Wednesday, 16 September 2009
I'm reading a really good book at the moment
Its not the easiest read - it has a lot of scientific detail which I do at times find hard to follow with my almost-forgotten biology degree. Its the story of a Research Professor, her efforts in neuroscience and AIDS research, and the struggle she had to get recognition for her work in the male-dominated scientific world. Its also about the gradual realisation that our emotions result from our biochemistry, and can therefore both be affected by our health - and can affect our health in return.
Her name is Candace B. Pert (Ph.D) and I hope I'm not infringing copyright or anything by quoting a couple of particularly impressive paragraphs that caught my eye (if I am, and you know it, please tell me so I can edit it out - but I think they're worth the risk!)
"Since our sensing of the outer world is filtered along peptide-receptor-rich sensory way-stations, each with a different emotional tone, how can we objectively define what's real and what's not real? If what we perceive as real is filtered along a gradient of past emotions and learning, then the answer is we cannot. Fortunately, however, receptors are not stagnant, and can change in both sensitivity and the arrangement they have with other proteins in the cell membrane. This means that even when we are 'stuck' emotionally, fixated on a version of reality that does not serve us well, there is always a biochemical potential for change and growth."
"We must take responsibility for the way we feel. The notion that others can make us feel good or bad is untrue. Consciously or - more frequently - unconsciously, we are choosing how we feel at every single moment. The external world is in so many ways a mirror of our beliefs and expectations. Why we feel the way we feel is the result of the symphony and harmony of our own molecules of emotion that affect every aspect of our physiology, producing blissful good health or miserable disease."
I have a problem with taking the advice in self-help books and believing that they actually could help me. But as a scientist (I still feel like a scientist even though I never used my degree in the real world) I can see and appreciate the possibilities inherent in this theory, which seems to me to offer something to 'grab onto' and work with, rather than wishy-washy feel-good waffle.