Endorphins are hormones that allow the body to feel calm and relaxed. They are also commonly known as happy hormone, simply because it makes you feel calm, relaxed and pleasurable. It is the body’s natural medication, which relieves tension and helps us sleep better. Endorphins are usually produced as a response to pain, fear or stress.
In addition to decreased feelings of pain, secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress.
Chemically, endorphins are neurotransmitters, chemicals that pass along signals from one neuron to the next. Neurotransmitters play a key role in the function of the central nervous system (CNS) and can either prompt or suppress the further signaling of nearby neurons. They originate in various parts of your body: the pituitary gland, spinal cord and throughout other parts of brain and nervous system. And they interact mainly with receptors in cells found in regions of the brain responsible for blocking pain and controlling emotion.
There are 20 different kinds of endorphins. The three most common are beta-endorphins, enkephalins and dynorphins. Out of the three, beta-endorphins are stronger than morphine and have been shown to play a part in everything from alcoholism to diabetes to aging of the brain.
#COMFORTFOOD that trigger endorphins are:
Even a single bar of chocolate causes the release of endorphins. Whenever you feel down, stop thinking about the weight and grab a chocolate to lift up your mood and body. This is one of the reasons that people often crave for chocolate in stress and associate happy feelings with it. They also consist of antioxidants, which protects the body from aging.
The substances that give chilli peppers their spicy intensity when eaten or applied topically are called capsaicins and several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids. When consumed, capsaicinoids bind with pain receptors in the mouth and throat that are responsible for sensing heat.
Once activated by the capsaicinoids, these receptors send a message to the brain that the person has consumed something hot. The brain responds to the burning sensation by raising the heart rate, increasing perspiration and release of endorphins.
Exercise stimulates endorphin production as well, but for a different reason. You’re probably familiar with the term “runner’s high” which refers to the euphoric feeling one sometimes gets when exercising. “‘Runner’s high’ is a phrase that we use to describe the feelings of psychological well-being that are associated quite often with long-duration, rhythmic-type exercise, and marathon running.
Mediation acts against your “fight or flight” hormones (cortisol) and lowers your heart rate, creating a calming sensation in your body. This triggers the hypothalamus in the brain to produce and secret beta endorphins, which are the key to the lingering calmness you feel after your meditation. Regular practice of meditation can help you lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Examples: Tai chi, Pilates and yoga are believed to trigger endorphins.
Light to moderate drinking stimulates endorphins, but heavy drinking doesn’t. Drugs that block the attachment of endorphins to receptors have been shown to eliminate cravings in alcoholics.
During massage, large amounts of endorphins are released into the bloodstream explaining the slightly groggy effect, lightheaded, sense of well-being.
Researchers have found that listening to certain music causes biochemical changes in the brain. They have even identified which songs are best for boosting endorphins..
Research has reported that smiling releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers, along with serotonin, which is also associated with feel good properties.
Studies have found that walking barefoot (on a safe surface) helps your body release those happy chemicals (endorphins) into your system, reduce your stress levels, and boost enjoyment, MOOD and overall health. And if you are doing so with MINDFUL movement and presence, paying attention to the way your body is connecting to the ground, you are receiving a double dose of wellness in your system that can help the rest of your day to be filled with more peace, joy and purpose as you continue to walk.
When you simply interact with other humans, endorphins will be released by your body. This is why healthy social interactions are essential for a person’s health and well-being.