The more I learn about the relationship between physical and mental health the more I'm amazed at how intricately the human body is designed. The pathways used by your body to send signals to your brain when you are physically hurt are extremely similar to the ones that send messages to your brain (and back to your body) when you are emotionally hurt. Wouldn't it make sense that a pain reducing medicine would also reduce emotional pain?
As psychology today explains it;
A study published in the April 2011 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that the very same neurons fire in the case of physical and emotional pain. The subjects in the study were exposed to a photograph of an ex partner who recently broke up with him or her and were asked to think about the rejection and how unwanted it was. The researchers found that the areas that lit up in brain images were very similar to the brain regions that are hyperactivated during physical pain.
New research confirms what previous studies have found; taking acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) not only reduces fever but it also blunts experiencing extreme positive and negative emotions as well. 82 college students were divided into a placebo and treatment group. The treatment group took 1000 mg of Tylenol. Both groups waited 60 minutes for the drug to take effect before viewing 40 photographs used by researchers to elicit emotional responses.
The photographs ranged from the extremely unpleasant (crying, malnourished children) to the neutral (a cow in a field) to the very pleasant (young children playing with cats).
I loved that they used pictures of children playing with cats as the photos to elicit very pleasant emotions! Here's my very pleasant cat photo from yesterday:
Results found that participants who took Tylenol rated photos less extremely. They thought the extremely unpleasant photos were less unpleasant, and the very pleasant photos were less pleasant.
[Tweet "Tylenol; Reduces fever and negative emotions!"]
For some reason this research reminded me of broken heart syndrome. When people with seemingly healthy hearts/arteries suffer from stress-induced cardiomyopathy following an extreme emotional or physical stress (often the loss of a loved one.)
As someone who's dealt with anxiety induced physical conditions for years (IBS and TMJ) I have to constantly remind myself to work on lowering my stress and anxiety so I feel physically better, and to take care of myself physically through eating right and exercising so I feel emotionally better.
It's all connected!
When you are stressed/anxious what physical symptoms do you have?
How do you lower stress levels naturally? (I'm always looking for new ideas!)