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Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Endorphins: Body-Mind-Soul Medicine at its Finest!
Nature’s best medicine is within you ~ Endorphins are your natural pain relievers and feel-good hormones!
We have all heard the saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine.’ Why is that so? Laughter, among other things, creates a positive, happy state of mind that will in turn create nature’s most powerful chemical substances in your body: endorphins. This group of natural chemicals that includes serotonin are also natural pain relievers. Nothing is more powerful for depression, chronic pain that comes from chronic conditions like low back pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue than endorphins. All of these illnesses have strong emotional components.
Emotions affect our body in many ways that I have addressed in my other articles, to create dis-ease. But God/the Universe gave us endorphins to help!
also believe in the power of positive thinking. Witnessing your
negative thoughts and learning to change them to the positive can change
you and create that which you desire and bring you better health and
healing of your body-mind-soul. Creating positive affirmations are paramount if you wish to be successful in all things in your life.
It is also important to understand your body and the metaphors
that it contains. When you learn to listen to your body when it is in
pain, and understand the messages it tries to tell you, you can then
heal your body-mind soul. This is important because then you can begin
to learn to use nature's best chemicals to improve your condition.
You can learn how to increase your level of endorphins in your body. Endorphins are hormones that are produced in your brain and released in your bloodstream.
They provide the same benefits as certain narcotics called opiates.
They are feel-good chemicals that block pain and will make you feel
better by elevating your mood.
Healing your life and
creating health through the integration of your body, mind and soul is
substantiated through medical research on endorphins. The body, mind and soul connection is never more evident than in your ability to produce these wonderful hormones!
Endorphin release heals your body-mind-soul in the following ways:
- Changes your mood to feel positive and happy.
- Increases your body’s production of gamma globulin, thereby improving your immune system.
- Increases your body’s production of interferon which helps you fight infection, combat viruses and even cancer.
- May lower blood pressure.
- May slow down the process of aging.
Sky Pilots on Cottonwood Pass, Colorado
Endorphins - The Natural Remedy
What a great natural chemical! If endorphins and serotonin are natural pain relievers and feel-good chemicals, how can you increase them?
- The first way towards higher endorphin release in your body, I revealed above. Laughter!
A good belly laugh will greatly increase your natural pain relievers!
If you are depressed, laughter will improve your mood. The greatest character trait in a person, in my opinion, is a sense of humor.
So invite your funniest friends to your home frequently. Go out and
rent a great comedy to improve your mood. Skip the war movies, the gory
movies and the dramas designed to show you the evil side of humanity,
and instead, choose to laugh for 2 hours. Some of my favorites are
romantic comedies that portray the power of love as well as making you
- Rigorous exercise will also provide you with
endorphin release. Everyone knows the phenomenon that is known as the
‘runner’s high.’ You can choose whatever form of exercise is suitable
for you. For me, it is mountain climbing.
For my friend, who fights depression it is going for long, rigorous
road rides on the bicycle. Just be careful not to make rigorous
exercise an addiction, like seen with exercise bulimia.
This form of obsessive-compulsive exercise will reverse any positive
effects of your feel-good hormones, and will actually create damage to
- Meditation has been shown to help
enormously with your mood. No surprise here, is there? The deeper and
more relaxing the meditation is, the better. I believe that this is
why body movements like meditative yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and meditative foam rolling are so beneficial. They are moving meditations. These practices are what I call Intuitive Movement. Moving your subtle energy for healing is the subject of the very healing practice of chakra yoga.
Yes, sugar of all types really does improve your mood. However,
chocolate in particular, raises your endorphins. I recommend dark
chocolate, in small amounts, after a meal, so you do not have a sugar
crash later. Do not go overboard with the dark chocolate, just because
it is high in anti-oxidants and is a way to feel better. Eat small
amounts, daily, if you need to improve your mood, especially if you
suffer from PMS, but do not pig out on sweets all day long! That will
damage your body-mind-soul if you overindulge! Use the other methods
listed as well.
- Soothing music has been shown to raise
endorphins. This would follow along the lines of meditation.
Instrumental music that is relaxing, is the type that is proven to help
your mood and provide the natural pain relief.
- Dance and Sing!
If you put on the tunes and sing along as you dance and let it go, you
will raise your endorphins for sure. Singing alone does it,
especially when you sing in a group. But if you aren't in a choir or
can't sing in a group, sing by yourself. Hum a happy tune in the
shower. Sing to your favorite songs on your drive to work. Add
dancing to your singing, and you have a double whammy!
- Spending time in the sun
will improve your mood. Yes, increasing your natural pain relievers
by soaking up the sun definitely will improve your well-being. Just do
so in moderation, without creating the redness that is the pre-cursor to
sunburn. I am at my happiest, after doing Yoga
on my deck in the warm sunshine. A daily sunbath of 10-30 minutes,
depending on your skin type will increase your level of endorphins.
Watch your skin carefully for signs of sunburn. Light therapy in the
winter, when sunshine is harder to get, may also help. If you are
prone to depression at this time, a condition called seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), keep the lights burning bright.
- A natural herb called St. John’s Wort
is very helpful to increase your mood and combat depression. Just
don’t take it if you suffer from bi-polar disease or if you are on birth
control pills. St. John’s Wort may make a bi-polar person’s condition
worse, and may reduce the efficacy of birth control pills. For all the
rest of you, it may just be the ticket to make you feel better.
- Eating chilies and spicy food
will also increase your feel-good hormones! So go ahead and add the
jalapenos and other chili peppers to your dishes, or go out and splurge
on the spiciest Mexican or Thai dish that you can tolerate. Chilies
may also prevent stomach ulcers.
- Acupuncture and massage
may also help for some people. Acupuncture is definitely a natural
pain reliever, and massage is an effective stress management tool, so
give either or both of these a try if it fits your individual needs.
- And the best, most powerful tool for feeling better, that I save for last is - Sex!
The most powerful release of endorphins occurs immediately after
orgasm. Is it any wonder that we are so enthralled by the act? Just
do it safely and without causing harm to others!
You may also have read about alcohol
as a tool for elevating your good hormones. Yes, this is true, but
because of the degree to which addiction is involved with the
consumption of alcohol, I do not recommend it. The occasional drink
for social events and for relaxation can be very beneficial. However
you need to know yourself extremely well, so your drinking doesn’t tip
to the destructive side. Medical science does not yet understand why
some individuals can turn off the desire to drink after just a few,
while others cannot. So I recommend raising your endorphins in the ways
I have listed above.
Healing your body-mind-soul can be as easy as learning to manage your feel-good hormones.
Staying positive, finding time for restoring and fun activities, managing stress, aerobic exercise and healthy eating are all key ingredients to keeping your endorphin release at its highest. By doing this, you can also manage chronic pain through using your body’s natural pain relievers.
body really is a window to your soul, your inner state. When you feel
down, have pain, and life seems too hard, use the above techniques that
are proven to heal your body-mind-soul.
Listen to your Body Window and get moving to increase your endorphins to help you heal your life!
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