The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Based on that definition, two Israeli doctors, Dr. Dina Eisen and Dr. Lilach Meltski, have developed a system called “Synapsot,” or otherwise “Optimistic Health Promotion,” that encouraged patients to be healthy by being happy.
“It’s really not much more complicated than that,” say the doctors.
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The origin of the word synapse comes from ancient Greek and means “to join together.” The plural of synapse in Hebrew is Synapsot. Synapses are the points where two nerve ends meet, and where a message is passed along.
Synapses are therefore the connecting points in the brain between the outer reality and the inner perception. Our thoughts define what we feel about what is actually happening. We are able to give personal meaning and choose particular reactions to outside events as they occur. Our thought processes activate synapses that give us either happiness or sadness. And this reaction will not only affect our emotional well-being, say the Synapsot founders, but our physical health.
(See below for Dr. Eisen’s top five tips)
According to Dr. Eisen, new synapses can be produced throughout life. The human brain is flexible and can produce “optimistic synapses” by learning and repeating actions, thoughts or words: “We found a way to create the exact chemical reaction in the brain generally induced by different types of pills, only in a natural way, using the system already existing in our bodies,” Eisen told NoCamels. “It is the synapses activation that makes us either happy or sad.”
Eisen’s method is based on years of medical research worldwide. Two of the main studies have shown that a larger amount of Serotonin is being released into the synapses in the brain when a person smiles or says “thank you,” explained Eisen. Serotonin release is a chemical reaction known to make people happier and is often used in anti-depression pills.
Eisen says that laughter and humor are also proven to be making people healthier. One of the studies that influenced Synapsot was a research with more than 800 male subjects with heart disease. The study showed that the happier and more optimistic men had 20 percent more chances of staying alive than the pessimistic ones.
To help people understand how to encourage happy thoughts, Synapsot created what they call a toolbox for optimistic health on their website. There readers can find articles on health and preventive medicine, the principles of optimistic health and links to books and additional sites.
Dr. Eisen also wrote her top five tips for optimistic health promotion, exclusively for NoCamels:
1. Hug a person at least 4 times a day – studies show that a warm touch with another person has positive physical effects on both the giver and receiver.
2. Say Thank you even for the smallest things – it’s proven to be making new synapses connections in your brain as well as improving your attention skills.
3. Keep in close touch with your friends – people who have been through heart attacks are 40 percent less likely to suffer another when they have a close circle of friends.
4. Eat cashew nuts, avocado, whole wheats, sweat potato and spinach – they increase the level of serotonin in your brain.
5. Get 6-8 hours of sleep every night – sleeping balances the neurons in the brain back to their normal level.
To learn more about the synapses system, click here.