Neurotransmitters

nerve cells communicate with one another through chemicals called neurotransmitters.  The various neurotransmitters have very distinct functions.

  • Acetylcholine is involved in higher processing and mental function – abstract through and mental deductions of theological reflect are thought to be influenced by acetylcholine.
  • Serotonin plays a large part in mood.  Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depressions where moderately increased levels lead to a more positive outlook.  
  • Beta-endorphins depress fear, reduce pain and produce sensations of euphoria. Play generates endorphins and make you feel good. Exercise also helps produce endorphins. 
  • Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with reward. Healthy levels help in feeling blissful or motivated.  
  • GABA (Gamma-aminobutryic acid)plays a role in “turning off” certain parts of the brain.  In meditation and prayer, GABA likely plays a role in turning down excitatory states. Stretching and yoga have also been found to increase GABA which may lower anxiety and depression.
  • Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that plays a large role in social bonding.  Oxytocin helps play in the role of our feeling safe and secure.  The release of oxytocin from the hypothalamus helps drop the level of cortisol stress hormones.  This also helps blood pressure drop.  A soothing and warm touch helps the process unfold.  It is not necessary to have touch however.  The connection of your mind and heart to remembering that you are loved and connected also has a similar effect.