Hormones and Neurotransmitters | what are?

Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted directly into the bloodstream, which then carries them to organs and tissues of the body with instructions for the cells to perform certain functions. These hormones are secreted from endocrine glands within the human body. These endocrine glands include:

  • Pituitary Gland
  • Pineal Gland
  • Thymus
  • Thyroid
  • Adrenal Glands
  • Pancreas
  • Testes
  • Ovaries

When these organs secrete hormones they can bring about major changes within the human body. For instance, a slight excess in hormone secretion can lead to a diseased state, and the same is true when there is a slight deficiency of a particular hormone.

About Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters, like hormones, can also bring about major changes within the human body, however instead of being transmitted through the bloodstream, they are transmitted as electrical impulses via the Nervous System between neurons. The speed of these electrical impulses works at a much faster rate when compared to hormones transported via the bloodstream.

Types of Hormones and Neurotransmitters

There are of course many different types of hormones and neurotransmitters all of which act on various aspects of bodily functions and processes. For the purpose of understanding the MasterMind Matrix, let’s take a closer look at six of them.

  • Adrenalin (hormone): Also known as epinephrine plays a part in the fight-or-flight response to help us better cope with high stress situations. It does this by increasing the heart rate, contracting blood vessels and dilating air passages. This in turn allows more blood to get to the muscles and more oxygen to the lungs, and as a result your physical performance improves, thereby preparing your body for fight or flight.
  • Cortisol (hormone): Helps regulate metabolism and immune response, and plays an important role with helping the body respond to stress. Just like adrenalin it also helps temporarily increase the body’s energy production to assist with the fight-or-flight response. It however does this at the expense of processes that are not required for immediate survival.
  • Dopamine (neurotransmitter): Is typically released whenever you expect to receive a reward. Likewise it’s what motivates you to keep seeking that reward. In other words, whenever you see something you like within your environment, dopamine will be released into your bloodstream to motivate you to go get it. It’s however tied to your expectations. Whenever you get something you weren’t expecting your dopamine levels rise, however if your expectations were not met, then your dopamine levels subsequently plunge.
  • Endorphin (neurotransmitter): Is typically triggered by physical pain. However, it doesn’t lead to pain, it rather serves to hide the pain to help you keep going. This is quite evident for those who experience emotional highs during a tough workout session. That emotional high is a result of the endorphin that was released as a direct consequence of the pain you just experienced. As such you don’t feel as exhausted and you subsequently persist with your workout despite the pain.
  • Oxytocin (both): Effectively rewards you for building strong and supportive social relationships. This pleasure hormone is released into the bloodstream when you feel a sense of trust with another person. In fact, every experience of social belonging (i.e. dancing or conversing with someone) triggers oxytocin and helps build bonds between human beings. High amounts of oxytocin have also been linked to lower stress levels. As such, people with rewarding friendships are less likely to suffer from stress.
  • Serotonin (neurotransmitter): Is typically released when we assert our authority over other people, and as a result makes us feel really good about ourselves. In other words, it’s released when we dominate others. It functions in this way because evolutionarily speaking those who dominate others typically have better access to food and mating opportunities. However, you don’t necessarily need to dominate others to get a shot of serotonin. You can actually trick your brain into feeling “superior” to yourself. This is possible because self-perception uses the same neural circuitry that the brain uses when perceiving others. Of course the optimal way to do this is to constantly challenge yourself to beat your very best when performing a task or activity.

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