The Medical Establishment rarely, if ever, makes the connection between your emotional health and your bones. But science has shown that they are very closely related, and today we’re going to look at that important link.
The connection relates to brain chemicals, particularly cortisol and serotonin. The good news is that you can take control and influence the levels of both damaging and feel-good brain chemicals.
So I’m thrilled to share with you today nine powerful ways to do just that.
The Link Between Your Bones And Your Brain
As mentioned earlier, despite overwhelming scientific evidence, Mainstream Medicine misses this connection most of the time. Yet medical researchers have known for some time that depression is connected with low bone density, and various studies have elucidated this observation. Depression increases levels of an inflammatory protein called interleukin-1, and chronic inflammation is detrimental to bones.
In addition, commonly-prescribed antidepressant medications have been shown to double the risk of fracture, caused by the inhibition of serotonin reuptake these drugs induce. Serotonin plays a role in the process of bone formation, and without enough of it, your body can’t build new bone effectively.
Depression’s “cousin,” stress, also factors significantly in bone density. Stress causes the adrenal glands to produce large amounts of cortisol, a hormone that damages bone. The adrenal glands are part of a biological axis known as the HPA (hypothalamic/pituitary/adrenal), and high cortisol levels indicate that the interconnected functioning of these three body systems has gone awry.
When researchers studied the cortisol levels of individuals under stress, they found corresponding low bone mass, particularly in the lumbar vertebrae and femur.1
As you can see, healthy bone remodeling and optimal bone density are part of a complex interplay between body systems, some of which are mediated and regulated by brain chemicals.
Taking Control Of Your Brain Chemicals: How To Boost More Of The Good And Decrease The Bad
There is no need to let this information induce worry (that also hurts your bones, because worry is stressful!). Instead, let this information spur you into taking action to boost your brain’s feel-good chemicals.
By taking the following proactive steps, you’re firmly in charge of your own happiness. That fact alone brings relief!
1. Connect With Others
Isolation can increase depression, and depression can increase isolation. To break this cycle, seek out friends and loved ones with whom you can have a real conversation – over the phone is fine, but being in the same room can be even more beneficial. In fact, even being around others without directly interacting can help. But if you’re able to meet in person, all the better. Personal interaction opens the door for physical contact such as a hug.
Giving and receiving hugs and meaningful conversations boost levels of oxytocin, a bonding chemical that supports the ever-important serotonin system, raising levels of both chemicals.
2. Go Ahead – Laugh And Smile
If you’re stressed and overwhelmed, you may not feel like smiling at all, much less laughing. Taking life too seriously can really weigh on your mood and sense of well-being. Instead of waiting for something to make you smile or laugh, try smiling anyway. Sometimes the process works in reverse – a smile can make you feel happy as well as being an expression of happiness.
Laughing is just as beneficial. Try reading something funny, or take a moment to remember a conversation, incident, or other funny moment that made you laugh. Go ahead – laugh again!
Speaking of memories…
3. Take Time To Reflect On Positive Memories
When you’re caught up in the stress of the moment every day, it’s easy to overlook the fun memories you’ve accumulated over the years. If you can take a moment to remember a happy time, it can increase your serotonin levels and give your mood a big boost.
It can be something as simple as recalling a good conversation or opening a gift, or it could be a memory of a vacation. As you do this exercise, you’ll likely find a treasure trove of happy memories you had forgotten were even there.
If possible, write down the good memories so you can look through them the next time you feel stressed and unhappy.
While you’re writing down those happy memories, keep your journal handy and try this next tip.
4. Keep A Journal Of Your Emotions
Designate a journal – a simple notebook will do – where you can put your emotions into words. This isn’t a place for self-judgment, or to convince yourself to stop feeling sad. Instead, let this journal be a place where you can be completely honest with yourself. Believe it or not, it’s been scientifically proven that writing down your feelings helps you process them by giving them names and labels, which decreases anxiety by calming the activity in the brain’s amygdala.2
The amygdala is the brain’s processing center for emotions and emotional behavior. It receives input from all of your senses as well as input from within the body itself (such as other areas of the brain). The amygdala also has five major output pathways, so it is constantly receiving and sending emotional information.
