing.
Scientifically speaking, there are several areas and dimensions of self-care.
Here, I have tried giving 4 small different steps towards self-care.
1.Spend some ‘me’ time alone: Everyday, give yourself a few couples of minutes to cut off from the routine grind and the hustle-bustle. This is your ‘me’ time entirely. Do whatever you enjoy doing, go for a short walk in nature, practise a hobby or listen to a piece of music. Meditate and observe your emotional feelings and acknowledge them. Understanding and acknowledging your both positive and negative thoughts are important so that you can let go of unwanted thoughts. Remember, thoughts are always associated with your feelings and experiences. Always, love and praise yourself for what you are and how far you have come in this journey. In self-care, self-love is important.
2. Control your stress level: Understand that when stress persists, your cortisol level shoots up. This adrenal gland hormone not only increases your blood sugar level but also elevates inflammation in the body which is responsible for various diseases like heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, cancers. So, when you feel you are at stress in the day, take a break. Practise relaxation like breathing exercises, stretches so that cortisol comes back to balance. Another simple way of letting stress go is to practice mindful moments, being present at the present moment. Sit quietly and notice your breath for some time. Feel the wind, air, smell around. Engage yourself in imagery exercise like walking down a beautiful forest, walking down a sandy beach, hearing the sounds of waves.
3.Practice gratitude: In the daytime, practice gratitude several times, being thankful for your existence, for your loved ones around, and for a beautiful life you have. These moments are important because whenever you feel gratitude and joy, there is a release of endorphins and serotonin which are happy hormones and which are necessary for your physical and mental health wellbeing.
4.Physical health: Lastly, as we all know, self-care remain incomplete if we do not care for our body. Eating healthy, routine exercise, sleeping well are essential steps towards physical wellbeing. For the normal wear tear of the body, giving enough rest helps in the healing and repairing process.