Endorphins are the key to happiness

If you’re constantly wondering how to find happiness in your life then it’s high time you change the way you’re thinking. Chances are you seem to be forever searching for ways and reasons to just be happy and you always seem to come up empty handed. The problem is happiness isn’t a pursuit; it’s a state of mind.

But what if I told you exercise could be the key to your happiness?

We’re all unique and experiencing our lives differently from those living theirs around us, but that doesn’t mean our physiology is just as inimitable. The human body is amazing in a million different ways, and for the purposes of health, well-being and happiness, the release of endorphins through exercise is possibly one of the most remarkable. When we exercise, our bodies release a chemical that reacts with receptors in our brains. These chemicals are called endorphins and are produced all over the body, from the spine to the brain. 

Endorphins are generally most heavily released when the human body is under duress, such as during bouts of increased stress or pain. Their main function is to reduce the perception of pain, allowing us to push our bodies further and faster than we could without them. Furthermore, endorphins act as a sedative. They bind to some of the same receptors as painkillers and, since these chemicals are produced in our own bodies, the interaction with these receptors by our endorphins does not lead to any form of dependence or addiction! These chemicals released through exercise trigger positive sensations in the body; they basically make us happier. 

Have you ever heard of runners feeling ecstatic after a run, whether they have just finished a one hundred metre sprint or completed a marathon? This ‘runner’s high’ is a consequence of endorphins being released into the brain through exercise. Their euphoria is usually complemented with an energetic and very positive outlook on life – and they’re not actively searching for it, it just flows from within and radiates into their lives. 

However, endorphins also have a variety of other benefits too:

•    They can reduce stress and help you relax.
•    As a direct result of this, they help fight anxiety and depression.
•    Which, in turn, helps boost self esteem.
•    All leading to a good nights sleep every night.

The good news doesn’t end there either because the standard benefits of exercise still apply! Exercising improves health all-round; low blood pressure, stronger heart, healthy looking skin, toned muscles with reduced fat, improved strength and increased energy levels. 

This being said, it’s important to understand that each body’s physiology varies from the next in a multitude of ways, and nothing is more diverse than the human brain. So it stands to reason that each of us will experience the release of endorphins in different ways; an occurrence that produces a significant secretion in one person will not necessarily have the same effect on another. 

If you’re searching for happiness then it’s time to stop searching. When to simply be happy is a state of mind, the best way to achieve your goal is to change the state of your mind, not change what it is experiencing. So take to the streets and start running regularly. Or even join a gym and work out a few times a week. Though, regardless of your chosen activity, the key theme is perseverance. If you're not used to regular exercise then you'll struggle at first, and you may even find it too difficult maintain motivation. At times like these it's important for you to stick to your convictions - and the best way to do this is through setting goals.

Say you decide to start running regularly, why not pay to sign up for a 10k race or half marathon? Don't set a challenge you know you wont achieve in your time frame; regardless of determination, it's unlikely that a 15 stone couch potato will be marathon ready in a month. So set a goal, stay determined, and through your perseverance you'll find that suddenly all this exercise isn't quite so bad. Your outlook on life will change, the way you see yourself will start to improve and you will begin to take pride in your achievements.

From this happiness will flow from you and into your life, without the stress of failed pursuit. And you'll have a fabulous body to enjoy your happiness with to boot!

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