Exercising your natural high!

What makes you fly?

What gives you the biggest rush or makes you feel like you’re on a high?

Sweating through a high intensity interval training (HIIT) session? Catching a wave as the sun rises on the glistening sea? Delivering your board presentation to nodding directors? Dancing freely as your favourite band plays live on stage? Smelling the freshness of the forest as the dew lifts off the floor of grass?

A generalisation but let’s assume most of us want to be able to do things for ourselves, to have a handle on how we live and direct our lives, Like moving, thinking, creating, eating and performing our learnt skills. Should we not also want to (continuously) find and practice ways to manage our wellbeing to impact our performance? And to:

Live your best life by being your best self. 

Neuroscience has taught us ways to shift our own neurochemistry – from techniques for boosting confidence, to eating the right foods at the right times, including weekly a variety of exercise and movement, routined sleep-wake cycles, and practising active forms of silencing our minds.

The magic lies within!

Our natural highs are there for the taking and the making.

In our brains.

By us. 

The brain naturally produces chemicals like endorphins and endocannabinoids (yes this does sound a lot like the green herb and has a similar effect) that put us on a high by attaching themselves to receptors in the body relating to pain and reward.

[For purposes of sharing simply with you, staying relevant to the topic of using your magic within, and the fact that I am no medical doctor, I summarise.]

Endorphins and endocannabinoids are a natural high, and make us feel great and motivate us!

Endorphins are morphine-like chemicals that bind on pain receptors and, for example in HIIT exercise after 30 minutes, can enable us to push through the pain of hard exercise or physical effort, and make us feel amazing and even relaxed afterwards.

Endocannabinoids, another natural neurochemical, bind on receptors in the reward system (I did it!) where goal directedness works, enhancing the release of dopamine, the brain’s reward transmitter. This neurochemical process creates a high – a sense of achievement and motivates us (to do it again).

So these two happy hormones, as they are fondly termed, play a positive role in our chemical reward system so that we experience a real sense of accomplishment and enjoy a neurological boost, which in turn makes us want to do it again. See the loop?

In other words, exercise is a natural motivator because of the effect of a natural high. 

If you want to know more of the biochemistry behind this read up about the endocannabinoids system.

In learning about the workings of the body-brain systems, I am overwhelmed by the insights of the natural design of our bodies. What our bodies do naturally and how we can positively impact our own wellbeing.

May we take out the positives of the neuroscientific and related teachings and let these lead us back to ourselves for natural healing and improved wellbeing.

For a future where we are more than just staying alive.

Where we can thrive.


References. Thanks to Neurozone.com on Exercise as a driver of wellbeing for performance and for the most current research on neuroscience, in particular, psychoneuroimmunology. And thanks to the talented photographers on unsplash.com.