Article in brief: How does Endorphin or as many may call it ‘The hormone of happiness’ work? And how can we increase it?
Endorphin is a chemical hormone produced by the body’s central nervous system and the pituitary gland. This hormone is released in response to the stress and pain we may encounter. It has the ability to ease pain, reduce stress, strengthen the immune system, and improve one’s mood and sense of joy, pleasure, and happiness. And that is why it is the elixir of one’s life.
When the endorphin is released from the brain cells or the pituitary gland, it associates with the brain’s pain receptors; thus, relieves pain in the same manner in which some medications like morphine operates. Nonetheless, endorphin is excreted naturally from the body and does not lead to addiction like the other narcotic drugs which are manufactured chemically.
Although endorphin is an important hormone that plays a big role in stabilizing one’s emotions and reactions, many people suffer from its deficiency, which is a result of many factors.
The main cause of endorphin deficiency is genetics. Some people are naturally born with low amounts of endorphin hormone, which makes them more sensitive and vulnerable to physical and emotional injuries. Gender also plays a big role in affecting endorphin levels in the body; adult men usually have higher endorphin levels than women. That’s why, in many cases, we see that men are able to take physical and emotional pain more than women do.
Excessive stress and pain can also affect the amounts of endorphin released by the brain. Every time you get upset, injured, excited, abused, or even neglected, you lower your endorphin levels; this happens because sometimes the body might get used to the pain it encounters that it doesn’t ‘consider’ it pain anymore. As a result, the brain doesn’t release endorphin when facing the pain again.
There are many ways in which you can boost endorphin levels in your body and that requires following some steps and making a habit of them:
Consider having a healthy diet that involves 20 grams of high protein foods like fish and cheese, enough vitamin and mineral rich vegetables, and remember to reduce your sugar and coffee consumption as they affect the release of endorphin.
Get enough of everything: exercise, quality time with friends and family, relaxation, and nature. But remember not to over-do things because that might backfire and decrease the amounts of endorphin instead of increase them.
Laugh; laughter will improve your perspective, it will help you shrink your problems, let go of stress, and increase your sense of energy. It is described as ‘inner jogging’ as it has the same positive effects that normal jogging has on the body and brain hormonal releases.
Be positive; just like I said in one of my previous articles ‘your thoughts could either be your worst enemy or your best friend, might as well let them be your best friend. After all, you are what you think.’ Positive thoughts generate our positive feelings and attitude, making us feel happier about our lives and most importantly ourselves. That by itself can do enough to boost our endorphin levels.
Read my previously written article ‘Negativity; Killing you slowly’ to know more about how to maintain a positive attitude: http://sailemagazine.com/2014/05/negativity-killing-slowly/
- Medicine Net (2007). Endorphins: Natural pain and stress fighters. Retrieved June 9, 2014 from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=55001
- Mind Potential Northwest. Endorphin deficiency. Retrieved June 10, 2014 fromhttp://www.nwinsight.com/?p=395
- Living Healthy 360 (2008). Natural ways to increase serotonin and endorphins. Retrieved June 10, 2014 from http://www.nwinsight.com/?p=395