Tag Archives: Dopamine

Benefits Offered by Adventure Sports

By Guest Blogger, Diana S.

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Adventure sports is an umbrella term used to describe activities that involve a certain degree of risk and uncertainty, as well as self-discovery. These sports include base jumping, bungee jumping, biking, hiking, kayaking, jet ski racing, mountaineering and rock climbing, para-gliding, scuba diving and so on. While some people feel rather intimidated by adventure sports, there are those swear by them and give them a lot of praise for allowing them to overcome their fears and step out of what they would normally consider to be their comfort zone. Here are some of the major benefits you can experience by participating in an adventure sport.

Exercising made fun

Coupling cardiovascular exercise such as running and swimming with bodyweight or dumbbell training is one of the best ways to increase your strength and improve your overall fitness. The only issue is that most of our cardio and weight training is often performed indoors and repeated time and time again until you reach that point where you’re simply bored with doing the same routines, or worse, not seeing the results. Running outside, however, helps develop balance, involves more muscle and going off trail and experiencing a new environment actually stimulates the brain by throwing in countless new variables to your training.

Improved health

Adventure sports are ideal for getting back into shape, especially now that the holidays are over. Furthermore, they can be an excellent stress reliever, namely due to the fact that during exercise, our brain is releasing various hormones, including dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, even if the exercise in question was not strenuous at all. Adventure sports such mountaineering and rock climbing improve balance, endurance and high-tempo sports such as biking or kayaking improve the delivery of oxygen and elevate the oxygen levels in our blood and muscle cells.

Improved self-esteem

Any activity that involves adventure sports is oftentimes challenging and comes with a different set of goals when compared to other types of sports. Whereas normal sports deal with teams and winning, adventure sports are more about challenging yourself in order to complete a specific task. It’s about overcoming your own fears and limitations and experiencing the thrill and the sense of accomplishment that follow. Just don’t get too full of yourself and never avoid wearing protective gear. Professional mountaineers would not set a foot on a mountain without being fully prepared the same way down-hill bikers would not imagine racing down a hill without their lightweight year sturdy full face helmets.

Knowledge and experience 

Every sport, including the adventure variety, comes with its own learning curve. The thing with adventure sports is that most of the skills you learn from practicing them can also be carried over into other situations in life. With biking, for example, you’ll most definitely learn how to change a tire, fix a flat or straight out the spokes, while mountaineering and technical rock climbing are ideal for instilling teamwork, improving communication skills and building trust. Kayaking will teach you all about remaining calm while underwater and base and bungee jumping can show you just how frivolous some of your fears may actually be.

Adventure sports are by far one of the best opportunities you can find to challenge yourself, overcome your fears and limitations and learn from your experiences. The physical and psychological advantages adventure sports pose, such as better physical shape, improved health, clear-headedness and positive thinking are too strong and too abundant to simply be overlooked. While it may be frightening at first, the exhilaration you get from the unknown and unexpected is not only better but also way healthier than the mundane routine you would normally experience in your daily trips to the gym.

Tia, and TipsfromTia.com  is trying to keep you looking good and
feeling good, from the inside out. If you’ve got a problem or a tip email me! Be sure to Like and share on Facebook or Follow on Twitter or Instagram.

6 Ways to Hack into Our Happy Chemicals

By Guest Blogger Mathews M.

6 Ways to Hack into Our Happy Chemicals

 

Have you noticed how you always feel better after certain things, such as a laugh, a hug, a game of basketball, buying a new book, or being immersed in your hobbies? When you feel disappointed or sad in life, these things can always cheer you up, and you can start working again – stress-free and happily.

It’s likely that the thing you do is your happy chemical hack. There are four chemicals in us that are responsible for our happiness – serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin. There are ways that we can cause them to flow intentionally, and get ourselves into a positive state. They have a great impact on our wellbeing, productivity, and motivation.

Serotonin

Serotonin helps eating, digesting, and sleeping. It is considered a natural mood stabilizer and it impacts everything from your motor skills to your emotions. We feel less anxious, calmer, happier, and more focused and emotionally stable when our serotonin levels are normal. Serotonin is the reason behind our mood swings, and depending on whether we have a high or low level of it in us, we feel in a good mood or sad and depressed.

Dopamine

Dopamine is the treat we get after a job well done. This chemical motivates us to take action and gratifies us with a surge of reinforcing pleasure when we achieve our goals. Low levels of dopamine are responsible for our lack of enthusiasm, self-doubt, and procrastination. Instead of allowing your brain to celebrate only when you hit a big goal, break big goals into smaller ones to create a series of little celebrations. This will cause a frequent release of dopamine, and to ensure a consistent dopamine-experience pattern, you need to create a new goal to achieve before you hit the current one. Celebrate with a dinner at your favorite restaurant or a bottle of wine.

Oxytocin

We need oxytocin to build healthy relationships, because it creates intimacy. It is released by mothers during childbirth and breastfeeding, and during orgasm. Often referred to as the “cuddle hormone”, its cultivation is essential for better social interactions and strong bonds. This is why a touch improves the immune system and reduces cardiovascular stress – it raises levels of oxytocin.

Endorphins

The body’s natural painkillers, these morphine-like chemicals trigger positive feelings and help diminish our perception of pain by acting as a sedative and analgesic. They’re released from the brain’s pituitary gland during orgasm, pain, emotional stress, and strenuous exercises, inducing feelings of euphoria or pleasure. If you’ve ever experienced a runner’s high, know that endorphins are to be held responsible for it. Even if the things we love doing are tiring, we don’t feel tired at all while doing them, but get hyped up.

Whenever you feel sad, blue, or depressed, remember that this is how you can trigger your happy chemicals:

  1. Get out in the sun. The production of serotonin can be boosted by sunlight. Whenever you find the time, go out for a walk and soak in the sun.
  2. Happy memories. Whenever you go through a happy memory in your head, you boost the serotonin levels in your brain. Our prefrontal cortex, which controls our emotions and self-reflections, requires serotonin in order to work right.
  3. Get or give a hug. A long hug calms you down, making you feel fuzzy and warm, because oxytocin gets released. It calms down your fear alarm, the amygdala, reducing stress and anxiousness.
  4. Laugh as much as you can. You can get happier by just opening your mouth and letting out a chuckle, or giggling when you think or hear something funny. It’s a healthy way to release emotions, attract people (because it’s an attractive expression), and release endorphins that make you feel less stressed.
  5. Don’t forget to smile. Just like laughing, smiling is a simple thing to do to improve your mood. You feel happier if you smile just like you smile because you feel happier. The face both creates and displays emotions, which means that it’s an equal in the emotional process.
  6. Have some green. Yes, you can boost your dopamine with green tea, but probably not as much as you can with a few puffs of weed. Long-term stress can reduce the production of endocannabinoids (chemicals that affect emotions), which marijuana can restore, stabilizing your mood. Many states in the US have decriminalized it’s use, such as Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, and more. So, you can get your favorite strain of medical marijuana in Las Vegas, and have an occasional smoke or a bit of an edible.

In the end, spending time around other people is a simple way of boosting the production of your happy chemicals. Go to a book store or sit in a coffee shop, and just share the same physical space (you don’t even have to talk to them). If there’s someone you can chill and chat with all the better and more beneficial, of course. Oxytocin is released during social interaction, supporting the serotonin system, making us feel good thanks to the benefits of both chemicals.

Tia, and TipsfromTia.com  is trying to keep you looking good and
feeling good, from the inside out. If you’ve got a problem or a tip email me! Be sure to Like and share on Facebook or Follow on Twitter or Instagram.