It's the day of thanks, when we all gather 'round the table or picnic blanket and hope there's at least one person in the room we're thankful for having in our lives. Food is usually involved, as is wine and other alcoholic splendor, and with all the focus on baking the perfect pie and finding flattering pants with elastic waistbands we tend to forget the point of it all.
But a recent study covered by an ABCNews.com reporter (she's hot, we looked her up) tells us that keeping the Thanksgiving spirit in mind year round is not only good for the soul it also can nourish our bodies.
Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center, says that thankfulness is powerful enough to be a best-selling drug, as it has beneficial effects on every major organ in the body.
If only big-business pharmaceuticals could tap that.
Studies have shown measurable effects on multiple body and brain systems, said Doraiswamy. Those include mood neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine), reproductive hormones (testosterone), social bonding hormones (oxytocin), cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters (dopamine), inflammatory and immune systems (cytokines), stress hormones (cortisol), cardiac and EEG rhythms, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
If you remember what we previously reported about SSRIs (the drugs used to treat depression) and their detrimental effect on mood and sex drive, you'll see that (almost) anything that positively affects reproductive hormones and the neurotransmitters responsible for pleasure and mood is a good move.
And what have we learned about the brain's power on our sexual functioning? The brain is the primary and most important sexual organ for humans, moreso than hard penises and ovulating ovaries, and when you're in a happy, pleased state arousal – and orgasm – comes easier.
Especially for women. Drugs can't replicate the sex “boost” that the brain naturally provides us.
But being positive doesn't come naturally for many of us, especially during holidays like today, which often bring stress, sadness and tension to our lives.
ABCNews.com interviewed Renee Jain, a positive psychology coach, who shared that we as humans naturally focus on the negative, and this “negativity bias” can outweigh the positive by a ratio of 3:1.
“This bias developed over millions of years help us survive threats in our environment,” Jain said. “Fortunately, we no longer have to worry about a saber-toothed tiger attacking us on the way to work. Unfortunately, we still have this bias, which makes us hone in on negative events, emotions, and interactions in our lives.”
There are all kinds of triggers to negativity. Some are more severe than others, and this in no way discounts your right to feel pissed, sad, depressed or angry. And of course there are medical treatments for those cases that are too intricate to alleviate with positive thoughts.
Your family might fight at the dinner table. Your record executive older brother might make you feel inadequate. Your significant other might decide to leave and take the dog. Or maybe you simply burned the apple pie and everyone is stuck eating ancient Jell-O cups from the depths of the pantry.
And no amount of porn, fondling or flirting can lift the dull, numb feeling that often comes along with those disappointments. But give some of these positive thinking exercises a try before you succumb to the darkness and see if your genitals wake up.
Because if there's one thing we're thankful for it is the ability to inspire, evoke and control our own sexual satisfaction – something of which not enough of us realize. So take charge and see what you can do for yourself.