Receptive to Stress

In the face of stress, our body diverts metabolic resources to its emergency response. It has been thought that the sympathetic nervous system – the body’s instinctive system for reacting to stress – directs this activity, but Weizmann Institute of Science research now shows that neurons in the brain have a surprising role to play. The findings, which recently appeared in Cell Metabolism, may, in the future aid in developing better drugs for such stress-related pathologies as eating disorders.

Dr. Yael Kuperman began this study as part of her doctoral research in the lab of Prof. Alon Chen of the Neurobiology Department. Kuperman, presently a staff scientist in the Veterinary Resources Department, Chen and research student Meira Weiss focused on an area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which has a number of functions, among them helping the body adjust to stressful situations, controlling hunger and satiety, and regulating blood glucose and energy expenditure.

When stress hits, cells in the hypothalamus step up the activation of a receptor on their outer walls called CRFR1. It was known that this receptor contributes to the rapid activation of the sympathetic nerve network – increasing heart rate, for example. But since this area of the brain also regulates the body’s energy balance, the team thought that the CRFR1 receptor might play a role in this, as well.

Chen and his group characterized the cells in a certain area of the hypothalamus, finding that the receptor is expressed in around half of those that arouse appetite and suppress energy expenditure. These cells comprise one of two main populations in the hypothalamus – the second promotes satiety and burning energy. “This was a bit of a surprise,” says Kuperman, “as we would instinctively expect the receptor to be expressed on the cells that suppress hunger.”

To continue investigating, the researchers removed the CRFR1 receptor just from the cells that arouse appetite in the hypothalamus, in lab mice, and then observed how this affected their bodily functions. At first, they did not see any significant changes, confirming that this receptor is saved for stressful situations. When they exposed the mice to stress – cold or hunger – they got another surprise.

When exposed to cold, the sympathetic nervous system activates a unique type of fat called brown fat, which produces heat to maintain the body’s internal temperature. When the receptor in the brain was removed, body temperature dropped dramatically – but only in the female mice. Even afterward their temperatures failed to stabilize, while male mice showed hardly any change.

Fasting produced a similarly drastic response in the female mice. Normally when food is scarce, the brain sends a message to the liver to produce glucose, conserving a minimum level in the blood. But when food was withheld from female mice missing the CRFR1 receptor, the amount of glucose their livers produced dropped significantly. In hungry male CRFR1-deficient mice, like those exposed to cold, the metabolism was barely affected.

“We discovered that the receptor has an inhibitory effect on the nerve cells, and this is what activates the sympathetic nervous system,” says Kuperman.

Among other things – revealing exactly how this receptor works and how it contributes to the stress response – the findings show that male and female bodies may exhibit significant differences in their metabolic response to stressful challenges. Indeed, the fact that the receptor is known to suppress eating may help explain why women are much more prone to eating disorders than men.

These findings could aid in developing psycho-pharmaceutical treatments, especially since drugs can enter the hypothalamus with relative ease. Indeed, several pharmaceutical companies have already begun developing drugs to block the CRFR1 receptor for the possible treatment of anxiety disorders or depression. The scientists caution, however, that because the cells are involved in energy balance, blocking the receptor could turn out to have such side effects as weight gain.

Hey Everyone,

So I know school is starting soon and that’s can be stressful for some so I’ve decided to post some links to Live Feeds, courtesy of the @montereybayaquarium , that always help me relax (feel free to add your own links too!)



Kelp Forest

Monterey Bay

Sea Otters

Penguins (they make me laugh)

abuse is pain
 abuse is suffering
abuse is food
 i am starving
abuse is horrid
 abuse is disgusting
abuse is romantic
 it is beautiful
abuse is not your fault
 abuse is not permanent
abuse was my choice
 it is my only life
abuse is not deserved
 abuse is cruel
abuse is my punishment
 i deserve all of it

what is the lie
what is the truth
—  poisonous thoughts

anonymous asked:

Could you explain what is meant by mental energy and how should it be properly accounted for in development? How can you get more of it if you are always using it to do stuff that isn't related to development?

