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Gratitude: Upgrade your Life - Growth / Protection Regeneration Gap

Written by Marcy Axness, Ph.D.   
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 00:00
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Growth / Protection Regeneration Gap

The distribution of receptor spaces on a cell’s membrane isn’t a fixed design, but one that is constantly being revised on an “as needed” basis. If I’m chronically stressed—either because I’m being stalked by tigers daily or I’m continually perceiving situations in a negative-spin way—the consistently increased level of stress hormones circulating in my system looking for parking spaces is going to change my cells, quite literally.

The cell’s intelligence, propelling it to respond to environmental information for its own well-being and continuity, interprets an abundance of circulating stress chemicals as proof that the environment is dangerous. This in turn behooves it to generate more receptors—and more sensitive signaling “curbs”—by which it can receive and respond to this critical information, increasing the individual’s chances of surviving. To augment this survival strategy, the cell will also reduce the number and sensitivity of receptors for chemicals that trigger feelings of pleasure and contentment, since “stopping to smell the roses” in a threatening world would put an organism at serious risk.


Cells Are Excellent Students

Research in psychoneuroimmunology (the study of the “mind-body connection”) has given us astonishing illustrations of the power of our mind to effect “cellular instruction.” Examples include:

  • Subjects who developed asthma attacks after being given a harmless substance, but told it was something to which they were highly allergic.

  • Patients with multiple personality disorder have differing physiological profiles, depending upon which personality is active. This can include optical prescriptions, allergies and even diabetes in one personality but not others.

  • Patients with high cholesterol levels reduce them by 35 percent solely through daily, 15-minute “mind-clearing” sessions.

  • The placebo effect, while complex and subject to a variety of factors, has a long and impressive history of demonstrating the powerful role of a patient’s mind when she has expectations that a treatment will work. One study found that up to 75 percent of the effectiveness of antidepressants was due to the placebo effect rather than the treatment itself.

We are walking pharmacies, able to produce our own powerful drugs to treat everything from pain to sadness to fear. Our brains and nervous systems do not know the difference between something we imagine or something we experience “in reality.” Elite athletes have long known this, and use focused visualization to augment their physical conditioning and practice. Whatever you spend time thinking about and envisioning—regardless of whether it’s something you hope for, or something you hope against—is what you are ordering from the menu of life: This is what I’ll have, thank you.

This is the power of imagination—your neuro-endocrine system lines itself up in service to your thoughts, perceptions and intentions about yourself and about the world. With this awesome power in your service, you engage 24/7 in a nonstop dialogue with your 50 trillion brilliant cells, telling them about the world they need to adapt to. As those cells continually regenerate to make the never-ending story that is you, the question becomes: What are you instructing your 50 trillion cellular geniuses to be?

When you consciously practice presence, cultivate gratitude and focus on appreciation, you are teaching yourself to be peace. You are being the peace you seek. You are changing the world.


Marcy AxnessAbout the Author:

Marcy Axness, Ph.D., is the author of the upcoming book Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers. An early development specialist, parent counselor and professor of prenatal development, she harnesses leading-edge transdisciplinary research to guide clients in nurturing their children’s healthiest development from pre-conception/pre-adoption onward, as well as their own inner development as parents.



Pathways Issue 29 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #29.

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