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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Did you get your dose of endorphins today?

What a blissful moment feels (and looks) like
St-Laurent River, QC


Finishing my workout at the gym, listening to my favorite cool down music, enjoying the stretch, and, I'm not gonna lie, noticing all the hot bods pumping iron all around...

I'm having a weight lifter's high! I feel like skipping about, throwing flower petals and telling everyone how beautiful they are. No kidding. I have it bad!

Who would have known this phenomenon existed? Everyone talks about the runner's high, but what about all those other "highs" that certain experiences in life can provide? Well, if you dig, you soon discover that endorphins (neurotransmitters associated with the runner's high and other feelings of euphoria) are produced not only during running, but also during exercise in general, and with "excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love, and orgasm". (See Wikipedia under Endorphins)


Hot peppers could spice up your life!
bbum, Flickr


As for me, I must have very active endorphin pathways, because I regularly get that feeling of profound well-being and joy (you could call it bliss), in all kinds of situations that too often are just overlooked.

I might not be the only one. My friend A recently commented on her latest camping trip as it being "pure heaven", and my friend B shared a picture of her morning cup of coffee... taken on her back deck, overlooking the forest. The accompanying comment showed she had found her bliss, right there in that simple moment.

The nice thing about those "highs" is that you can get them out of extremely simple, free, available-to-all, experiences. What matters is not to have the material means to enjoy life, but rather to have the mental means to do so.

And, non-negligible detail, I believe that the "bliss-aptitude" can be developed.

You can start small. For example, with skies. Skies are one of my weaknesses. They have a way of making me blissful. Whenever I see a beautiful or simply an unusual sky, I stop right in my tracks, I pause, and I take it all in. Often, I express my amazement out loud.

I was not even aware of it until I noticed that my daughters will exclaim in awe whenever they see a nice or special sky. And I realized I was responsible for that. I had taught them - unconsciously - to find wonder in a sky.


Peggy's Cove, NS


Rivière-du-Loup, QC


My own mother, a generation ago, had taught me to be amazed by all kinds of nature's gifts, such as flowers, birds, and insects.


Discovering an ants' nest with the kids...
I'm as excited as they are. Really!


Mom also taught me how to get into a trance just by listening to music. It comes in handy more often than you would imagine. Tonight, on my way to the gym, I got stuck in traffic. But as I was slowly becoming annoyed, one of my favorite tunes played on the radio. Poof! Annoyance was gone. Bliss filled the - motionless - car.

There are so many examples of free, blissful inducing stimuli. And since they are so good for you (as opposed to addictions, which have adverse effects), becoming more aware of their presence in our everyday life is worth the effort.

Today, I marveled at the perfectly warm sun rays, accompanied by a nice summer breeze, that made the temperature on my skin absolutely impeccable (and delightful). In the course of my busy day, I could have failed to notice it. But as soon as I felt a hint of well-being, I paused, tried to figure out what had caused it, and then just reveled in it.

On a different day I might have listened to the rain falling, or looked at it fill puddles.




I even find bliss in public libraries. I seriously do.

Or having a chat with an elderly person. (Did today, with my neighbor).

Come to think of it... drinking a tall glass of water, when you're super thirsty, could be one of the best feelings ever. (Epicurus would most likely agree.)

What I'm trying to say is... when you are opened to a blissful experience, it comes to you.

Today I would like to know:


  • Do wonder, joy and bliss come to you easily?
  • What are your favorite sources of free, simple pleasure?
  • What do you think you could do to increase the frequency of your blissful moments?
  • Has someone taught bliss to you, or have you taught it to someone?
  • How does it make you feel to read a post on this topic?
  • Anything else you would like to share about simple joys?


For more on highs and simple pleasures:

(Click to open the page in another window; please do not hesitate to comment on those past posts!)








For more on endorphins:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/endorphins.htm



25 comments:

  1. Hi Julie:)
    •Do wonder, joy and bliss come to you easily?
    Lately yes.
    •What are your favorite sources of free, simple pleasure?
    Watching my grandchildren discover life.
    •What do you think you could do to increase the frequency of your blissful moments?
    Be a more active part of their lives.
    •Has someone taught bliss to you, or have you taught it to someone?
    My wife tries to find bliss in each day and has
    passed that joy to any that will share it.
    •How does it make you feel to read a post on this topic? Like Julie had an AWESOME day:)
    •Anything else you would like to share about simple joys?
    My wife and I went bowling this evening with my daughter, her husband and the two granddaughters ages 9 and 10. The 9 year old
    was soooo excited that all of us were together
    participating in a family activity. She cheered every time any of us rolled the ball whether it was a strike, spare or gutter ball. She was thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. I thought wouldn't life be lovely if we all shared her joy for life each and every day.

