Endorphins & Mental Health


BY DESTINY HARRIS

Photo by Hybrid on Unsplash

Whenever my dogs play, go outside, go for a walk, or do anything physical, afterward, they’re ALL smiles.

Do you know why? Because endorphinsmake you SMILE, feel good, enhance your mental health, and also help decrease the pain you might be experiencing in your life mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The world could be a little bit happier, a little bit more smiley, and feel a little bit more cheerful inside if they released more endorphins every day.

With depression and mental illness growing rampant, releasing endorphins is one sure way you can help combat negative feelings, states of beings, and moods. It does take some effort on your part, but you always feel better once you complete an endorphin-releasing activity.

Smile More & Be Grateful

We shouldn’t be freaked out by people who often smile; instead, we should ask them what they have to smile about. Next, we should ask ourselves:

  1. What can I smile about?
  2. What can I be grateful for?
  3. What do I get to do today that I might be taking for granted?

Being grateful can be transformative to your mental health.

Endorphin Releasing Ideas

Here are some easy ways to release endorphins:

  • Dance to some catchy a** music.
  • Complete a goal.
  • Take a walk first thing in the morning.
  • Laugh (very underrated).
  • Workout with a friend.
  • Stretch and focus on your breathing.
  • Have a stimulating conversation.
  • Complete an easter egg hunt.
  • Go ziplining.
  • Play ball with your dogs (one of my dogs is OBSESSED w/ playing fetch 24/7).

The way to release endorphins doesn’t have to be in the form of a traditional workout. Get creative. Do something fun. Stimulate your mind, body, and soul. Try something you’ve never experienced before.

Walking

One of my favorite ways to release endorphins, help with any pain I feel in my body at times, and de-stress is to walk. The more I walk, the better I feel — holistically. When I consistently take walks, I notice multiple areas (e.g., work, mood, spiritual health, and mental clarity, to name a few.) of my life improve. Walking is also one of the easiest ways to feel better — immediately.

There are so many benefits of walking:

  • Increase in mental clarity
  • De-stress
  • Gather new ideas
  • De-escalate anger and anxiety
  • Increase mobility
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Closing Thoughts

Remember to laugh. Remember to smile. Remember to release more endorphins.

Life can take its toll on you when you forget to enjoy it. Your body, spirit, and overall health will thank you for consistently releasing more endorphins.

Take Action: What can you start doing more of to release endorphins starting today?

And here’s one last thing picture to hopefully make you smile. Cheers!

Thank you for taking the time to #elevate your life with this quick read. Grab your free books here — Destiny S. Harris’ Free Amazon Book PageWanna keep in touch online? Connect with me on InstagramFacebook, or my Website.

Find Margin


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Pause when options and crises come

take time to evaluate what serves you

immediate response is not necessary

if it is not life or death

Breathe deeply and slowly

gather yourself and your thoughts

breathe through decisions

not made in haste

Ponder the why of your response

does it serve you or is it serving others only

is it necessary or is it because you choose

examine and ask questions

Choose wisely and for yourself

will it provide margin or take it away

what will the choice require of you

are you enabling others or building resilience

Do what you can with margin

responses should not push you over the edge

they should not be assumed or expected

find and protect your margin

The Gift Of Giving


Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

‘Tis the season of gift giving. Buying, wrapping, giving, and receiving. We spend so much time searching for the perfect gift and so sometimes so much money. But the best gift we can give is the gift of ourselves.

Christmas brings out the spirit of giving, but giving of ourselves is something we can do all year long. Most all of us live in places where there are other people and it provides us with the opportunity to give to others all the time.

The opportunities are endless. Some take a bit more time than others but all give to others. The only cost is your time and a bit of your heart. Here are some possible opportunities to give of yourself. If you do not have these exact things where you live, I am sure there are things that are similar.

* Provide donations at a local food bank or other similar food distribution place. Many people are in need of food all throughout the year in our communities. Help these places to serve them.

* Adopt a family or children through your local family and children’s services or reach out to child protective services. Offer your time to collect and donate clothes, toys, and other items to help kids in need.

