First kisses. Scenic drives. Extreme sports. There are plenty of moments in life that make us feel ecstatic, untouchable… high, even. People achieve this feeling in a number of ways, both natural and unnatural. The latter typically works by altering the brain’s chemistry, boosting feel-good dopamine levels so that the brain’s pleasure center is strengthened. Unfortunately, though, these types of highs eventually alter the brain’s ability to feel the same euphoria without help. That’s why we’re focusing on natural ways to get happy — and below are 10 ways to do just that.
10 Natural Ways To Boost Endorphins and Get Happy
Exercising can cause your body to release a ton of endorphins — that’s why so many runners report feeling a “runner’s high” after a particularly long, intense, or otherwise satisfying race. If you prefer a slow-and-steady workout, try an hour-long resistance-training session. After 60 minutes, you’ll start feeling good without over-exerting.
Laugh a Lot
When’s the last time you laughed so hard that you cried? Researchers have found that a good guffaw can release a burst of endorphins, and these endorphins can have unbelievable effects on the body. One study revealed that depressed subjects felt better or even cured after watching a laugh-inducing stand-up comedy routine.
Find Fresh Air
It turns out that we spend so much time inside that simply spending time in nature can cause us to experience an endorphin-fueled rush. Ditch your digital devices and head oustide. Take a hike, stroll along the coastline, or simply sit under the branches of an old tree. You’ll feel energized and refreshed all at once.
Exercise with Others
Interestingly enough, working out with a group can make you feel even better than working out alone. That’s because everyone in the class will share a heightened endorphin boost as you finish a tough workout together.
“Exercise” with Others
Another great way to flood your body with endorphins typically occurs in bed: sex. You know it feels great, but there are plenty of scientific reasons as to why. Sex causes your body releases an intoxicating combination of prolactin, oxytocin, dopamine, and phenethylamine. Now, THAT is a natural high.
Play with Sharp Objects
Let me rephrase that: let professionals play with sharp objects to your benefit. Acupuncture is said to release tension from the nervous system and boost the flow of endorphins. Interestingly, researchers have also found that those who go into an acupuncture session with an open mind are more likely to feel good afterwards.
Nap It Out
As you likely know, you feel great after a good night’s sleep. What you probably don’t know is that the dreams you have while you’re asleep have an amazing effect on your body. Some experts believe that your body could be releasing a tiny bit of a psychedelic compound that gives you these visions and leaves you feeling like a million bucks.
Fall in Love
Easier said than done, but falling in love is one of the best ways to feel like you’re on top of the world. A dozen different areas of your brain light up when you start to fall for someone. That probably explains why you feel countless emotions when you’re with the object of your affection.
Jump Out of a Plane
This one might seem a bit extreme, but that’s why they’re called “extreme sports.” Your body knows you’re in danger and your bloodstream is flooded with the feel-good substances with which you’re now acquainted: dopamine, adrenaline, and endorphins. The bliss you feel because of these factors is why so many people become “adrenaline junkies.”
Let Them Eat Chocolate
When all else fails, you always have chocolate. No need to find a life partner, hang out outdoors, or bungee-jump off of a cliff: all you need is a bite of the good stuff to feel, well, good. That’s because your body’s supply of serotonin is increased when you know that there’s a delicious piece of chocolate on the horizon. So, next time you’re contemplating a piece of chocolate on a bad day — or on a good one — there’s no reason to say no. Dig in!
Featured image source: Jonathan Emmanuel