We're moving into Autumn, there's less light in the day and on many fronts the world is in difficult times. So how might we keep our heads above water? How can we stay afloat in the rising torrent of human emotion? Well one answer is 'The Endorphin Effect'. Endorphins are chemicals we can produce in our bodies to block negative energy and make us feel positively uplifted and joyful inside. It is endorphins which create the feeling of being in love for example. So how might we generate a greater sense of internal joy and love in our lives?...

It's all a question of choice
Is the glass half full or half empty? In actual fact the glass is always full - its half full of air! Its just an example of choice - how we choose to see things in life and to experience them. We can choose either to attune to the darkness all around us or the light through it.

When we see only the darkness and allow ourselves to become identified with that, here's when our internal trouble begins. For me, this week has been full of potential frustrations: I've had to complete my year end accounts; we're involved in building work at home which doesn't want to go right; the car has just failed its MOT and my parents are flapping about their pension!

These are examples of fairly minor frustrations that can easily take us over. If we allow them to dominate our experience then internally we reproduce chemicals in the brain which flood our bloodstream, invade our bodily cells and create the feeling of internal stress - yes we're actually changing our very cell structure to become stress!

But we can easily prevent this from happening with practice and perseverence. When we begin to contemplate, look for and positively choose the lightness in life, which exists everywhere even in the midst of darkness, then we begin to release other chemicals from the brain - endorphins - which prevent the invasion of negative energies into our cells. Our cells are pumped full of joy and love and we become the experience of that. Now doesn't that sound better?

Recall fond experiences
I remember fondly a holiday I once took not so long ago after I woke up. It was on the island of Majorca, on the northern coast, away from the hubbub, in the picturesque and ancient tiny village called Deia. I didn't have much money so I was camping in a beautiful orange grove overlooking the sea.

I'd visited Deia many times before when I'd been more financially affluent and had stayed at one of the more expensive hotels - Richard Branson's 'La Residencia'. The hotel has an amazing open air jacuzzi nestled into the mountain side overlooking a fabulous panorama. On this particular morning, I'd walked up to the village just before dawn and as I passed the hotel, I wondered if anyone would notice if I sneaked in and had a nifty dip in the jacuzzi (Richard's got plenty to spare after all!).

So I did. And guided craftily by spirit no one saw me. As I sank into the warming waters I quickly began to feel joy and infinite peace as all tension dissolved away from my body. Around the pool were the soft colours of sandstone and as the sun came up over the mountains in front of me, the darkness of the sky began to lighten into a wonderful indigo and then golden orange.

My favoured almond aroma wafted in on the gentle breeze and in the trees all around me, the birds began their morning song, piercing the quietness with their fragile beauty. I was quickly loosing any sense of separation; the healing effects of the water, the vibration of the birds song and the joy of the sun were becoming me and I was becoming them. All tightness had long since disappeared.

As I see it now, I'm looking upwards to the surface of the water and as the golden sunlight shines through, I can see my body becoming increasingly transparent, like a wafer thin film through which the water is gently rippling.

It was at some point after that, it could have been an eternity because sense of time had stopped, I felt what I can only describe as 'liquid gold' begin to flow downwards from the crown of my head and into my chakras. The sense of joy, love and upliftment was beyond words. Tears welled up in my eyes and flowed ceaselessly down my cheeks.

Needless to say its a fond memory that will stay with me all the days of my life. And now, if I find myself in darkness and difficulty, all I have to do is bring my attention to that experience and very quickly similar sensations begin to flood my system. They're not as strong as the original peak experience, but they're powerful nevertheless and they have a deeply uplifting, beneficial and healing effect.

Putting our minds to it
The mind can lead us into all kinds of difficulty but it can be our best friend to. I'm sure, with a little attention and focus, we can all put our minds to it and each recall an experience of similar joy and beauty that deeply moved us. Maybe it was also a favoured holiday? perhaps its the first time we fell in love? or even our earliest childhood memories dancing carelessly through golden meadows? Why not just stop for a moment and reflect................

Its all around us
There are many things in our daily lives that can generate such a positive endorphin effect. Exercise for example, deep breathing and making the choice to notice the simply beauty in life: the fragile innocence of a small child; the twinkle in an old lady's eye; an autumn leaf wafting on the breeze. If we keep applying ourselves in this way, even the seemingly insignificant can help generate uplifting joy.