Remember that feeling right after you finished a run? Not the burn in your lungs or the ache in your legs. That uplifting feeling… perhaps you would even describe as euphoria. Well, that good feeling comes from endorphins.
What are endorphins?
You have most likely heard of endorphins, but what really are they? The word endorphins originate from two words: “endogenous” meaning from the body, and “morphine” which means pain reliever. Endorphins are a brain chemical (also known as a neurotransmitter) produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland (a small gland at the base of your brain that regulates functions and wellbeing).
When produced, endorphins reduce pain as well as boost pleasure, creating the sense of wellbeing and goodness. Pretty good deal right?
When and Why?
You have most likely experienced the production of endorphins after physical exercise or eating, but why? Well, since humans are beings that seek pleasure yet not pain, endorphins act as a reward system for ourselves. When we perform an important task such as physical exercise or eating, our brain releases this chemical so that you will want to perform that task again.
In other words, humans like to feel good, therefore our body produces a chemical that makes us feel good once we perform a vital task. It all funnels down to survival. Our bodies are pretty smart!
What happens when we lack endorphins? Well, people who lack endorphins can experience depression, anxiety, moodiness, aches, pains, addiction, trouble sleeping and impulsive behavior.
Currently, many of us are quarantined at home. While we should refrain from crowded areas, try going for a walk, run, or any sort of physical exercise that does not require a whole herd of people. It can truly help to boost your mood!