Feeling Good Is A Balancing Act…
Our health, happiness and well-being is all about being balanced – whether that is through creating work-life balance, eating a balanced diet or practising emotional stability. Being an extremist may work for a while but, in the long run, being balanced turns out to be a much better strategy if we want to feel healthy and happy.
But did you know that there is a system in our bodies which has the sole purpose of creating internal equilibrium and restoring balance? Scientists call this system the ‘Endocannabinoid system’ (or ECS for short) and there are seven simple ways to boost it.
Most people haven’t even heard of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which isn’t surprising because it is almost never mentioned on TV or in magazines. Even our GPs and doctors are largely unaware of it as the ECS is rarely taught in our universities and hospitals.
But when we consider that the ECS is critical for almost every aspect of our body’s functioning, we start to realise that developing an understanding of how to work with and enhance our own endocannabinoid system is vitally important for our long-term health and happiness.
As Dr Ethan Russo says, “the idea of not educating people on the ECS is incomprehensible because it is fundamental to how our bodies work”.
What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
So what exactly is the endocannabinoid system? The ECS is a vast network of chemical signals and receptors that are densely packed throughout our brains and bodies. The job of this network is to regulate things in the body, by turning up or down the activity of whichever system needs to be adjusted, whether that is hunger, inflammation or alertness.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was first identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring THC, a well-known phyto-cannabinoid that creates a euphoric high feeling. (Phyto-cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis, hemp and some other plants.)
To date, scientists have discovered that the ECS regulates and balances many of our critical bodily functions such as learning, memory, pain, body temperature, emotional processing, sleep, appetite and immune responses. So, if we want to feel healthy and happy, then we need to boost our endocannabinoid system.
How To Boost Your Endocannabinoid System
Fortunately you don’t need to get high on THC to have a healthy endocannabinoid system. Taking CBD oil, which does not contain THC, has been shown to help the ECS to do its job of balancing us out.
Scientists are not entirely sure how CBD works. Many believe it works by preventing our existing endocannabinoids from being broken down. This allows them to have more of an effect on your body. Others believe that CBD binds to a receptor that hasn’t been discovered yet.
However taking CBD oil is not the only way to improve your ECS or to be more balanced. In fact, scientists are beginning to understand that, to be happy and healthy, the trick is to feed and fire up your endocannabinoid system in a number of different ways.
According to Dr Rachel Knox, a clinical endocannabinologist, there are seven simple habits that we can practice to help our endocannabinoid system work more effectively and for us to feel healthy and happy. These are:
1. Eat Real Food
Eating whole foods like fruit, vegetables and fish and avoiding processed foods is a vital step to providing us with the building blocks to produce our own internal endocannabinioids (chemicals like Anandamide and 2-AG). The more cannabinoids we can produce in our body through eating nutritious whole foods, the more we are able to fire up the ECS and achieve balance.
2. Mindfulness Meditation And Deep Breathing
Training ourselves to become aware of our breathing helps us notice when we have become stressed. Using slow, deep breathing helps us to move out of the stress state. Stress has been shown to hamper ECS function and breathing meditations have been proven to increase production of cannabinoids in the body. For more information about how to learn simple, yet effective meditation techniques please visit Positive Meditation.
3. Pamper Yourself Or Others
Giving or receiving massage or soothing touch has been shown to stimulate the endocannabinoid system. For more information check out Massage Today. At Bristol CBD we sell a high quality CBD massage oil to further boost the ECS.
4. Detox Your Body
Taking time to detox cleanses our bodies and reduces inflammation by ridding us of harmful toxins, which may hamper the normal functioning of the ECS. This can be done gently by intermittent fasting or via juice fasting or water fasting. Patrick Holford offers an excellent guide to detoxing here.
5. Get Better Quality Sleep
Sleeping better has been shown to improve ECS function. According to Project CBD using CBD oil can help us sleep better and avoiding things that interrupt sleep like alcohol, caffeine and watching screens before bed has been shown to aid deeper sleep. Matthew Walker’s brilliant book ‘Why We Sleep‘ explains why sleep is so important and is full of tips on what we can do to get better sleep.
6. Exercise And Move Your Body
Recent research findings show that exercise increases serum concentrations of endocannabinoids. An hour of walking each day and a few minutes of simple stretching or yoga exercises are enough. Many people equate exercise with going to the gym, sweating and pain. But simply moving our bodies and being less sedentary seems to be just as beneficial.
7. Take Good Quality Supplements
Taking multi-vitamins and other health supplements like CBD oil, magnesium, 5 HTP, turmeric and adaptogenic herbs and spices can soothe and tone the endocannabinoid system, thereby aiding restoration. Always ensure you buy supplements from companies with good reviews. If you are looking to buy CBD oil or other supplements make sure you read our recent article ‘How to Buy Safe, Effective and Reasonably Priced CBD Oil‘.
Feel Happy And Healthy – Starting With Baby Steps
It may seem a little daunting to try and master all seven of these habits at once but our team at Bristol CBD have tried and tested these with a few baby steps and we quickly began to notice an improvement. We recently started using a breathing app called Breathe to help us focus on breathing and a Fitbit to count our walking steps. We also started taking more supplements and we stopped watching screens before bed. We even started giving each other massages!
Our anecdotal experiences match the emerging science of the endocannabinoid system – it seems the better we are at taking the time to practice these seven habits, the happier and more balanced we feel.
If you have any questions about how you could incorporate these habits into your own life, please feel free to call us on 07706 031 935 at any time. We are always happy to share our experiences and help people to find the best solution for their own needs.