Is happiness just a lack of pain?

Endorphins: that's why they make us happy

Endorphins are our happiness hormones. They put you in a good mood and reduce pain. The pick-me-ups are only distributed under certain conditions.

What are endorphins? Easily explained

Do you know this one State of intoxicationIf you think while exercising, now nothing works anymore and suddenly you have one right energy push? Or maybe you've already injured yourself and in the first moment even no pain felt? Reason are Endorphins. In interaction with other messenger substances such as adrenaline and Serotonin, they regulate this in our body Happiness and well-being.

Are endorphins endogenous hormones. This means that our body produces them itself and they do not have to be taken in through food. First and foremost, they serve as a natural pain reliever or one Kind of anesthetic. To do this, they dock on receptors in the spinal cord and brain. Pain stimuli from the body can then no longer be passed on to the pain-processing center of the brain. The release of endorphins ensures that Physical Injury Pain for us not immediately noticeable are.

What do endorphins do?

Primarily endorphins help us, Enduring extreme situations. In the event of an accident, for example, we do not feel our injuries immediately due to the release of endorphins and can therefore first get to safety or wait for help. Also in other situations, for example with a Roller coaster ride, our endorphin level in the blood is increased. Maybe you have this one intoxicated state full of happiness hormones also experienced it myself.

Colloquially, endorphins are also called Happiness hormones designated. Because the hormone is also used positive events poured out. If we are pumped full of endorphins, we get into an intoxicating state of euphoria and feel completely happy. The reason for this is that an endorphin binds to the same receptors as opiates and a effects similar to morphine to have. This is why endorphins are also called called endogenous morphine. Opiates are highly effective pain relievers that require a prescription. They relieve pain and other negative feelings in our body.

Effects of endorphins

Probably the most fundamental effect of endorphins is that Relieve pain and the mood-enhancing effect. But the body's own hormone is said to have other effects on our body ¹. However, these are not clearly scientifically proven. Further effects can be:

  • Improved sleep
  • Lowering stress levels
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Formation of sex hormones
  • Regulation of the feeling of hunger

Endorphins often come along with other messenger substances on. The other mood enhancers in our body are: Serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, phenethylamine and oxytocin. They have a similar effect as endorphins and take care of one good wellbeing.

How do I get endorphins?

Endorphins are the body's own hormones. So production will through certain key stimuli triggered. You can at Extreme situationslike in an accident. But also with special beautiful experiencesthat excite us with joy. Other methods to stimulate endorphin production are:

Sports

Especially in the Running The release of endorphins is very well known and popular, and one of the reasons to start running right away. The so-called Runners high describes a condition in which runners, despite pain and fatigue, cover long distances can. The reason for this is an increased concentration of endorphin in the blood.

Endorphins are used in both slow, long runs as well as short, fast routes distributed ². The condition is noticeable through a kind of wellbeing and energy boost. However, once you start running, it can take up to two months for your blood endorphin levels to rise.

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Also in other sports happiness hormones can be released. If Swim, Cycling, climbing or weight training - whenever you push your limits for a short or long period of time, your endorphin production can be stimulated.

Laugh

In fact, it is scientifically controversial whether we ourselves just smile at you in a good mood can. Scientists have long claimed that we are with one Smiles trick our brains, and so the Stimulate endorphin production can. You don't even have to really laugh to do that. Even an artificial, broad grin is enough. A re-evaluation of 138 studies on this issue found that smiles and our posture can in fact slightly affect our mood ³.

nutrition

Also the nutrition can the Stimulate the production of happiness hormones. It is not without reason that people say: Chocolate makes you happy. Usually, however, it is not the endorphins that lift our mood, but serotonin, or much more Tryptophan. This is one important messenger substance for serotonin formation. Bananas, nuts, chocolate, soybeans, potatoes and eggs are rich in tryptophan, among others.

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Sun

Also the Sun can make us happier. The reason for this, however, is not the release of endorphins, but rather vitamin D. Our body produces through exposure to the sun Vitamin D, which in turn is the Production of the happiness hormone serotonin and Dopamine stimulates.

What happens in the event of a deficiency?

With a healthy and balanced diet and sufficient exercise is a Endorphin deficiency is rare. Nevertheless, deficiency symptoms can occur in some cases. An endorphin deficiency can develop noticeable through depressive moods do. If you suspect that you have a deficiency, please consult a doctor. This can precisely examine whether you are suffering from an endorphin deficiency.

The addiction to endorphins

Too little endorphins in the body can lead to some kind of addictive behavior. Affected are then addicted to the "intoxication effect" the happiness hormones. To this one To bring about the effect artificially, those affected access it more often Alcohol and other drugs. Still others begin to starve or harm yourself. In such situations, the body releases endorphins to suggest a feeling of elation and to minimize the damage.

Also at Athletes can be a Addiction to endorphins develop. Especially in competitive sports, where people often take part in their physical limits go, more endorphins are released. It can happen that the athletes get addicted to the kick of the endorphins and therefore go more and more to their limits. For example, if a runner constantly to the point of complete exhaustion want to run, it can be no longer just about athletic performance, but also about the intoxication of it.

Our conclusion

  • Endorphins are the body's own happiness hormones. you reduce stress, have an analgesic effect and make us happy. Other happiness hormones are serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, phenethylamine and oxytocin.
  • The hormone will above all in extreme situations poured out. But moments that excite us also increase endorphin production. Also exercise, food, the sun, and laughter make us happier.
  • Endorphins are very important. you relieve our pain sensationif, for example, we have an accident.
  • Through the intoxicating, mood-enhancing effect can be a Addictive behavior develop. Should you feel like you're under one Endorphin deficiency or the like, we recommend that you take one To contact a doctor.
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  • ¹ Schulz, R. (1978): Body's own opitate - endorphins, in: Deutsches Ärzteblatt, issue 40.

  • ² Heijnen, S .; Hommel, B .; Kibele, A .; Colzato, L. S. (2015): Neuromodulation of Aerobic Exercise - A Review, in: Frontiers in Psychology.

  • 3 Coles, N. A .; Larsen, J. T .; Lench, H. C. (2019): A meta-analysis of the facial feedback literature: Effects of facial feedback on emotional experience are small and variable, in: Psychological Bulletin, 145 (6).