Since February is often referred to as the month of love, let’s take a moment to focus on how you can feel your best and increase endorphins (the feel good hormones) in order to fully live life with the ones you love! The human brain releases at least 20 different types of endorphins, which can lead to decreased feelings of pain, regulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and immune enhancement. There are many ways to naturally increase the release of endorphins in the body to fight anxiety, depression, and stress while truly enjoying life. Here are a few simple strategies that will help boost endorphins, build relationships, and keep you healthy this month!
- Exercise with a partner. Exercise in itself can increase endorphins; however, exercise with a partner may offer additional benefit. The positive effects of a supportive partner on exercise behavior have been consistently documented in research. When you have someone by your side you feel more supported and cared for as that person is likely watching and encouraging you to go the extra mile and push yourself.
- Stretching with a companion. Taking time to stretch everyday can improve flexibility and also provide some quiet time for reflection and connection. A companion can enhance the experience and possibly allow you to stretch further than you thought you could. Try standing face to face with your partner while holding hands. Hinge forward at the hips while bending your legs into a squat position. Have your partner gently pull with their hands so that you feel a stretch in your back.
- Holding hands. Touch is the body’s oldest and largest sense and has emotional and physiological benefits. The release of the feel good hormone “oxytocin” is released with skin to skin contact. Simply holding hands can make you feel supported as well, which can reduce stress. So go ahead and take a walk hand in hand!
- Laugh! When laughing is shared, it creates a bond between people and can be infectious in a good way! Laughing releases endorphins to help with stress and enhances feelings of relaxation and overall well-being. Laughter may be the very best medicine after-all. Take time to watch a funny movie or tell a joke; it just might be what you need to brighten your day.
- Dancing involves two activities that contribute to increased endorphins: exercising with a partner and listening to music. Research suggests that actively listening to enjoyable music can affect the release of brain chemicals that have a positive impact on mood. Put your favorite tunes on and dance like no one is watching!
Hopefully you have found these ideas helpful. Don’t forget to check with a certified personal trainer when starting an exercise regimen, especially with more complex partner-based moves. The most important thing to remember is to have FUN! Having fun adds to feeling of happy and contributes to an overall balanced life. Let me know what works for you this month!