You may have heard of the runner’s high, or the sense of ecstasy people feel after they have run really hard. This happens because of endorphins, the neurotransmitters your brain naturally produces in response to pain or extreme exertion. It aims to take the edge off and make you feel amazing. Some experts even liken endorphins to opiates, as they can deliver intense pleasure. Now the good news is that you won’t have to run a marathon to experience this high. There are many ways you can coax your body to produce more endorphins, and you won’t even have to leave the comforts of your condo!
Sniff some lavender or vanilla
Some aromas can influence the production of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals of the brain — lifting your mood in the process. The scent of vanilla, for one, helps reduce anxiety. A study conducted at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center revealed that patients who breathed vanilla-scented air while undergoing MRIs reported less anxiety than those who were exposed to unscented air. If you want to get the endorphin-boosting benefits of vanilla, you can add a drop or two of vanilla extract before brewing your coffee, mix vanilla essential oil into your bathwater or light vanilla-scented candles.
In another study, college students who inhaled the aroma of lavender essential oil showed improvement in their symptoms of insomnia and depression. To experience its effects, you can dab lavender oil on your temples and wrists or diffuse it in the air using a device you can purchase at a health food store.
Take some ginseng
Ginseng has displayed benefits for people who are over-stressed or feeling fatigued, as well as those recovering from a long illness. It has shown to balance stress hormones and support the organs that produce the hormones. The herb may also enhance the production of endorphins. Many body builders and long distance runners take ginseng to improve their physical endurance. Some herbalists and nutritionally-oriented doctors believe that ginseng is capable of delaying fatigue as it allows the exercising muscles to use energy efficiently.
Scientific evidence suggests that ginseng improves mental performance, including concentration and memory. It also helps reduce blood sugar levels in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Other benefits include treating bothersome menopausal symptoms, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis, emphysema), and cardiovascular conditions (high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure). Animal studies suggest that ginseng helps damaged liver restore itself, protects nerves from damage, and improves digestion and protects the stomach against ulcers.
Take part in a group exercise
Based on a recent study, group exercise has its remarkable advantages. Not only will you have other people to spur you on, but the shared efforts will also boost your endorphin levels. In 2009, researchers found that college crews who rowed in synchronization had higher levels of feel-good hormones than those who rowed alone. Take the time to exercise with other people. You are bound to find like-minded people at your condo, particularly at the gym. Note that any form of exercise is good, be it solitary or in groups. Try walking, aerobics, running, and dancing to take yourself to a trance-like state. Continuous exercise creates a rhythm that encourages reflective thought and releases endorphins.
Children laugh about 300 times a day, while adults laugh only about five times each day. You need to go back to your childlike ways. The more you laugh, the better your perspective becomes. Problems also appear to shrink, increasing your sense of energy. Laughter has been considered one of life’s greatest medicines over the centuries. As mentioned in the bible: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
Laughter is sometimes referred to as “inner jogging.” Studies have shown that laughing can help produce a general sense of well-being, trigger the release of endorphins, raise the levels of infection-fighting skills and boost immune function, reduce stress hormones, and lower blood pressure.
Find time to play
You may be one of the many adults who have pushed aside things you consider childish, including playing. But what you consider a waste of time can actually reduce stress, make you feel younger, strengthen relationships, boost creativity, and exercise your brain. It is time to cut down your screen time with electronic devices and engage in endorphin-boosting play time instead. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:
Spend time with a pet or a child. They are experts in play time and could easily lead the way.
Check what you have stashed away. It’s time to take out those board games, arts and crafts supplies, and deck of cards.
Go out of your unit and put your condo amenities to good use. It is time to visit the building’s gym, park, garden, and walking pathways. You will never run out of fun things to do while outdoors.
Savor some chocolate
Great news for chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate provides protection against strokes and heart attacks. Owing to its high content of antioxidants like polyphenols, dark chocolate protects your arteries, boosts good HDL cholesterol, reduces bad LDL cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and reduces inflammation. It also has chemicals that can induce the release of endorphins, and general well-being can be of vital importance to the health of your cardiovascular system.
A little dark chocolate can also curb your appetite for unhealthier foods, according to research conducted at the University of Copenhagen. This reveals that dark chocolate has more filling effect than milk chocolate and that it lowers cravings for sugary, fatty and salty items. The key pointer is to know when to stop eating chocolate and not indulge. If you are a chocoholic, try having a brisk 15-minute walk. Researchers at the University of Exeter found that such a walk can allay chocoholics’ cravings even in tempting situations.
Eat spicy food
The spicy taste of food is not actually a taste sensation but a feeling of pain. Capsaicin, which is the chemical compound that makes chili peppers spicy, binds to pain receptors of nerve cells in the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose. This creates the painful burning feeling. These receptors also react to heat, making spicy food that is also hot even more intense.
The pain you experience when eating spicy food is offset by the body’s reaction of releasing endorphins. This could explain the popularity of spicy food. Another benefit of hot spices is their ability to promote sweating and kill pathogens. Sweating is especially useful for cooling the body in hot climates.
You have just learned about the ways you can further spice up your condo living in the Philippines. And it can be as simple as just relaxing at home!