Starting the day with a little Sun Salutation seems very fitting with the glorious weather we’re experiencing here in the UK this week. It is such a luxury to indulge in yoga under a blue sky! And getting out there, to honour that ‘disc of golden light’, has the added advantage of causing our bodies to produce the feel good substances – endorphins and serotonin. It was remembering this that prompted me to get over my self consciousness and give the neighbours something to giggle about (it’s been a while so I’m a bit rusty).
Choosing to smile
After a weekend of allowing an illness to get the better of me I decided to get proactive about my health. I’d been lying on my bed, listening to the sound of my son’s laughter drift through the window as he played in our garden. I wished I was outside with him. Bored and looking for inspiration, I picked up my copy of the Cygnus Review. Opening the pages on William Bloom’s article I was reminded how much of a difference the right state of mind and emotions can help you to rise above a health challenge, or any challenge at that. Consciously going into ourSelves with a smile and with love is a more constructive choice than consciously going deeper into pain or discomfort, don’t you think? The same thing goes on all issues of mind, body and emotions. When I saw the review of the Endorphin Effect I knew that I had to get that book back off the shelf and follow William Bloom’s feel good plan. The great thing about this classic title is that it helps you to produce endorphins even if you’re really exhausted. My copy is well worn and dog eared; it never matters how rubbish I might feel when i pick it up, as I read through the pages I can’t help but feel lighter and see things from the clearer, brighter perspective of my true self. Needless to say, it helped me get of bed and into the sunshine and I have no doubt that my pain has subsided largely in response to it.
William Bloom’s 5 Endorphin Triggers
I’ve typed out a quick list based on the Endorphin Effect for easy reference. It’s already been printed out and stuck on my chicken wire notice board (yes my home is more than slightly quirky) and I thought you might find it useful too. It’s all William Bloom’s words – taken from an interview he did to introduce his book. ‘With all these strategies,’ William tells us ‘the only secret is to just pause and notice the feeling and allow it to sink more deeply into the body’.
1) Go exercise – The body needs more oxygenated blood, therefore tissue needs to relax, therefore it pumps out endorphins in order to relax the tissue for the oxygenated blood to get into the tissue. When it pumps out the endorphins to relax the tissue, it feels good.
2) Get out into nature – Look at the sky, appreciate the animals you live with, have a little flower box on your window sill. Just appreciating nature, people instinctively chill out and relax into an endorphinated flow (even the hardest cynics).
3) Rest – consciously allow yourself to go into the sensation of having a rest. If you’ve got nothing to do for half an hour (maybe on a suburban commuter train) – you’ve got no newspaper to read – just slump into yourself, that will trigger endorphins. Everybody knows that – have a rest, you’ll feel better.
4) Do what you most enjoy – Anything you enjoy thinking about or enjoy doing will trigger endorphins. Whatever it is – if you enjoy walking landscape, if you enjoy music, if you enjoy being with your family, that will trigger endorphins.
5) Smiling into your body – In the training we do, all we’re teaching people to do is to notice when there’s a change happening inside the chemistry of the body and to consciously allow it to happen in a more self managed way. The top of this list, to me is the ability to work between your mind, through your nervous system, into your endocrine system, where you do a very classic strategy, from many meditation traditions, of smiling into your body. You relax your eyes, put on a kind attitude and you open your heart but you do it to your own body. This sends messages through your nervous system, into your endocrine system, which trigger endorphins.