Natural High: Releasing Endorphins Through Meditation
The "Natural High" — How Meditation Boosts Endorphins
Responsible for the all-encompassing sense of happiness we sometimes feel, endorphins are a category of neurotransmitters that the body uses as an internal pain killer. A 1995 study (Harte et al) published in the Biological Psychology Journal tested the neurochemical release of two groups — 11 elite runners and 12 highly trained meditators — after running and meditation, respectively. What did they find? Both groups’ endorphin levels were greatly elevated. Perhaps even more amazing, meditation's "feel-good effect" scored even higher than running!
Joggers have coined the term "runners high" to describe how wonderful the endorphin rush feels after a nice, long run. This happy, zen-like, alert state of bliss can be a powerful and highly pleasurable experience, going a long way to explain why so many runners are addicted to their sport. Luckily, this wonderful mind-state is readily found through meditation. Maybe it is time for meditators to come up with a cool phrase for how good they feel after meditation?