If you’ve ever felt that rush of vitality and wellbeing after working out or hiking, you know what it feels like when endorphins get released into your system. Working out is a pretty consistent source of endorphins, but you don’t have to be a fitness junkie to trigger their release. Endorphins are produced mainly as relief in response to pain, but there are various human activities that can also produce endorphin production.
Here are a few simple and easy ways to release endorphins the natural way:
1. Play Music
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a real life cherub by learning to play the harp – now might be the perfect time. Not only will you make yourself feel better – both mentally and physically – but you’ll gain a valuable skill set. Whatever the instrument. Turns out, making music is a great way to release those endorphins. Who knew? Music is also a great outlet for releasing emotion and expressing ourselves without words. So many great benefits!
2. Eat Chocolate
Yes, chocolate really is good for you! Has anyone ever given you chocolate when you were feeling distressed or even emotional? Maybe you even start to crave chocolate when you feel that way. Many of us might believe that the happiness we feel when eating chocolate comes from our strong preference for the decadent treat, but there’s actually a scientific basis for this elation. Not only does chocolate release endorphins, it also contains a chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA) which directly causes a feel-good effect. Now you know what to eat the next time you’re feeling a little low 😉
3. Watch A Funny Movie
We want you to laugh! It feels good, doesn’t it? Laughter really doesn’t just have to come just from watching a funny movie – maybe check out a local comedy club, try out laughter yoga, or volunteer to play at a local animal shelter. To coax out the laughter on cue, a good comedy film generally does the trick. Surprisingly, in addition to releasing endorphins, laughter increases your threshold for pain. The pain tolerance effect is due to the laughter itself, according to a study. Who knew laughing could make you tough?
4. Be Intimate With Someone
Okay, okay – we know this one is a little obvious. Especially given that physical exertion is kind of a requirement to the whole thing. Point is, it’s a comparable replacement for working out on the days you really aren’t feeling the gym. You get to connect with your loved one, get in some cardio, and increase those feel good vibes all at the same time.
5. Smell Lavender or Vanilla
An easy way to release some endorphins is by using your sense of smell. It turns out that sniffing both lavender and vanilla increases endorphins that then help decrease anxiety, depression, and even insomnia. If you don’t have lavender or vanilla on hand, aromatherapy of every kind can release positive effects on the body and improve mood. The next time you bake something, take a couple moments to smell that vanilla and lower that stress…