Let’s Explore Endorphins
In our last post we explored dopamine. It’s a brain chemical that plays a role in motivation, emotions as well as mood.
The imbalance of dopamine plays a role in bipolar disorder symptoms. Learning how to manage this imbalance with therapy, medication as well as lifestyle changes are keys to a better mind.
Learn more by reading a related post, “Balancing Dopamine For A Better Mind”.
We get endorphins and dopamine confused with each other. This is due to both of these chemicals making you feel good.
Both have an interesting relationship with each other.
What Are Endorphins?
Let’s explore what endorphins are. They are neurotransmitters or brain chemicals, along with dopamine and serotonin.
Endorphins are known as polypeptides, which are strings of amino acids linked together.
An amino acid is the basic building block of a protein.
The pituitary gland as well as your central nervous system make endorphins. Their number one function is to help you lower stress as well as reduce pain.
The pleasure effect of endorphins is partly related to the release of dopamine.
Here’s a related article, “Endorphins: Functions, Levels, and Natural Boosts – Healthline”.
What Roles Do These Brain Chemicals Play?
Endorphins are brain chemicals that work like natural opioids.
According to WebMD, they interact with opiate receptors in your brain and nervous system.
Opiate receptors are proteins found on your body’s nerve cells.
Endorphins are activated and then they bind to them. As a result signals are sent to your brain to help manage feelings of pleasure as well as pain.
They also trigger a good feeling in the body, which is similar to morphine.
Along with being released in response to pain and stress, endorphins are released during other activities. These include exercise, eating and also sex.
Exercise And Endorphins
After you finish an intense aerobic workout, such as jogging, running and also hiking endorphins are released.
They don’t just play a role in relieving pain and stress. Endorphins also help stimulate the release of brain chemicals that balance mood. These include norepinephrine, serotonin as well as dopamine.
Here’s a post written by sciencedaily.com, it talks about how “runner’s high” is not just caused by the release of endorphins. It’s also because of the role dopamine plays. being released by your brain’s reward system.
Endorphins along with dopamine are responsible for that euphoric or “high” feeling from runner’s high. They’re both working together when you feel the sense of well-being, freedom as well as extra energy when you run.
Endorphins And Eating
Have you ever noticed when you eat something tasty you feel really good?
When you eat your brain releases “feel good” chemicals.
The enjoyment you get from eating something you like triggers the release of endorphins. This can produce a sense of pleasure and euphoria.
When your brain releases dopamine, the amount of pleasure you feel gets a boost.
The brain knows that when you eat, you’re doing something right. As a result it releases dopamine as part of your reward system.
Let’s Explore Endorphins And Sex
During sex your body releases endorphins as well as oxytocin. As a result it triggers your brain’s pleasure center.
This leads to feelings of intimacy as well as relaxation. Also sex can help lower your anxiety and depression, it’s even considered a natural pain killer.
As an added bonus, sex that results in orgasm is extra pleasurable due to the release of dopamine.
Related post, “The Hidden Health Benefits of Sex – ABC News”.
The Role Endorphins Play In Bipolar Disorder
Let’s now explore endorphins role in managing bipolar disorder.
In a previous post, “Tips For Helping A Bipolar Brain”, we talked about how the imbalance of brain chemicals play a role in bipolar mood episodes.
The imbalance of brain chemicals such as serotonin, norapeniphrine as well as dopamine cause mood problems.
Bipolar disorder is not just about having mood episodes. It’s also a disorder that affects how you behave and also how you see and react to the world.
The imbalance of brain chemicals that causes mood episodes also triggers other problems. For example mood changes leads to behaviors that are out of character for you. This happens during high moods, low moods and sometimes even mixed moods.
These include feeling intense emotions that you usually don’t feel. Also it includes being involved in activities without recognizing their harmful effects on yourself as well as those around you.
One thing that helps to either boost or balance serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine is to boost endorphins.
How Exercise Fights Bipolar Disorder
We mentioned before how exercise helps with bipolar symptoms.
One form of aerobic exercise that’s the ultimate endorphins booster is hiking. A follower of this blog said that being out in nature leads to a mental reboot. Aerobic exercise provides a boost as well. Picture both factors together and you the ultimate mental health boost.
When you’re exercising, your body will undergo pain as well as stress. When you’re choosing hiking as a form of exercise your brain releases endorphins to help reduce pain and stress. Also the endorphins boost leads to a boost in mood as well.
Other benefits of hiking include eating foods that naturally boost brain chemicals. Also it helps boost your mood, because of being out in nature.
Other Endorphins Boosting Benefits To Explore
The most popular foods for boosting your energy during a hike also boost mood. For example a popular hiking snack is chocolate.
Chocolate is popular snack because of the energy boost it gives. This is partly due to its high fat and low water content.
Did you know that chocolate is a natural endorphins booster. It’s also a mood booster, because it triggers the release of serotonin as well as dopamine. This might explain the ultimate “runner’s high” that comes with hiking.
The effects of being out in nature help too.
In a previous post, “How To Fight Depression”, we talked about sunlight is a natural mood booster.
Sunlight is a natural trigger for serotonin. This may explain why being outside makes a lot of people happy.
Hiking involves being out in nature. This leads to increased oxygen intake, which leads to a better balance of brain chemicals.
It’s not hard to see why hiking is one of our favorite activities here at The Mindful Mastermind.
What Do You Do For Exercise?
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