Endorphins are natural pain and stress fighters. They are released into the bloodstream to elicit the feeling of euphoria, enhance pleasure, relieve stress, and reduce feelings of pain.
They are one of the body’s “happy hormones” ♡
When you are low in endorphins, you are more likely to feel anxious, depressed, stressed out, and unable to enjoy life or experience happiness.
While physical exercise is the most widely known way to increase endorphins, it isn’t the only way. And that’s a good thing, since most of us will never experience the legendary runner’s high.
But some of the best things in life — like love, laughter, sunshine, and chocolate — increase endorphins just as well.
Let’s see how to increase our endorphins naturally!
Increase Endorphins with Food
Certain foods either contain or encourage the release of endorphins. They have high levels of vitamins and minerals — like vitamin 12, vitamin C, zinc, potassium and iron — that help our brain to release these “happy hormones”. Lucky for us, they also happen to be delicious!
Chocolate is one of the all-time favorite comfort foods. There are several compounds in chocolate that perform this magic. One of them, phenylethylamine, works by raising endorphin levels.
The hot, spicy taste of foods is not, in fact, a taste sensation but a feeling of pain. This causes endorphins to rush in to put out the fire, which produces a feeling of wellbeing.
NUTS AND SEEDS
Ginseng may benefit people who are feeling fatigued and over-stressed and those recovering from a long illness. It may also enhance the production of endorphins, ‘feel-good’ chemicals produced by the brain.
+ANY FOODS YOU ENJOY
Whatever it is –watermelon ice cream, italian meatballs, blueberry french toasts or hotdogs– if you like it, for sure it will make you happy releasing some endorphins.
Increasing Endorphins with Lifestyle
Besides food, there are other lifestyle choices that increase endorphins, and most of them are a lot easier than tough exercise (we must be the luckiest people on earth, right?!)
SNIFF SOME VANILLA OR LAVENDER
Certain aromas can lift your mood by influencing the production of endorphins. For example, the scents of vanilla and lavender.
- To get the endorphin-boosting benefits of vanilla, add a drop or two of vanilla extract to the pot before the coffee brews, light some vanilla-scented candles, or add vanilla essential oil to your bath-water.
- For the lavender’s ones, dab lavender oil on your wrists and temples or diffuse it in the air with an inexpensive device you can pick up at the health food store.
CATCH SOME RAYS
The best known benefit of sun exposure is essential vitamin D formation, but the sun’s ultraviolet radiation also boosts endorphin production.
While you never want to get so much sun that you risk sunburn, moderate amounts of sun exposure can make you healthier and happier in more ways than one.
LAUGH YOURSELF HAPPY
The average child laughs 300 times per day while the average adult laughs only 17 times. And that’s to our detriment since laughter, as they say, is the best medicine (it does boost our levels of endorphins after all)
Don’t really feel like laughing?
It’s OK to fake it. Fake laughter increases endorphins too!
DANCE TO THE MUSIC
Listening to music, especially music that makes you feel joyful, increases endorphins. Even better than listening, grab an instrument, grab a mic, or just get up and dance.
Playing an instrument, singing, and dancing all stimulate endorphin release even more than passive listening.
MAKE TIME TO PLAY
When we become adults we put aside our childish things and, unfortunately, one of these is play.
Playing can reduce stress, exercise your brain, boost creativity, strengthen relationships, and even make you feel younger.
If your main form of entertainment is screen time with an electronic device, turn that thing off and engage in some endorphin-boosting fun instead.
Meditation is one of the best things you can do for your health and happiness. A regular meditation practice reduces the stress hormone cortisol, while increasing endorphins.
But moving meditations — like tai chi, Pilates and yoga — can trigger endorphin release too.
Watch a child or a pet sleep and you’ll see that their belly, and not their chest, moves up and down. This deep breathing from the diaphragm is the way we are meant to breathe.
Breathe in from your belly for 5 seconds and then exhale out for 5 seconds.
Do this for one minute.
This sends a signal to the brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitters endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine.
LEND A HELPING HAND
Helping others activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust — a flood of endorphins.
You can help friends and family, give to your favorite charity, or help out by volunteering.
GOSSIP (It’s OK, really)
While giving to others is an altruistic way to increase endorphins, one of human’s less noble pursuits — gossip — can do the same. Apparently, gossiping is a primitive need that’s essential for our social and psychological well-being.
TAKE A SAUNA
Taking a sauna is a traditional way to relax, detox, and socialize — and now you can add increasing endorphins to the list.
If you don’t have access to a sauna, taking a hot shower can also do the trick.
EXERCISE WITH OTHERS
I promised that you wouldn’t have to exercise to increase endorphin production — and you don’t! But sitting all day is mind numbing and unhealthy, so you should do some exercise anyway.
When you exercise, do it with others. Taking an exercise class or having an exercise partner increases endorphins and tolerance to pain better than exercising alone.
Also, the fun is guaranteed!
Now that you know the ways to boost your body’s “happy hormones”, use them to make yourself happy!
♡ The body’s other “happy hormones” — apart from endorphins — are serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.
DID YOU KNOW your body’s natural pain-killing endorphins, molecule for molecule, are thousands of times stronger than morphine?
Sources Eat Yourself Happy With These 8 Endorphin-Releasing Foods by FLORIE MWANZA 10 Natural Ways to Boost Endorphins Instantly BY READER'S DIGEST EDITORS How to Increase Endorphins Naturally (Exercise Optional) By Deane Alban