With mind training, such as mindfulness practice and specific psychophysiologically-based concentration practices you can learn how to gain conscious access to your own endogenous pharmacy. Norman Cousins said, “What a person does or thinks can affect the kinds of prescriptions written for the body by the brain.” Mastery of these practices has allowed some people to rid the body of cancer, chronic debilitating pain, and other serious illnesses. This is not easy or even accessible for many people, but it is important to know it is possible.
Mind training can allow you to use the power of your mind to stimulate the natural biochemical agents synthesized by your body that are often referred to as your “endogenous pharmacy.” Your endogenous pharmacy includes all the neurotransmitters, such as the catecholamines—norepinephrine and dopamine. For example, dopamine is released whenever we simply anticipate a reward. The powerful analgesic prescribed as morphine is actually the pharmaceutical analog of the endogenously synthesized drug we call serotonin. The powerful drugs we call endorphins are among an impressive class of endogenously produced biochemicals we know as neuropeptides. Neuropeptides, hormones, enzymes, and countless combinations of other agents, amazingly, are produced by your body in exactly the right formula, dose, and schedule to maintain your particular unique physiology and health.
Neurobiologists have now demonstrated that the brain and nervous system have remarkable neuro-plasticity, and that this plasticity can be enhanced through mental training. The mental training you will learn has been shown to modify neural networks, coordinate regional brain oscillations, and modify neurosecretory functions, which in turn affect virtually every body system.
There is now evidence that thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect gene expression, and therefore affect cell proliferation. This occurs through neural, endocrine, and immune pathways.
The most important thing to know is that every single molecule produced in your body is in some way affected by what you think, feel, and believe, and that you can learn how to develop a practice which creates health-inducing mind-states.