“Making Peace with our lives: Can we really?”
As a human physiology student, I am learning more about how our bodies work daily and I am fascinated by the depth and complexity of our creation as humans. The different molecular mechanisms and regulations that makes us who we are astounds me. Learning about various hormones and neurotransmitters that controls the simple and vital components of our lives such as sleep, appetite, mood, and coping with stress is just awe-inspiring to me. It is only in my generation that I think that the saying “knowledge is power” does not always apply. My human physiology professor jokingly commented about preaching to the choir when she advised that we all should get “enough sleep” every night because sleep has a significant impact on our appetite regulation, performances as students and stress level. There is an hormone called Ghrelin that is secreted by the endocrine cells of our stomach and ghrelin secretion is associated with gastric stretch. Increase concentration of grehlin in our blood decreases gastric stretch and this binds with receptors in our hypothalamus and we experience an increase in appetite. Unsurprisingly, decreased concentration of ghrelin in our blood increases gastric stretch and that binds with a different receptor in the hypothalamus and we experience a decrease in appetite and whoola, We are not hungry!
When you are hungry and your stomach becomes a lead growler, you are secreting ghrelin! When we do not get enough sleep, we have high concentration of ghrelin in our blood and we eat more. It makes me wonder if there is a connection between being dissatisfied with ones life and an increase in secretion of this hormone and overeating. If we add acute stress to the mix, it makes for a bigger party of confusion in our body. Stress increases cortisol level in our blood and epinephrine, which depresses our immune system. When epinephrine is secreted, our heart rate increase, blood pressure increases and as well as blood glucose. Imagine being in a long term state of chronic stress, It would not be surprising that a person could be scared to death literally with all of these predisposing factors. Sleep relates to stress which relates to appetite regulation and that relates to mood and a whole lots of other things.
Going back to the famous saying, even though most of us know that we ought to get enough sleep at night so that we can get up the next day and seize each day, we all often find ourselves doing the opposite. So Knowledge goes from being power to judgement. So what is it that makes this simple idea of getting enough sleep at night impossible? It has become an incurable disease of the 21st century, it is something that is now a norm and getting enough sleep at night is now looked down upon. When I talk to the few people in my life who tells me that they are able to get 8 hours of sleep or more every night, I find myself saying a little prayer of forgiveness afterwards because of my first response to their honest response is judgement. I feel like they just don’t do enough, they are either just more opportuned than the “mass” or they are just “lucky” or they are just not as ambitious or hardworking as most people. I mean, how can you do it? How can you handle all the demands of life and get consistently good 8 hours of sleep or more every night? With an increasing demand to be the best in all that we do in our culture today, something has got to give and in most times, it is usually sleep. To my surprise, when I engaged a step further and asked these people what they do differently that enables them to be able to fulfill this much needed requirement in our lives, the answers I received were all along the line of “I have made peace with my life, I live a very disciplined life, I live in the moment, I am not afraid to say NO to anyone for as much as I need to and I know my limit!” The answers sounds so simple, yet unattainable.
Truth be told, these are things that if implemented consistently, it would only change our lives for the better but someone somewhere would not be getting the help they need from us. One of the answers that pricked me the most was the response of “Making Peace with ourselves.” I think this is an idea that could be challenged and discussed more, it demands a revolution of people standing up to encourage the culture of making peace with life and defining what that means. Making peace does not mean being complacent, in fact it means working hard but accepting your life for what it is right now. It means pushing forward the culture of living in the moment and smelling more roses while striving for the better! It is progressive thinking that encourages us to develop new ways to balance our increasingly daily demands (life, work, school) with our human need for wellness! It means proper regulation of our appetite, mood and stress. It means taking care of ourselves to the best of our abilities, loving ourselves as well as others and just being! It is accepting that we are enough as we are and not falling into the pit of comparison (yea, don’t we all do that? ;)). It means working towards the most dreadful word nowadays, “balance!”
Most importantly, it means Living!
and making peace with our lives…:)….
Source: Life Lessons