Endorphins act like the body’s natural morphine. When our body feels overwhelmed by stress or pain, it releases opiate like endorphins into our nervous System. These are neurotransmitters that block out excessive uncomfortable signals. Endorphins play an important role in our fight or flight response and take away some of the fear associated with being in a dangerous situation.
You may hear the words “runner’s high” among runners. The high they refer to comes from the endorphins released during running, and gives them a sense of euphoria. Some say endorphins may cause the “placebo effect.” Often a person may take a pill, thinking it is helping them feel better, when in reality their belief in the pill triggers a release of natural endorphins even though the pill itself does not help.
The hypothalamus, the center for hunger in your brain, also controls the larger releases of endorphins in your body.
Endorphins and appetite are monitored in the same small place in the brain. Thrill seekers seek episodes of high endorphin release. Bungee jumpers and skydivers feel an immediate rush of endorphins overtake their body when they take a jump. That’s one of the reasons they do it over and over again. People who eat spicy hot chili peppers have similar reactions. These peppers trigger a release of endorphins in the body and because of the euphoric sensation, they crave chili peppers over and over again. (18, 19, 20, 21)
When your body is fit and healthy, your hypothalamus will have better control over endorphins and you will feel more emotions of well being and happiness. A normal BMI number, along with a physically fit body will make you feel better and feel younger.
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