* Organize a hat and mitten tree donation through your school district at all the schools. Or just donate hats and mittens to local schools yourself. There are a lot of kids that are in need of these items during the colder months of the year.

* Organize a gift card drive for at risk and homeless students in your schools at various times throughout the year. Or just donate gift cards to local schools yourself. Gift cards for food and clothing as well as personal care items can help so many.

* Organize a coat and sock drive for your local homeless shelter or other homeless adult services. Or just donate coats and socks to local shelters or other services yourself. Having a coat or a good pair of socks can provide much needed warmth and protection.

* Donate items to local assisted living facilities puzzles, coloring supplies, arts and crafts supplies and other items to fill the time. In almost every town there are places like these with elderly people who are alone. And this year they are more alone than ever before.

* Find out what group homes for adolescent and younger children exist in your area and donate items that they might find useful such as puzzles, games, arts and crafts items, coats and hats, toys. These children are often alone at Christmas and even more so this year.

These are a tiny fraction of the opportunities available for giving of yourself. It does not have to be a big thing or an organized thing. It can be one thing done for one person that makes all the difference. And it can be done all year long. Practice the gift of giving of yourself and you will also be given to in gratitude and love.

Gone


Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

No longer here

you have joined with the cosmos

matter that can not be created

or destroyed

We the left behind

are broken hearted

and sad

you are gone

Each star the brightness

of your smile

the universe

containing your soul

Shining down on us

radiating love

we seek you out

amongst the heavens

Too soon it seems

being without you

yet knowing

the spirit still remains

Wishing you peace

on your journey

and yet

so sorry you are gone

Tired


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

So tired these days

in so many ways

in body, in spirit, in mind

peace is hard to find

So much pressing in

spreading me thin

another task on the pile

just want to rest awhile

So much noise all around

hate and division abound

everyone feels out of control

can I just crawl into a hole

So many clients seen every week

my voice tired so hard to speak

try to help them feel stronger

not sure I can any longer

So tired every day

in every conceivable way

hoping for something to lighten the load

to keep on walking down this road

Frustration


Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Like sandpaper
everything feels rough
little bits being shaved off
under constant frustration

Grating changes
lack of control
nothing is normal
feeling untethered

Constant exposure
whether we know it
or not
to possible infection

Affecting home
work school
relationships
entire lives

Everyday more
grating and grinding
pushing towards explosions
repetitive frustration

It’s Quite Mental Really


By Robin McNamara

Photo by hesam jr on Unsplash

By Robin McNamara

Like a depressed version of 
Rodan’s Sculpture, the Thinker-

I’m hunched up with an unfolding 
Mind. Out escaped everything. 

Fears, anxiety and phobias, 
All scattered everywhere. 

I almost tripped over my
Arachnophobia in haste to

Escape my coulrophobhia.
It’s no joke really-

That… film, I can’t watch IT.
And that song 99 Red Balloons? 

Definitely can’t listen to that.
I tried to take a walk but-

My Agoraphobia said,
“I’m back bitch.”

So the black dog started 
To whine incessantly,

Inside my head.
And yep, you’ve guessed it-

My phobia: cynophobia did
Not help matters at all.

Now I’ve gone barking mad.

Fall


Photo by Fallon Michael on Unsplash

There is beauty in letting go

a coloring of change

making way for something new

preparing to undergo transformation

flashes of brightness and being bold

everyone notices each phase of the change

until we lie dormant regathering our strength

quietly waiting for new life to begin

whispering winds of renewed hope

fall into becoming

the trees will show you the way

Grief Is An Unpredictable Ocean


Photo by Meenakshi Chauhan on Unsplash

Grief is an ocean. Sometimes peaceful and calm and other times angry and unsettled. Grief comes in waves.

As time goes on, the grief changes much like the ocean. The acceptance of the way things are is akin to the acceptance of the ocean as something that is always there but ever-changing.

