Endorphins are neurotransmitters secreted in response to stress and pain. Endorphins also stimulate feelings of pleasure and well-being. If you have ever experienced a "runner's high" you have felt the benefit of these natural pain relievers!
So how can we get our endorphins on without running a marathon or suffering from pain? Here are few activities that can help:
Engaging in a physical activity, such as running, that increases your heart rate will release endorphins. This is a natural response to reduce the brain's perception of pain. Taking an exercise class, going dancing, taking a brisk walk, and even housework can get your endorphins going.
2. Chocolate and Chili Peppers
There is a reason the term "Chocoholic" was coined. With its intoxicating flavor and fragrance, chocolate has been found to boost mood and reduce inflammation. Chocolate also offers a textural experience, as it melts and becomes creamy, giving a velvety mouth feel.
What about chili peppers? The capsaicin in chili peppers triggers pain relieving endorphins meant to help the body handle the heat. And the hotter the pepper, the better the response!
Can we combine the two? The Mexican dish mole contains both chocolate and chilis. And there has been a recent plethora of chocolate bars containing chili.
Massage, as well as other touch-oriented therapies (chiropractic, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture) stimulate endorphin release. Indulging in a massage can leave you feeling relaxed and revived. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of a whole body massage, try a foot massage or scalp massage.
Laughter can also boost endorphins; think of a good belly laugh and how you felt after. Comic relief is a device in literature and film that provides a release for the tension build-up in a narrative. Laughter helps to reduce stress and improve immune functioning. And the dynamic of being with people who make you laugh is a great way to build relationships and keep up the good vibes.
These are just four activities that can release endorphins. What other ways can you think of to get your endorphins on?