by Dr. Annika
Just as a PS to the most recent post: Sugar is the ultimate carb, just in case that wasn’t clear.
We are born wired for bliss. What does that mean? When we are born, every cell is covered in opiate receptors. When we are babies, when we are nurtured, fed, held, played with, smiled at and cared for, these opiate receptors get their stuff and we bliss out.
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Remember that ad years ago for nicotine patches to bludgeon the “receptor beasts” into submission to give up smoking? Receptors are structures inside the membranes of each cell, and they respond to different stimuli, such as substances like nicotine and heroin, to effect changes within the cell. Our hormones often work via receptors, too. So receptors are incredibly important, varied and numerous, and do a wide variety of things. As a very general rule, the more of the substance in our bodies, the more receptors we will develop, hence the withdrawal symptoms once you cut back.
Opiate receptors, when stimulated, make us feel blissful. Lack of stimulation can feel uncomfortable to downright terrible. If we as adults don’t get the sweetness we need, we will look for other ways to get our sense of wellbeing, and substances like heroin, opiate painkillers and sugar stimulate our opiate receptors, as do things like screen time, which is why they are so addictive.
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So how can we feel bliss without the chemicals? Our bodies themselves will manufacture them quite willingly, given the opportunity. If you have ever fallen in love, you will know what I mean.
Getting sweetness out of life is all about being truly present, experiencing the moment in all its’ depth. Being present means not doing two things at once or goofing off in your mind to tomorrow’s dinner menu or yesterday’s argument.
Here are some ways to experience the sweetness in your life:
∞ Pat your pet, feel the softness of his fur, and look into his eyes as he blisses out (dog) or feel the deep rumbling purr (cat) or …… (insert for your particular pet).
∞ Play your favourite music and feel it moving through you, whether you are dancing or not.
∞ Dance like no-one is watching you.
∞ Sing like no-one’s listening.
∞ If you sing or play an instrument like a guitar, feel the vibration of your voice or instrument on your body as you listen to the beautiful music you are creating.
∞ Stop and really appreciate breath-taking scenery – the ocean, the hills, a sunset.
∞ Look into the eyes of someone you love really deeply (that’s both the looking and the loving) and see the being of love that looks back at you.
∞ Really savour your food, feel its’ goodness nourish your body as you savour all the deliciousness of the flavours and textures.
∞ Spend time with a friend, and laugh from your belly.
∞ Really feel the hot water of your shower or bath covering your body – I mean how amazing is it that all we have to do for hot water is to turn on a tap!!
∞ Move your body in a way that brings you joy and makes you feel alive, be it surfing, dancing, running, going to the gym, playing in a competitive game.
∞ Taste the sweetness of water when you are thirsty.
∞ Play with the children in your life (they sometimes come in adult forms, and sometimes they have fur….)
∞ Do a kindness for someone else.
∞ Sing in a choir.
∞ Count your blessings. Steep yourself in gratitude (the ultimate sweetness) until you have tears in your eyes.
∞ ….your own way, let me know what it is!
Most of the suggestions above will not only add sweetness to your life, but also lower your stress levels and strengthen your immune system.
And if you really crave that chocolate brownie or ice-cream, have it, but really taste it. I mean, really, really taste it, and do nothing else. Don’t beat yourself up, or you will find you have eaten the whole thing and can’t even remember it. If you do really taste it, however, you might just find that a couple of mouthfuls is enough.
May all the sweetness in life be yours.