What Are Endorphins?

Balance.

That one word has become a catch word in most lifestyle, physical and mental health and being successful in life.

Whether it’s having a balance between work and family, or a balance between vegetables and desserts, or a balance between feeling good or feeling bad, we are always looking to find that balance. Anything that is imbalanced is considered a disorder of some kind. And the unfortunate thing is that we often try to correct the balance with some kind of drug or treatment, instead of actually changing some part of our lifestyle in order to achieve that balance.

Depression is an imbalance between happy and sad feelings; obesity is an imbalance of weight which may be an imbalance of food consumption or an imbalance of exercise (or both); being exhausted could be an imbalance between work and resting at home with family.

The human body and brain have ways to counteract these imbalances, based on conscious choice and natural chemicals produced by the body to counteract an unnatural imbalance in the system.

Endorphins are natural chemicals that provide balance of mood by counteracting sad or angry feelings. Endorphins are released naturally in times of stress of anger or sadness to help balance and give equilibrium to the human body. Depression is a disorder where not enough endorphins are produced to counteract the sad feelings.

When endorphins which are naturally released are not adequate to provide balance, some people go to professionals for treatments to increase the release of those endorphins.

Endorphins are a group of chemicals (most noteworthy of dopamine and serotonin) which are produced in various parts of the body (pituitary gland, brain, and spinal cord are most common) in reaction to negative stimuli like pain or stress. These chemicals are neurotransmitters which come in contact with certain receptors in the brain, suppressing negative emotions and pain.

When you feel pain or stress for a prolonged period of time, many professionals have suggestions to help you be in control of agitating your body into creating more endorphins – and the suggestions range from having sex to getting exercise (endorphins are credited with “runner’s high,” which is the euphoria that regular runners seem to feel when they run a distance) to eating chili peppers to just giving and receiving a lot of hugs and touches from close friends and family, can all contribute to establishing feelings of happiness or a dulling of any physical or emotional pain. Just avoid sexual harassment.

Certain endorphins have the specific task of dulling pain, while others (such as dopamine) bring out euphoric or positive feelings.  The pain-suppressing endorphins come about when there are feelings of pain, while the others come during stressful periods to keep us calm or come during times of excitement or joy to help us feel happy and positive.

Our bodies are all about balance. Endorphins are about giving us emotional and mental balance, and it is our job to take care of our bodies with balance in order to maintain that mental and emotional balance necessary for optimal health.