Exercise Makes You Happy and So Does Giving to Others

I had to forego my jog today because I overdid it with back/core exercises yesterday to the point of giving myself a backache. I go for a jog once or twice a week, no more than that, but I really look forward to that rush of endorphins and feeling empowered in my body. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed about not being able to jog today. But it turned out even though I couldn’t run, I would still get an endorphin rush today after all!

After completing a nutrition consultation this afternoon, I felt much more upbeat. I used to feel this same shift of mood when I was working as a dietitian/nutritionist in the pediatric outpatient clinic. Before seeing a client, my energy may have been low and sluggish that day, and then afterward, I felt much more energized. I attributed it to having worked with cute kids, but another aspect was that I had given helpful advice to people that would enhance their lives; that made me feel good!

This morning I welcomed that rush of endorphins. One, because it alleviated the persistent back pain that I had been having over the past 12 hours. Two, because running a small business isn’t easy, and neither is being a mom, and it reminded me that while some hours or days can get difficult and I feel discouraged, there are still times when life is rewarding and gives you hope!

Upon further research, I discovered that doing good makes you feel good not because of the release of endorphins, but rather due to higher levels of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. For more information on that, click here: The Neuroscience of Giving.

For more information on how exercise produces endorphins which make you happy, click here: What Happens to Our Brain on Exercise that Makes Us Happy.


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