Your mental energy is limited and finite, so how you spend it is very important. Using a function is like using a tool to do something with greater adaptability or success, e.g., you can crack a walnut much more easily with a nutcracker than you can with your fingers. However, the less skilled you are with using the tool, the more you struggle with it and make mistakes, with the result being that you waste a lot of mental energy just fumbling around with lackluster results. What’s worse, the more mistakes you make, the more stress and problems you create for yourself as you fail or exacerbate existing problems, thus losing additional mental energy to emotional reactivity, becoming anxious or depressed or angry. Imagine that you haven’t even mastered the first tool and now you must use a second one simultaneously and, worse, the two are often at odds with each other, making you even more prone to making mistakes and causing stress for yourself. Now introduce a third tool, and a fourth one, and you must juggle them together perfectly or you drop them all. Make enough mistakes in life and build up enough emotional stress and you get defensive, blaming the tools for your failures, like a little kid who hates a subject because they got a bad teacher. Since you’ve already gotten used to the first tool, you decide to hang on to that one for dear life and reject the ones that you are least skilled with. Now you are spending additional energy trying to avoid using those other tools even though they are absolutely necessary for doing things successfully. Life keeps sending you problems that require those tools but even looking at the tools causes you emotional turmoil, so then you spend additional energy to create psychological walls to block out those problems from your line of sight, severely limiting what you can do and experience in life. With these mental gymnastics happening in your unconscious mind all the time, how much mental energy do you think is left over for handling the actual things you must do in daily life?

Energy use can result in feedback loops, so would you rather enter a feedback loop that produces increased stress or increased growth? When you become skilled at using all of the functions at your disposal, you see things clearly, you quickly make good judgments, you take effective action and you make tangible progress, and you learn to deal with difficulty better. As you become more skilled, you get more efficient, continually decreasing the amount of mental energy that is required to do things successfully. This is what it means to unleash your potential. As I have already explained in the type dynamics section, there is very little incentive to work on self-development once you are functional enough to solve problems without them exploding in your face, even if the results are merely passable. You can keep hammering away in life but, if you don’t actually know how to use a hammer properly, the results will never be as good as they could have been if you were more skilled, just like the student who has poor study methods and studies for hours and hours only to achieve a C average. Most people simply get used to functioning at a certain (low) level of effectiveness over the course of twenty or so years, so they don’t even realize that they are capable of much more than what they are currently achieving. And it requires energy to change and improve oneself, which is further disincentive. Thus, a lot of people don’t even entertain the thought of improving themselves until they feel existentially stuck or in a crisis and have no real choice about it. But psychologically mature people know that self-development is valuable for its own sake and they spend their energy on it even when life is not pressing them into doing it, because they know that investing energy now produces enormous returns later on.


I think I will quietly slip away from the rush of the crowd, not for too long, just a decade or two.

I will wander an old forest path and cobble together something that seems more ancient, more mythic.  

If I stop trying to figure everything out, I might just begin to understand.

Maybe I will pay more attention to the leaves, hear their wild stories—about the moment last year they hung on for dear life in the midst of that storm. I’ll watch them shimmer and curtsy in a slight breeze, thankful as ever.

Perhaps I will stare at the oiled spread of clinging dew, a thousand tiny crystal mirrors, each reflecting the forest universe inside their skin, a splash of everything seen in the ocean of her transparent soul.

Here is a silent calligraphy with each green curl spinning deep as if they were candle flames undressing in the cool of twilight.

reaching out, i’ve been under a lot of stress recently and have absolutely no appetite. to the point where it’s becoming dangerous. anyone have any methods, or know of any herbs or medicines or whatever that can increase appetite? weed is out of the question, can’t smoke it, makes me anxious. thanks for your input.