It has been 11 years, well almost 12 years now, since my mother died. For many of those 11 years, my ocean of grief has been relatively calm with the waves only surfacing with birth dates, death dates, holidays sometimes. These waves have been relatively easy to ride out for many of these years.


These last few months with coronavirus, my ocean has taken on the characteristic of a tropical depression. Not quite a hurricane, but still strong enough to stir the ocean into a roiling reservoir of emotion and large, constant waves.

Working within the ever shifting landscape of death and fear with my clients daily has my own personal ocean moving a little more these days. My uncle died unexpectedly last week just a few years younger than my father currently is and it is adding to my ocean drop by drop.

It is a sobering thought that feels much like the experience of having a large ocean wave hit you in the chest and roll over you pushing you down and under, taking your breath.

My mother was very, very sick for a long time, many years before she died. She had diabetes and high blood pressure. She had several strokes from her forties on. She was on dialysis for years. When she died, her organs had shut down one by one and she was a shell of the woman she used to be racked with pain.

The last time I saw her, she was in hospice. She could not speak except to cry out in pain. They just kept upping her morphine to make her comfortable. I talked to her and told her that I loved her and that it was okay for her to go.

She could not talk to me but she looked at me in a few moments of lucidity and cried as I held her face close to mine and told her that I loved her.

I was the executor of things and had to leave the next morning to travel about an hour away to the funeral home location to make final preparations. On the way there, my brother called to tell me that my mother was gone.

I had years to prepare for this eventuality. Death was not a surprise and I was thankful she was no longer in pain or suffering. The initial grief was much easier to handle than this ocean 11 years later.


Clients come in on a daily basis worried about their own loved ones. Some have lost people this year to the virus, others know people who have died. Still others fear for their families and for themselves.

They are in grief for the normalcy of their lives. For the other things that have also been lost, scaled down weddings, barely attended funerals, and not being able to go and visit elders in nursing homes, or those who are hospitalized for different reasons.

Another wave, another ride.


As a clinical counselor, I know all the stages of grief. I know, clinically, all about the ocean and the waves. I work with clients every day to process these emotions.

It can be difficult to therapy yourself.

And so I continue to ride the waves, writing helps. Self-care helps. Acknowledging and accepting my ocean and knowing that the waves will subside as they always do will help.

The waves can wash over me and push me down in sadness and loss or they can lift me up to float in love and remembrance.

I love you mom.

Add To Cart


In the chaotic and out of control world that is 2020, retail therapy is on the rise. For many, it has become coping skill number one.

Add to cart.

Retail therapy has long been a part of our lives and for many, their mental health management. When we buy something we want or like, it makes us happy. It releases dopamine into our brains as a “reward” for buying what we want.

Online shopping makes it even easier to fulfill our retail therapy needs. Each time we click add to cart and then complete our purchase, the dopamine is released and we feel happy. Be it ever so briefly.

The things that we buy are not really important. It can be anything from candy to Chanel and beyond. Just as long as we are getting that dopamine reward, we feel happy. Sometimes momentarily and other times for longer, but it can bring us out of sad, angry, or anxious states for a brief period of time.

Retail therapy done in moderation is not generally harmful unless you do not have the money to spend. Rewarding yourself once in a while with something you want can be a form of self-care if moderated well.

Without moderation, retail therapy can result in overspending, which can result in issues paying your bills, buying food, or having a place to live. A few minutes on Amazon can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars spent all in an attempt to make ourselves feel better momentarily.

There is also the inevitable crash after realizing how much we have bought and perhaps not having the money to cover it all. We are living on a rollercoaster of dopamine release and guilt.

Retail therapy in current times is also about having something we can control. We can shop, we can decide to purchase, we can buy, we can take home and no one and no virus can stop us. For those brief moments, we are in control.

It is a dangerous combination, dopamine, and a sense of control in a chaotic and out of control world. Add to cart can quickly result in creating more problems for ourselves, not less.

Retail therapy in moderation can be a self-care reward. Retail therapy in abundance can be a lifestyle and mental health nightmare.

Choose your add to cart wisely.

Previous Older Entries

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: