What are endorphins?
I have been arguing for some time now that treatment for anxiety, depression and stress-related illnesses has to include a program for raising endorphins.
Endorphins are protein chains (neuropeptides) that are released by the hypothalamus area in the brain. They act in a similar way to morphine, except that endorphins are 18-50 times stronger.
An endorphin rush can occur when:
- You do vigorous exercise (‘runner’s high’).
- You laugh
- You listen to music
- You dance
- You eat chocolate (addictive!)
- You eat chilis (also addictive!)
- You practice yoga, tai chi, qi gung, etc
- You have a massage
- You do something creative or inspiring
- You achieve something important
- You share affection
- You have an orgasm
- You cut yourself (which is why self-harming is addictive)
- As well as lots of other ways that are personal to you
Bodymind uses endorphins for several purposes. Firstly. to boost energy when you need it; secondly to reduce pain from injury; and thirdly, to signal that you are doing something worthwhile or enjoyable and to encourage you to do more of the same.
Next up I will be writing about how binaural beat programs can boost endorphin levels by changing brain wave patterns.