The human body has several endocrine glands, each of which secretes certain chemicals called hormones. The hormonal flow in the body causes specific emotions and consequent behavior. On release, hormones pass into the bloodstream and stimulate or excite organs into an activity. Major endocrine glands are pituitary, pineal, hypothalamus, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus and adrenal glands. Besides certain organs like pancreas, testes, ovaries, heart, liver, stomach etc. too contain endocrine cells and produce specific hormones.
The pituitary is one gland which directs, and in a way exercises control over most of the other endocrine glands and hence it is also called the master gland. Apropos to its important functions, it is also located at the most protected location in the body that is the center of the brain. It is hardly of the size of a pea and produces about a dozen complex hormones administering various emotions, behavior and function of the body. Another important gland namely hypothalamus is located just about a centimeter away from pituitary which functions in tandem with pituitary to assure the survival instinct of the body.
Hormones are linked with thoughts and emotions. Human emotions are actually strong feelings and invariably excite or impel some commensurate activity. For instance, if there is a danger to the life, the hormonal flow will instantly generate fear and /or anger. While the fear in a dangerous situation prompts us to fight or escape instantly while anger would incite us to make a counter attack to defeat or destroy the source of threat. I think even a man of ordinary prudence and knowledge is aware how the fear and anger are caused through the flow of hormones called adrenalin(s) into the blood stream. The adrenalins often mobilize our body to an instant and sometimes unbelievable strength beyond the normal limits.
We often talk about the will power and emotions and that positive emotions always impel positive actions while the negative emotions cause negative actions. Actually emotions are preceded by thoughts; therefore positive thoughts would be precursor to positive emotions and actions. Same way, the negative thoughts would lead to only negative emotions and actions. This also explains why we are always advised by our elders, teachers and spiritual leaders to develop a positive mental attitude.
While negative emotions lead to body and mind stress, doubt, depression, lethargy, anger and pessimism, even illness; the positive emotions actually lead to enthusiasm, confidence, hope, cheer, strength, alertness and activity that makes life easier, stress free bringing good health, happiness and success in life. It is for these reasons that one should endeavor to think and do positive at all times.
It is agreed by many thinkers and philosophers that emotions so often prevail upon the will power. Emotions are so powerful that whenever there is a conflict with the will power, the former prevails. I have seen many people who want to quit smoking. They will make a resolve today to stop smoking forthwith, resist it for a few days and unable to prevail upon the tempting thoughts again resume it after a few days. So the very notion of the will power is meaningless in this context. Instead focus should be on positive thoughts and positive emotions. For instance, it is a settled fact that smoking is bad for health in the long run. So you don’t require the will power to get rid of a bad habit but need to cultivate the positive thought and consequent emotions that unless you quit smoking, it might cause severe health problems to your body in due course.
Like I mentioned in the previous paragraphs, human thoughts trigger hormonal secretion and flow which brings automatic chemical changes in the body causing emotions and consequent actions. Earlier mentioned, both fear and anger are negative emotions consequent to a thought of some danger. In the event of fear, the subject’s face becomes pale while in anger it becomes red. This emotional mechanism is built in the humans and animals too by the nature as a sort of life-saving mechanism.
But unlike animals, we so often misuse this alarm mechanism by unduly getting anxious or worried in day to day life even when our life is not threatened, thus triggering adrenalin flow even for minor events and stimuli. Let us see how this can cause to our ill health. The flow of adrenalin invariably triggers release of extra blood sugar and fatty acids used as fuel in the event of increased activity in terms of physical fighting or running. But when one is anxious or worried even at home or office, the blood sugar and fatty acids instead of burning to provide extra physical energy pile up in the blood. This may lead to diabetes and fat deposition in arteries may clog arteries leading to blood pressure and heart attack.
Thus negative emotions like fear and anger may be essential and useful in life threatening situations but they need to be avoided in ordinary circumstances and when associated with worry and anxiety. In this context, it is also important to keep in view that physical danger to a human body usually lasts for a short period only while worries and anxieties keep adrenal flows for hours together.
It is for these reasons that one should constantly endeavor to inculcate positive thoughts. Such thoughts give rise to positive emotions which are even capable of preventing and reversing the harmful impact of the negative emotions. Faith and hope are two very strong emotions for a happy and accomplished life. There are many real instances in the world where faith and hope have created wonders in the life of people.
One could try to inculcate the habit of talking positively during conversation with family, friends and colleagues. Positive conversation invariably leads to good and healthy emotions of love, affection, friendliness, bonhomie and vigor. Inspirational music and songs can change the life style of a person in a very substantive manner. Smile and laugh are like a tonic for good health. I have seen happy and healthy people who maintain that one should find reasons and occasions to laugh loudly till the stomach hurts.
Occasionally one may have exposure to negative thoughts and emotions which should not be a cause of much concern. But usually one should endeavor to look for the positive from every person and event in the surrounding for a happy, contented and healthy life. To illustrate this point, I may quote the following instance which have been narrated by many motivational authors and speakers in their writings:
You go to an evening party and the orange juice is poured in a glass for you. Apparently there was not enough juice to serve every guest in the party with a full glass. If you look at the glass from a point of view that you have been served orange juice with half-empty glass, you will be unhappy and cribbing which may spoil your mood. On the other hand, if you look at the orange juice that you have half a glass of refreshing, tasty and vitamin-rich juice for drinking, you will feel happy, relish it and start enjoying the party.