Endorphins are natural chemicals produced by the body. They are part of the family of chemicals known as hormones and neuropeptides.
They are produced in every cell of the body and are involved in the relaxation of tissue, the anaesthetising of pain and the physical sensations of pleasure.
A well-balanced state of health includes an ongoing production of endorphins. Babies, toddlers and children are naturally – given a non-violent family and culture – endorphinated. As adolescents and adults we tend to lose our natural wellbeing and tighten up. Adrenalin and cortisol – the hormones of tension and anxiety – begin to predominate.
The Endorphin Effect (Bloom,2012) identifies five strategies that trigger the production of hormones:
- Positive Triggers
- Connection with Natural World.
The latter, Connection with the natural world, is something I am very much interested in. According to Edward O. Wilson, “we need to affiliate with nature in order to be happy.” He says that this is so deeply rooted in our biology that we are hardly aware of it, but feel it, crave it and require it for health and well-being.
The human body seems hard-wired to respond positively to the natural world in general, including the sky, stars and what may be the great mystery of existence.
Idea: Pause for a moment while on your morning walk and allow yourself to remember that wherever you are and whatever your situation, nature and the cosmos are always there. Allow yourself first to be aware of Nature. Then the Sun. Then the whole Cosmos and the great wonder of existence.
There is something very humbling, exciting and liberating about being lost in nature. Going for a long walk in an unfamiliar part of the park. When it is just you and the easy effortless existence of the natural world, you can’t help but feel a little lighter about life.
Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.
It may seem more difficult for the urban dweller to become lost in nature. But never fear. It can be as simple as creating a small peaceful space where you can commune with nature in anyway that feels right for you. Perhaps that means a plant pot on your desk at work, a small window box at home or scheduling a walk or picnic in your local green space.
Many progressive organisations I meet with now put plants at the top of there list while creating optimum work spaces. How might you add a touch of nature to your work environment?
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