EMOTIONS & THE AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM

Different parts of the nervous system are responsible for our emotional experiences.

CO-CEO, NEUROFIT
1 MINUTE READ
OCT 4, 2023
EMOTIONAL REGULATION
The sympathetic, parasympathetic and enteric branches of the nervous system are all responsible for regulating the different hormones that lead to most of our emotional responses.
SYMPATHETIC: FEAR, ANGER, ANXIETY, & TENSION
The sympathetic nervous system is activated in response to stressors, such as a perceived threat. This activation results in the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which increase heart rate and blood pressure. The sympathetic nervous system is also responsible for the release of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a key player in the regulation of emotions, as it is involved in the brain's fear circuit. When a person is exposed to a stressor, the sympathetic nervous system triggers the release of cortisol. This cortisol release can lead to an increase in anxiety levels.
VENTRAL VAGAL: PEACE, JOY, SAFETY, LOVE
The parasympathetic nervous system is activated in response to calming stimuli, such as the sight of food or the sound of a loved one's voice. This activation results in the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which slows heart rate and increases blood flow to the digestive system. Acetylcholine is also involved in the brain's reward circuit and is thought to play a role in the experience of pleasure.
THE ENTERIC NERVOUS SYSTEM & SEROTONIN
Finally, the enteric nervous system (gut-brain) regulates the production of over 90% of the body's serotonin, which is a key player in the regulation of mood and emotions. Serotonin is thought to play a role in the prevention of anxiety and depression.
REGULATING EMOTIONS THROUGH THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Different branches of the nervous system are responsible for regulating the different hormones that lead to most of our emotional responses. By regulating and balancing the nervous system, we can build increased resistance to stress, anxiety, and depression.
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