By translating your feelings into words, you’re helping to “rein in” this area of the brain by introducing practical terminology to the nameless emotional cycle of the amygdala.
5. Enjoy The Sunshine
There are so many ways that healthy sun exposure improves your mental, emotional, and physical health! For one thing, it’s the best possible way to boost your Vitamin D levels. Deficiencies in this vitamin-hormone vital to bone health have been connected to depression, while increasing Vitamin D can be a very effective anti-depressant.
Another way that sunlight boosts mood is by regulating your Circadian rhythm, or sleep/waking cycle. Morning sun exposure is particularly effective, preparing the body to release melatonin in the evening. Getting adequate, quality sleep is not only important for relieving stress and depression; it is also a vital aspect of bone health, since much bone remodeling takes place while you sleep.
And finally, sunshine stimulates serotonin. So taking a 10- to 20-minute walk in the sunshine, exposing as much skin as possible to the sun, is a manifold remedy for brain and bone health.
Speaking of taking walks…
6. Get Regular Exercise
It’s certainly no secret that exercise builds bone. But what is lesser-known is that exercise helps bone health in more than one way.
The best-known way is by stimulating bone formation in response to the action of muscle and gravity on the bone itself – Savers know this phenomenon as Wolff’s Law. But exercise also helps bones by relieving depression and the reducing the ravages of stress.
In fact, exercise kicks a healthful cycle into gear: your body responds to exercise with feel-good brain chemicals, especially endorphins, and decreases cortisol; this causes you to feel happier and more energetic, which then inspires you to exercise again. Your brain and your bones reap great rewards!
7. Enjoy Relaxing Rituals
There can be great comfort in peaceful routines and rituals, especially at bedtime. Take a few minutes and create a safe, comfortable environment in your bedroom with plenty of pillows, a way to play relaxing music, and even a mug warmer for a cup of bone-healthy, sleep-promoting herbal tea such as chamomile. A relaxing scent such as lavender can also help. Keep your journal beside your bed and make writing your emotions part of your bedtime ritual.
The point is to make your bedroom into a happy, positive place. This sets the stage for healthy amounts of melatonin and other positive brain chemicals to kick in.
8. Take A Techno-Break
Given the handy size of so many electronics today, many people carry their phones, tablets, and other devices right into bed with them. This is not only distracting, but the blue light from the screens can disrupt your sleep cycle because it is so much like daylight. In addition, having constant access to the news, tweets, e-mails, and the like, prevents you from relaxing and just taking time to process emotions and practice your bedtime rituals uninterrupted. It’s important to be alone with your thoughts for a while.
9. Eat Healthful Foods
Eating an overall healthful, pH-balanced diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables is key to building bone on the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, and good nutrition also promotes brain and emotional health. In fact, if you’re following the Program, you are more than likely eating foods that help promote sleep, the importance of which we’ve already covered in relation to bone and brain health. In addition, many of the Program’s Foundation Foods have been shown to boost positive brain chemicals and promote quality sleep without the toxic effects of acidifying sleeping pills.
Not only that, but a pH-balanced nutritional plan provides all the nutrients your bones need to build and rejuvenate. In fact, the Osteoporosis Reversal Program also includes exercise and stress-reduction techniques very similar to the ones listed above (and many more), thus tackling osteoporosis from as many angles as possible.
This is yet another way that the Osteoporosis Reversal Program is a comprehensive, whole-body approach to bone health. You simply can’t build bones without considering the other body systems that play into it. To do so is to follow the mainstream medical model, and it’s been shown time and again to be ineffective at best and detrimental at worst.
Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss
Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
When you follow the Program, you can rest assured that building bone “builds” the rest of your body and mind as well.
Till next time,
1 Osella, Giangiacomo, et al. “Cortisol secretion, bone health, and bone loss: a cross-sectional and prospective study in normal nonosteoporotic women in the early postmenopausal period.” European Journal of Endocrinology. 2012. Vo. 166, pages 855-860.
2 Lieberman, Matthew D., et al. “Putting Feelings Into Words: Affect Labeling Disrupts Amygdala Activity in Response to Affective Stimuli.” Association for Psychological Science. 2007. Volume 18, Number 5. PDF. http://www.scn.ucla.edu/pdf/AL%282007%29.pdf