I like to think of the human body as a teeter-totter. We are constantly undergoing a cacophony of metabolic processes, shifting back and forth in an effort to strike the biologically ideal balance. Our brains utilize special networks of neural connections in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to monitor and alter many of our homeostatic (trending toward equilibrium) processes (Lechan & Toni, 2016).
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland sit deep within the brain and work to integrate the nervous system with our endocrine system. Signals from the nervous system reach the hypothalamus and relay homeostatic information about the body. This causes the hypothalamus to release hormones that then travel down to the pituitary gland (Shahid, Asuka, & Singh, 2021). At this point the pituitary gland will release hormones that are sent throughout the body to shift metabolic functions in order to maintain homeostasis (Rawindraraj, Basit, & Jialal, 2021).
This system is responsible for the maintenance of several important functions in the body. This includes sexual development, sexual function, metabolism, thyroid function, stress response, hunger, thirst, and sleep and wake cycles (Roh, Song, & Kim, 2016; Smith & Vale, 2006; Williams et al., 2001). The hypothalamic-pituitary system is yet another example of the mind-body connection and the important role balance plays in both our physical and mental well-being.