5 Great Ways To Boost Your Endorphin Levels
What Are Endorphins?
Endorphins are a group of chemical messenger peptides that our body produces internally, or “endogenously,” which is how they got the first part of their name. The second part actually comes from name of the drug morphine, because endorphins act on the same receptors on the brain that opioid drugs do. Mostly produced by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, endorphins are active throughout the central nervous system and work with neurotransmitters like dopamine to drive our reward system. Thus, it can produce a mild-feeling of well-being or euphoria.
Endorphins also have been found to have analgesic or pain-killing effects, as they are our body’s way of giving us the energy to power through pain in stressful situations. They can also work wonders for our mental and physical health.
Higher endorphin levels have been associated with an enhanced immune response, higher self-esteem, better regulation of appetite, and lowered levels of stress and anxiety. Lower levels of endorphins, on the other hand, have been associated with a variety of mental and physical health problems including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, and even addiction.
So while the “healthy high” of an endorphin rush is unlikely to be as powerful as the rush that you once got from using drugs, seeking out activities that will raise your endorphin levels is a great way to help keep your mood and spirits high as you move through your recovery from addiction. Here’s a list of five fun ways you can give it a try today!
1. Get Moving
Have you ever heard of a runner’s high? Scientists have actually found that this well-known psychological phenomenon might be due to a dose of mood-boosting endorphins that are released whenever you exercise!
Any moderately intense form of activity should do the trick, so pick your favorite—if running isn’t your thing, then maybe swimming, dancing, yoga, or cycling will be more your jam. And since social connection can help raise your endorphin levels as well, for a double dose of good spirits, you can attend a workout class or go jogging with a pal!
2. Eat Up
We all know that eating chocolate makes us feel good, but did you know that a boost in endorphin levels is part of the reason why? Dark chocolate has the highest concentration of cacao, the ingredient associated with chocolate’s beneficial endorphin effects, and so will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to boosting your mood. Raw cacao powder is also a good option if you’re looking for something with the same mood-enhancing effect for a lower sugar count.
Spicy foods have also been shown to boost endorphin levels as have some other herbs and spices like ginseng, rhodiola, and vanilla. Some fruits like strawberries, oranges, grapes, and bananas as well as foods like nuts, seeds, eggs, animal proteins, and brown rice can also help you keep your endorphin levels up.
3. Make Time For Some R and R
Giving yourself plenty of time to rest, relax, and recharge should always be a key part of your recovery, and there are a few awesome ways you can use your me time to give yourself an endorphin boost. Massages, saunas, aromatherapy, and meditation have all been found to increase endorphin levels.
Though it isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, acupuncture, an alternative medicine practice that involves puncturing the skin with a series of small needles, can also raise your endorphins levels, likely because the surface injury stimulates your body’s natural painkillers into gear. If you’re in recovery as well as in a relationship, you may also be happy to learn that sexual intercourse can give you a mood-boosting endorphin rush as well.
4. Embrace The Arts
Listening to music and consuming other forms of art that you enjoy can all help increase your endorphin levels. Whether you choose to lose yourself in a good book, take a trip to the theatre, or just turn on your TV, you may also want to remember that laughter has been associated with raising endorphin levels as well—so for extra points, make it a comedy! Playing music or creating art yourself can also boost your endorphin levels, so try taking up a new creative hobby if you’ve been stuck in a mental rut!
5. Connect And Give Back
Last but certainly not least, along with warding off the isolated lifestyle that can foster addiction, spending time with people you love is another way you can boost your mood and endorphin levels. And in what some researchers have dubbed a “helper’s high,” volunteering and doing charity work can help increase your endorphin levels as well.
Giving back is also a great way to pay your experience forward and help you find a sense of meaning and motivation during your recovery, but knowing that there’s a dose of mood-boosting endorphins in it for you certainly doesn’t hurt either!
Explore Sober Living At Reco Institute
Being part of a sober living community like the one we offer at Reco Institute will give you a great head-start on finding the healthy social outlets you need to stay inspired and keep your endorphin levels sky-high during your recovery. If you or someone you love are currently struggling with addiction, call 561-665-5925 today to learn more about how our sober living options and associated treatment programs can kick-start your recovery today.