Protect your brain chemistry.
This is something I think about often. The way we feel, the way we perceive everything around us, and the way we respond are all influenced by our brain chemistry. How we feel about ourselves and others, everything we are is filtered through our brains, and therefore colored by the state of our neurotransmitters.
What are neurotransmitters?
Chemicals. They’re chemicals. Our bodies produce them by breaking down amino acids we take in when we eat. Neurotransmitters are necessary for the neurons in your brain to communicate with each other. They allow for the transmission of signals from one neuron to another. This synaptic process is how you think. It’s how your brain works.
Think of neurotransmitters as a bike messenger. For two people to achieve a goal, they may need to communicate information. That information is brought from one person to another by bike messenger. No goal can be achieved without this.
Let’s talk about a few neurotransmitters and what they do.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this chemical, especially if you’ve done any research on depression. Serotonin is responsible for stable mood, immune system function, balance of other neurotransmitters and so on.
This neurotransmitter aids in focus, fighting off depression, arousal, motivation and is associated with the reward center of the brain, as well as having a number of other functions.
Stress and anxiety management, and good sleep are two functions of this neurotransmitter.
Increased energy and muscle response, alertness and a greater ability to react, as well as greater oxygen flow due to an increased heart rate. Killer for sports!
You’ll notice these chemicals are quintessential for energy, depression, stress, and anxiety management, stable mood, health, sexual performance, and a whole number of things I didn’t even mention!
This brings me back. We have to protect our brain chemistry for our own health and happiness.
Exercise is a great way to increase and release neurotransmitters.
Walking, running, lifting, skiing, team sports, whatever it takes, move your body! When depressed, anxious, or when just generally unhappy, we often neglect our bodies. We get caught in a downward spiral and we don’t exercise. This process needs to be interrupted.
Not only do we feel better when we exercise, due to the release of some wonderful neurotransmitters, but we break the cycle that keeps us from feeling better. A little bit at a time we can build our brains into devices that serve us, that make us feel the way we really want to. We have to commit to movement though. We have to commit to putting in the work that breaks any downward cycle and puts us in an upward one.
Go for a walk. Get some fresh air. Move your body. Build up to a better brain chemistry. Build up to your happiness.