What is an endorphin?
Endorphins are groups of hormone chemicals in the brain and nervous system of mammals. These neurotransmitters pass signals through neurons and can have psychological effects on the brain and body. This group of hormones is known to activate the body’s opiate receptors and can start or stop the signals to other neurons. Endorphins are pretty much our body’s natural morphine, they can block pain and make us feel happy.
What causes the triggering of endorphins?
Pain and stress are the main and most common triggers of endorphins. However, there are many other triggers such as exercise, sexual activity, an itch and even dangerous stunts that can also release them. The release of these natural neuro chemicals causes the body to feel good instead of feeling pain or stress. Sort of like an energetic rush feeling to your body and brain. This feeling can last for a varied amount of time, sometimes short and sometimes longer. Endorphins are the reason daredevils can perform crazy stunts, hurt themselves, and then jump up with joy and excitement. Only to realize later on that they are in pain.
Are Endorphins good or bad?
It depends on the situation and the effect they have on you. Personally, I wrote this article because I recently learned from a co-worker that I had an Endorphin “problem”. I have had allergies in my right eye for years, increasing with age. When it starts to itch I tend to rub it for a very long time. So long I would end up with scars under my eye. “It feels so good, I cant stop” is what I would tell people who tried to pull my arm to help me stop. If I have my itch I can now control myself because I am aware that it was the endorphins that kept me from stopping. So in this situation I would say my endorphins were bad for me.
However, when I am busy at work, endorphins keep me going. Sometimes there are so many customers that I become overly stressed and afraid of losing a customer because our service is taking so long. This stress causes the release of endorphins and I turn into a tornado. I rapidly take care of customers and they leave happy. I usually can continue my day like nothing happened. That is until I get home and I am no longer in that fast paced environment. So in the case of me serving my customers, my endorphins serve me well.
Lets not forget the edibles…
Foods can help release endorphins also. This is why Cayenne wakes you up and why chocolate is eaten when people are sad and depressed. My favorite edible endorphin is the strawberry. It contains high levels of vitamin C which is a feel good vitamin for your brain.
Felicia Jackson is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a store manager at Daily Juice Cafe's West University location. She is on a mission to improve her own life and help her family do the same. Ultimately, Felicia aims to use her personal experiences to educate others about health & wellness and help them find a balanced lifestyle.