Parenting, yurt life

The Endorphin Experiment (Week 1)

23 June, 2016

Yesterday morning after a night of insomnia, Ramona woke me up by stroking her finger from my forehead to the tip of my nose. I growled and turned my back on her. And then, coming to my senses more, awoken perhaps by the silence of her woundedness, but still with my eyes closed, I rolled back and whispered “Do it again, Ramona.” She did it again and this time I smiled and opened my eyes. She was smiling too and we stared into each others eyes until our smiles became laughs and we began to laugh so hard that we crunched our knees into our bellies and fell in towards each other, noses touching, breath swapping.

Our bodies were flooded with endorphins. We got out of bed, high as kites. Like, physiologically, truly high. Experiencing an effect similar to teens smoking in the bushes. It was the optimal way to wake. So much better than my grumpy normal.

That was the first day of my Endorphin Experiment.

I have been totally pulled in by William Bloom’s book The Endorphin Effect. It puts words (and science, and spirituality) to feelings that I’ve held to for a couple of years. It provides answers to why I think certain parenting practices are important, and to why certain things lead to well being, and it gives real grunt to the idea of mindfulness.

I feel like I have discovered something immensely simple that could have a huge impact on my family well being. 

I have become a bit of an endorphin evangelical over the last couple of weeks. So I thought I would make a bit of a experiment out of it! The whole give up shampoo thing began as a super casual experiment for this blog, and since became something really significant about my life, so (y’know, no pressure) I’ve decided to try it again. This time, instead of going for 100% natural hair care, I am going to practice flooding my body with 100% natural feelgood; endorphins.

I know that it sounds quite self indulgent. But I completely believe that if every person was happier, the whole world would be more peaceful. If we could tap more frequently into the contentment that our endorphins bring us, our decisions will be kinder, more generous, wiser even.

I am particularly interested in this idea as a parent. I am on a mission to not impact my kids with my stress and anger and inner turmoil. I am considering the possibility that our endorphins are intrinsically linked to our ability to parent well.

Eeep, I am beginning to sound a bit scary. A bit TOO into it.  Well look, it might all end up being a load of crap. That’s an experiment for you though isn’t it?

Week One Task

This week’s task was to make a list of all the things that make me happy. People, memories, activities, whatever. And then I had to find a way to bring them more into my life.

One of the ways of using this list is to tap into those things when feeling stressed. It suggests putting photos of events and people around and then turning to them to help you through a bad mood. Or feeling the negativity and then deciding to delve into a memory of when I was super calm and happy, and then try and hold onto that feeling and let it move through my body in a physical way.

I wrote out a few memories but the one I have found most powerful is one from a few years ago. Tim and I went snowboarding in France and would get up the mountain early and enjoy the slopes by ourselves, the sun yet to take its fierce position in the sky. My memory is of gliding free as a bird across untouched snow, a completely uninhibited whoop roaring unbidden from my mouth.

I am working on really letting that mountain memory flood my body, I think it takes some practice!

I tried using a memory of Juno meeting me at the library after a day away from each other, what it felt like her to shower my face with delicate kisses, my eyelids, my hairline, my nose. At the time is was the most beautiful feeling but that memory didn’t serve the purpose for this task, it is too hard for me to seperate that feeling of happiness with the priviledge/ weight of responsibility as a mother.

A few times this week I have felt a bubble of anxiety in my chest as I contemplate all the things I have to do, workwise, and around the home/farm. It is such a physical feeling, my heart thumping against my chest wall. Taking a few moments and remembering that feeling of freedom on the mountain has definitely prevented that bubble from taking over and becoming as big as it usually does. But I haven’t quite yet managed to physically feel the endorphins move around my body as Bloom suggests I might.
Over the next few weeks I am going to be trying out a few of the activities in the book, including this one, something I’ve always felt to be true, but am now dedicating myself to:

DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY! Will keep you posted!Do more of what makes you happy.

Endorphin Experiment- Week Two
Endorphin Experiment- Week Six

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  • Francesca 23 June, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Wow. What an interesting idea. Anxiety is definitely a struggle for me, and I really relate to what you are saying about the emotions having a physical effect – deliberately trying to create the positive feelings to counteract that isn’t something I had come across.I’m really interested to hear how you go!

    • Lucy 24 June, 2016 at 8:25 am

      Yes will write every week 🙂

  • Jenna 23 June, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    I love this idea. After having packed my child off to the childminder crying, still in his pj’s all because he wanted to eat sweets for breakfast and I wouldn’t let him (really? Would it have been the end of the world to let him finish the sweets he got yesterday? Now I don’t think so) I am definitely contemplating getting this book.

    long story short…..I am fed up of being scared of holidays/time with my children. Constantly feeling the battle of having to fight between feeling a duty to be a grown up and do housework/go to work or just enjoy time with the kids (which I really think I’ve forgotten how to do).

    • Lucy 24 June, 2016 at 8:23 am

      Ah, such a process this journey aye! Enjoying our children while they still want to enjoy us must be one of life’s most simple, greatest gifts

  • Gina Caro @ Gypsy Soul 24 June, 2016 at 12:01 am

    ooo I like the sound of this and now I’m going to have to buy that book!
    When I was younger I used to use my endorphins to help with period pain. It sounds a bit crazy but when I had the cramping I’d watch something funny on TV, normally Lee Evans, and after a while of laughing I’d feel much better and the cramping would subside.
    Glad I read this post!

    • Lucy 24 June, 2016 at 8:24 am

      That is sooo cool to hear Gina!

  • Lala 6 July, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Yes Lucy, yes yes yes! I so think there is a deep key to life held in following what makes us feel blissful, in what makes our bodies feel like warm soft content animals. Haven’t heard of this book so might have to search it out. Did you see Tom and Sarah’s little video? He mentions the same idea (I think) xxx