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  2. Marc, reading your comment made me blissful. :-)

    Children (and grandchildren, I imagine) are indeed a great source of joy. And you were blessed the day you met that wife of yours!

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    1. My son Joe (age 35) was a witness at our wedding and a teenager at the time. He told me Diana was my greatest blessing.

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  3. There are so many times throughout the day where I think, "I wish I could bottle this feeling." Those moments are usually spent with my children and hubby!

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    1. If only we could bottle those feelings. I think sometimes it's possible. :-)

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  4. Hi Julie ! This is a great blog and I share some of the same blissful moments : especially SKIES ! and libraries and unexpected encounters with nice neighbors and water ;)
    Do wonder, joy and bliss come to you easily?
    Not so easily but I'm getting better and better at enjoying "les petits bonheurs de la vie " - I'm convinced my kids have taught me this more than anyone else
    What are your favorite sources of free, simple pleasure? Sharing laughter and hugs !
    What do you think you could do to increase the frequency of your blissful moments?
    As my yoga teacher would say - just let it happen !
    Has someone taught bliss to you, or have you taught it to someone?
    My family and my yoga teacher (Maurice, 88 ans)
    How does it make you feel to read a post on this topic?
    Makes me feel like diving into another day of blissful moments !
    Anything else you would like to share about simple joys?
    My kids and I collect them every night and tell each other what they were<
    Bonne journée Julie !
    Jennifer

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    1. I like your answers, Jennifer! I will reflect on them! :-)

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  5. I love this - I agree that we can find bliss in the small things. It was easy for me to find true bliss everyday while on vacation at the beach. But at home, sitting out on the deck and feeling the breeze is pretty great!! Those minutes after dinner when my husband and I sit at the table to chat about the day is bliss (especially if Jordan is already starting cleanup!!).
    I hope that I'm teaching my boys about finding bliss in the small things.

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    1. I think your awareness will ensure that you do teach your kids how to find bliss in small things. :-)

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  6. Laughing, there's nothing wrong with enjoying the view of hot bods at the gym! Love this post - it's often the simple things in life that bring the most joy. Last night I sat with my youngest and rocked her for a few minutes before laying her down. Just enjoying those quiet moments with her made my entire day better. Right now I'm coming off the endorphin high from a really great tempo run this morning. And I love driving my girls to daycare in the morning and seeing the beautiful skies with the mountains in the distance. I'm trying to be better about enjoying these simple pleasures instead of rushing to the next item on my to-do list.

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    1. It's too easy for us working parents of young children to chase our tail 24-7, but I think you have it all figured out. Enjoy! :-)

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  7. Nice to hear what a wonderful day you are having and how much you appreciate the little things that are readily available gifts for all of us!

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  8. I've always been a cheery person, but reading Brian Tracy's comment, "We see what we believe", opened up the floodgates. Now I'm just a walking bundle of joy most of the time. :)

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    1. A walking bundle of joy! Must be blissful for those around you as well! :-)

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  9. I love your positive attitude - I think it rubs off on everyone who is around you! When I was starting my reverse bucket list (you mentioned in your recent blog), I also started a list of things that make me happy (my own personal 'list of awesome') - from simple things like that first shower after you've been camping, to the sound of a baby laughing (is there any better sound?) - it is often overlooked moments that can brighten a day.

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    1. Thank you A! The first shower after camping and a baby's laugh are wonderful indeed! :-)

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  10. I love me some runners high!!! I loved this post b/c it's so true the moments of pure bliss come from nature and family and friends and maybe exercise - no money needed!

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    1. Absolutely! Now if we could only keep that in mind 24/7! :-)

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  11. There are so many things through out my day that make me happy...I get excited every-time it rains, every weekend when the sun is shining and every time it snows..I have no idea why but I feel happy :), spending time with my grandparents, talking to my family,going for walks, I can go on & on. I'm not sure about runner high but after every workout I'm surprisingly more happy,people around me usual notice the difference, my smile is bigger and I'm talking a lot more (just talking and connecting with people makes me happy :) )

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    1. Wonderful! And all those things are free, that's for sure! :-)

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  12. I love the weight lifters high as well and it made me smile that you too experience it. Isn't it just the best?

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  13. Hi Julie! Yes, when I read this, I thought of what a lovely person you are. This post really reflects you. :D

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    1. This comment of yours shows how YOU are a lovely person! :-)

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