Endorphins

20170528_123447These neurotransmitters are electric signals within the nervous system that interact with our opiate receptors  in the brain to reduce our perception of pain.  They act similarly to drugs such as morphine and codeine.  At least 20 different types of endorphins have been identified in humans according to a website – MedicineNet.com (7-25-2017).

When our bodies sense stress and/or pain these endorphins are released to interact with the targeted receptors to decrease our perception of distress.  This natural process does not lead to addiction.  We feel euphoric, calm, satisfied, healthy and comfortable.  Studies show that activities such as acupuncture, massage, eating certain foods, i.e. chili peppers and chocolate, can also stimulate these endorphins.  Additionally, healthy sexual activity with a loving partner and meditation has proven to release these helpful chemicals.

It may be a good idea to engage in activities that help us to feel good on a regular basis, especially since we have found some that aren’t addictive and don’t seem to have adverse side effects.  So, the next time you are feeling stressed or angry or lonely or are over come by a general feeling of dread, try engaging in an enjoyable act.  Go out and release some endorphins.

Little Children & Young Animals

20130627_110722Children and animals seem to innately understand that exercise and moving their bodies are automatic – part of life.  If they want to get from one place to another, they simply move their legs and feet in that direction and go.  When they see something good and happy they join the activity.  Their brain tells them to use their bodies to go to the happy thing.

Medscape (June09,2017) states that “senior citizens who enjoy dog ownership increase their physical activity in a meaningful and healthy way.”  This means that as people match their movements with our animal friends both enjoy the benefits.

I wonder why we as humans forget the idea that movement helps us?  A University of Lincoln study in England found that dog owners walked 23 minutes more a day than older adults who did not own a dog – enough to meet U.S. and international exercise recommendations for substantial health benefits.

If you take some time to watch small children in a play ground, you will find that they share a trait – spontaneous joy in movement.  So, if we as a young children receive a positive feeling when we move, why do we forget about that feeling when we get older?  Could it be that we get too busy?  Is it too many intrusions from electronic devices?  Do we create too many excuses?  Are we too tired?  Have we forgotten how good that spontaneous feeling of joy actually feels?  Have we let our aging bodies rule our mind?

Well, it could be a collection of reasons.  In reality, we don’t move in our adults years as often as we did in our childhood.  So, if movement is good for happy little children and feisty young animals, it might just be good for us.  Just a thought…

Be Open To Improving…

20130704_214725“Be open to improving,” this was a statement in a medical article that caught my eye.  As I read the article it discussed the idea of expanding our everyday thoughts and actions to include ideas that we hadn’t tried before or that seemed to difficult to perform.

What a great idea.  Since our bodies and minds are made to move, what better way to test the limits of both.  If we only do what is “known” and what we are familiar with everyday, then our bodies and our minds develop a pathway into the “known.”  It’s logical then that those pathways are the most developed.  But what about the millions and millions of other UNUSED pathways in our bodies?

Imagine all the neurons that never get used.  What about the muscles that never get enough exercise or stretching?  How long has it been since your lungs took a nice, full, deep breath of crystal, clean air?  When was the last time your eyes saw the most gorgeous sunrise known to mankind?  When did your feet touch the top of a high mountain in an exhausting climb?  What about those upper arm muscles having a good, challenging workout? Can you remember when you engaged in an exhilarating conversation with a group of friends discussing a passionate subject?

These are all things which need to be explored.  Only you know the answer.  The answer will only come to you if you are – open to improving.

Have a stimulating day…

“Family” Reunions

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During the summer months some families celebrate reunions. In today’s society the definition of family seems to include an extended vocabulary.  The definition may include the traditional – mom, day and the kids.  Or the blended family may be more current with a step mother, step brothers and sisters.  Possibly, a set of two mothers who are raising an adopted, foreign-born child, is the most descriptive of family.  Or even the more extended definition should include the “family” we belong to in our public life – school and work.

If we look at the extended definition, then consider the recent college and high school graduates who are entering into our ever-expanding public life.  These new “entrants” will soon be looking at their 10th, 20th and 50th class reunions.  In most situations, high school and college are the institutions where we form our public family.

We have all experienced the situation when we receive notification that it’s time for our high school or college reunion.  Sometimes we are excited, sometimes scared, sometimes we dread even the thought of reliving our challenging school days.  Whatever our situation, we usually relive our experience through memories which may or may not be accurate.  We seem to convince ourselves that history is a certain way simply by talking to ourselves – we decide it is and so it is.

Whether it’s our public or private family,  we all have memories of our interactions and experiences.  However, they may not be accurate.  The best way to put a true spin on our memories is to attend the reunion and spend time with other family members who helped formed those memories.

So, if you are invited to a reunion this summer – go.  You may be pleasantly surprised.