The following is a guest post by Johanna Cider of New Zealand. Many thanks to Johanna for her post and for being a wonderful guest here on Life Potentials!
How to Naturally Boost Your Endorphins
Endorphins (which is an all-encompassing term for a variety of neurotransmitters found in our brains) are produced in certain situations, generally as a response to fear or pain; they’re something of a natural opiate. By interacting with receptors in our brains, endorphins provide us with a sense of euphoria or pleasure. We’ve all experienced a good endorphin rush, and while you probably don’t want to resort to illicit means of boosting your endorphins,thankfully there are plenty of easy, natural ways to obtain the same effect. If you like the idea of boosting your endorphin levels naturally, try the following:
As the old saying goes, laughter really is the best medicine. Laughter helps not only to reduce stress hormones but to boost endorphin levels! Laughing can also help you to feel like your problems aren’t as important as you originally thought, and laughing is an easy way to bond with others. Why not make an effort to watch a funny movie or read a funny story next time you’re feeling down?
This one’s probably a bit obvious, but it makes the list because it’s been thoroughly tried and tested. Exercise is great for both your body and your mind, and it’s one of the easiest ways to get an endorphin boost. The term ‘runner’s high’ exists for a reason, but if you’re not a runner, you’re in no way out of luck! Try a less strenuous but equally as satisfying sport or exercise activity like swimming, cycling, or even just fast walking; you’ll still find yourself with a quality endorphin boost. It might also help to bring a friend along next time you hit the pavement or the pool – exercising with others promotes the release of endorphins even better than does exercising alone.
Eat chocolate or spicy food
You have a few delicious ways to boost your endorphins here! If you’re a chocolate lover, it’s worth knowing that there are chemicals in chocolate that have been shown to boost endorphins. The catch is that it only takes a square or two,and these chemicals are only found in dark chocolate, so if you’re more of a milk chocolate fan, it might be worth making the switch (health-wise, dark chocolate is also a better choice than milk chocolate).
If you can’t get enough of those spicy curries or hot sauces, you’re also in luck. Eating spicy foods prompts the brain to respond as it would to pain and release endorphins, but rest assured that you don’t need to go eating whole peppers – a reasonable amount of spice will do the trick.
Volunteer or donate to charity
Giving truly is better than receiving! One study found that subjects who gave money to charity by choice experienced endorphin rushes, but if you’re short on cash, volunteering your time instead will produce the same effect.
Listen to your favourite music
The ability to create music is arguably one of humanity’s most notable achievements. Listening to music can reduce anxiety and improve mood, and if it’s the right music, can also promote the release of endorphins. For an endorphin rush, listen to upbeat music that you know will make you happy. If you prefer to play rather than listen to music, you’re in luck – playing music stimulates the release of endorphins even more than does listening. Yet another music-related activity, dancing to your favourite song is another easy way to bring on that endorphin rush!
Boosting your endorphins naturally is easier than it may sound. Many endorphin-boosting activities are simple and easy to accomplish every day, so why not try them out?
“Johanna Cider is a freelance writer based in New Zealand with a passion for health and wellness. You can read more of her work on her Tumblr”.