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The immune system is not a standalone system. It is very intimately connected to the nervous system, the pain system and the emotional brain. They work together and are focused on action or recovery. If these systems are in balance with each other, it is a dynamic balance like a see-saw. One part is more active, e.g. during sports, then the other e.g. during relaxation. The strongest influence on the position of the seesaw comes from emotions. Fear, stress, anger, irritation activate the stress system and suppress recovery. Safety, connection, satisfaction, acceptance, fun actually activate the recovery system. For safety reasons, our senses are easiest to focus on danger (see story below). Consciously focusing on everything that evokes positive emotions can be an important health-promoting choice. What you pay attention to grows. The nervous system changes based on your experiences and you can (partly) control this. Focus on satisfaction, again and again, make it your own. This can be done in many ways. Just see what suits you best.

If our ancestor was walking across the savannah and came across a problem, a lion for example, it had to be seen. Any early human who did not respond immediately had few children. If that same ancestor overlooked something positive, such as a bush of ripe berries, this did not immediately ensure that there were no offspring. So people have developed a biased view: they see the negative better than the positive. (Matthijs Steeneveld)

“Satisfaction is biologically the opposite of stress.”

Practical tips and links:

Connection, meaning, spirituality, sexuality, environment and creativity are possible sources of deep satisfaction and therefore a rich potential for resilience. What feeling comes to your mind when you focus in your mind on each of these factors? Do you also feel that in your body?

  • The book: Resilience by Rick Hanson

  • The book: the emotional DNA of Prof. Piere Capel

  • The book: Mind over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, MD

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