Better Than Heroin

Let 2013 be the year where you consciously feed your spirit and develop your personal engagement. To keep you going, be sure to practice this Engagement Booster:

Get a Fix!

No, I’m not really going to extoll the virtues of illegal drugs, or outline how to fool a pre-employment drug screening. But I do want to draw a parallel between extremely dangerous, addictive, and illegal narcotics like heroin and a most helpful, equally-addictive, and perfectly legal drug produced inside our bodies like called endorphins. Endorphins are “happy chemicals” generated by our own internal pharmacy that creates a state of well-being.

That means you don’t have to drive into a seedy neighborhood, risking getting shot, robbed, or arrested to get your “fix.” You can get your endorphins pumping without leaving home. How? Activities like exercise, sex, and even eating spicy foods all release endorphins!

To keep my blog G-rated, I’m just going to focus on exercise (although I have been known to eat foods that are so hot my sweat leaves welts on my face).

Exercise increases mental processing.

In his book Spark, author / psychiatrist John Ratey outlines the connection between physical activity and mental processing. According to Ratey, even “moderate exercise [can] supercharge mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen thinking, enhance memory….” Ratey noted that when Naperville, Illinois’ District 203 began placing remedial students into Physical Education classes to begin the school day, grades improved. The district expanded the study. Grades kept improving. And today, this school district of 19,000 students ranks number one in the world for test scores in science.

If you wish to SWITCH ON your brain, kick start your butt for a morning run, fast walk, or session at the gym. You’ll not only see the results in your body, but you’ll experience better mental clarity, too.

Exercise improves mental health.

Should you take an antidepressant, or get 20 minutes of rigorous exercise to combat depression? That’s what researches wanted to determine. So they gave one group of depressed individuals an antidepressant, and another group they told to get exercising. After three months, both groups maintained positive mental health. But something interesting happened after six months. The group taking the antidepressant slipped back into depression at a statistically higher rate than those who continued to exercise regularly.

For many people suffering from depression, increased physical activity proves equally or even more effective than medication. But beware: exercise does have some side effects, like–

Exercise reduces your waistline while increasing your bottom line.

Regular exercise combined with a healthful, balanced diet contributes to building lean muscle mass and fueling a healthy metabolism. But research also has found that people who regularly exercise are more likely than those who don’t to maintain a steady weight. That means you aren’t having to buy wardrobes of various sizes, which means you aren’t wasting money.

It’s Time!

Perhaps the resolutions you made on December 31, 2012 have fallen to the wayside. But you can still make 2013 the year where you feed your personal happiness and engagement. And with Springtime popping, it’s a perfect season to get off the couch and into a pair of good athletic shoes!




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