Play Helps Your Body Release Feel Good Hormones
The body works in magical ways. One of the magnificent things your body does for you, is give you a dose of feel-good hormones every time you engage in play. When you play, you help decrease the amount of cortisol in your body.
Cortisol is the powerful stress hormone you're probably living with too much of. When you decrease cortisol, you help increase your feel-good hormones. This delicious blend of endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin are waiting inside your body ready to be released. An easy way to activate these fabulous hormones is to do what came naturally to you as a child, play.
There are many good reasons why you want to stimulate these hormones, the benefits they provide are plenty. To understand how they work together to improve mood, increase happiness, reduce stress and depression, and improve overall health and well-being, it's helpful to understand the differences between each one.
Benefits of Feel-Good Hormones:
The primary role of endorphins is to inhibit pain and produce a feeling of euphoria and well-being. I'm sure you've heard of or experienced, 'a runner's high'. That feeling comes from endorphins being released. Laughter helps to stimulate the production of endorphins, as does exercise. Sharing jokes or enjoying a bike ride with no destination can help increase this feel-good hormone.
You receive a dose of this powerful hormone when you're rewarded in some way. Dopamine motivates pleasure-seeking behavior. While dopamine can increase bad habits or addictions, it works in your favor when it comes to play. The more you play and release this feel-good hormone, the better you feel and the more you want it. Is it time for a puzzle or game of Pictionary?
Known as the 'love hormone', oxytocin is particularly powerful in women (this is the hormone released during childbirth and breastfeeding). You can stimulate oxytocin by engaging with loved ones. To enjoy a lovely dose of this blissful hormone, try playing with your pet or enjoying a family game night.
This feel-good hormone contributes to happier feelings by giving your mood a boost. It helps increase your overall well-being and decrease depression. The most effective way to boost your serotonin levels is through daily exercise. Active play, such as throwing a frisbee, is a fun and easy way to increase this powerful hormone.
These hormones help keep you living happier, healthier and feeling more fulfilled. They help contribute to living a life that is thriving and not merely surviving. In fact, the act of play is incredibly effective at getting you out of 'survival mode' because play provides no immediate survival purpose. It's something we do for fun and pleasure, because we enjoy it, and it feels good.
So what are you waiting for? Get out and play today!
For more on the benefits of play, check out this blog ~ Play Isn't Just for Children
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Looking for more tips to help you live well? Check out Your Live Well Journey - The Podcast, every episode offers ways to help you improve your self-care.