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10 Reasons Why Endorphins are So Important

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Endorphins

We all know that Endorphins make us happy but they are also important in many other ways! Endorphins are a naturally occurring chemical neurotransmitter produced in the human brain.

The name is derived from two words: endogenous (from within) and morphine (a pain-killer).

Naturally, since endorphins block the pain receptors, they are also called as “happy chemicals” of the human body. When endorphins are released in the body of a person, he or she confronts a feeling of bliss, flow or euphoria. They are often produced and released when a person eats certain foods such as chocolate or spicy peppers, exercises strenuously, listens to music, and is in love.

This is one of the main reasons why people are addicted to the things they enjoy, as the release of endorphins makes them feel joyous.

The human body makes around 20 different types of Endorphins. Though research is still underway to determine what each one of them accomplishes, they are all very important for the functioning of the body. Here are 10 reasons why endorphins are so important:

 

The benefits of releasing Endorphins

 

1. They help in reducing pain

Endorphins block the pain receptors in the brain, and thus are a great help in reducing the feeling of pain in the body.

It doesn’t matter where the pain originates in the body; endorphins have an equal effect in combating all kinds of pain: leg, arms, stomach, head, tooth, etc.

 

2. Wards off anxiety and depression

While depression depends on the nature of the patient, it is also affected by improper functioning of neurotransmitters in the brain. Endorphins have a great impact on a person’s personality, intelligence, and moods. Hence, they play a great role in warding off anxiety and depression.

You could say that Endorphins are the best natural anti-depressants we have at hand.

 

3. Improves sleep

The word Endorphins is derived from two words, endogenous and morphine. Morphine is in turn derived from the word Morpheus, who in Greek mythology is the ‘god of sleep.’

Working as a natural relaxant, endorphins helps one to sleep better.

 

4. Boosts self-esteem

Self-esteem is a measure of worth of a person’s overall emotional evaluation of himself or herself. A lot of factors contribute to one’s self-esteem; a few of them are pride, shame, despair and triumph. By reducing and pain and fear, endorphins boost the confidence of a person immensely. Thus, they also help in boosting one’s self-esteem.

 

5. Increases and encourages physical activeness

When a body is stressed beyond its physical limit, endorphins are released in the body, which creates a sense of feeling “high.” Serious runners and weightlifters regularly experience this phenomenon. Hence, by creating a delightful feedback mechanism, endorphins increase and encourage one to be physically active.

“Now,I’m no scientist,but I know what endorphins are. They’re tiny little magical elves that swim through your blood stream and tell funny jokes to each other. When they reach your brain,you hear what they’re saying and that boosts your health and happiness.” – Ellen DeGeneres

 

6. Make activities more pleasurable

Research has shown that people who listen to music, eat spicy foods, watch movies, or perform a certain activity, are bound to repeat them when they’re enjoying. The sense of feeling joy is due to the release of endorphins; thus, they also make activities more pleasurable to do. Moreover, the release of endorphins makes us feel better and improves our mood.

 

7. They help in treating trauma and surgery

Trauma patients experience serious pain that is very hard to withstand. The same applies to patients who are undergoing surgery. Endorphins help with addressing the symptoms of trauma by reducing the pain in moments of great stress. Acupuncture, massage therapy, exercise, and many other activities increase the production of endorphins, which in turn helps in treating trauma patients.

 

8. It stabilizes blood pressure

Blood pressure is controlled by various nervous and endocrine systems in the human body. Since endorphins also affect the functioning of these systems, they help in normalizing the blood pressure. Moreover, blood pressure is also affected by stress, which endorphins reduce considerably.

 

9. Enhances the functioning of immune system

Endorphins stimulate the immune system by activating the natural killer cells. As a result, they help immensely in combating various infections and diseases. They even help in killing cancerous cells and postpone ageing. Hence, endorphin secretion is also linked to immune system functions.

 

10. Makes you look fit and healthy

Since, endorphins promote physical activeness and encourage many healthy habits such as exercising and eating healthy foods, they also play a great role in making you look fit and healthy. While this might not be a direct result of endorphin secretion, it is a very beneficial result nonetheless.

 

You can see from the above how this naturally produces, wonder chemical works in numerous ways in our body to help improve its functioning.

Less Stress, Happier, Less and managed pain, Immunity booster, Stable blood pressure, More pleasure in every day activities, Better sleep and self esteem…Who wouldn’t want to boost their Endorphin level to feel all of the above!

It is extremely vital that one pays attention to their endorphin secretion levels, as it can affect a multitude of other systems in their body and it makes you feel Great!

happiness quote

 

Charlene Barry is the fun loving founder of This Is Project Me, a wellness, spiritual and inspirational channel on YouTube that inspires others to live the life of their dreams with passion, love and joy.Charlene believes in serendipity, wellness and spirituality and is an Ayurvedic and Lifestyle coach; helping people live their ideal life through Ayurvedic medicine, Meditation, Yoga and Balance.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Kate Lynch

    Nov 15, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    good article! but i would like to know what can we eat/excercise healthly to release them?

  2. Catherine Kennedy

    Oct 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    OK endorphins are important, and we need to monitor our secretion levels. How, and how ???? Where is the rest of the article ?

  3. mcaribbean

    Oct 12, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Gonna use this to encourage my athletes to train twice daily

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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