Ten tips to increase endorphins

You may not be aware of their scientific name, but chances are you have heard people talk about the body’s natural happy hormone. These are known as endorphins, and they are triggered in response to stress and pain. This may sound counterintuitive, but when the body experiences stress or pain, it tries to offset this by producing endorphins designed to make you feel good.

Endorphins stimulate feelings of pleasure, wellbeing, and pain relief, leaving us feeling happier and boosted. While the release of these euphoria-inducing hormones are often associated with the famous ‘runner’s high’, there are several other ways their mood-boosting benefits can be unlocked.

Try these ten handy hints to increase endorphins and feel naturally euphoric.

1.) Exercise

Endorphins and exercise are a match made in heaven. If you’re wondering how to increase endorphins, putting healthy stress on your body by exercising is an effective way to stimulate the production of these mood-boosting hormones. Moving your body increases your heart rate and places stress on your system, causing your brain to pump endorphins to cope with its perception of pain.

However, the natural endorphin high will kick-in at different times and in response to varying exercises depending on the person. From long-distance runs to bike rides, gym classes to home workouts, take the time to experiment with different forms of exercise and durations to pinpoint when your body releases feel-good hormones and you start to feel the natural benefit.

2.) Massage

The release of endorphins can be stimulated through touch-focused therapies, such as massage, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and through chiropractic treatment. These can leave your body and mind feeling rejuvenated and revived after the release of plenty of feel-good hormones during treatment.

3.) Have sex

Not only does being intimate feel good emotionally, but the physical act of having sex releases a flood of endorphins alongside other feel-good brain chemicals. Engaging in regular sexual activity feels good, releases endorphins and reduces stress.

When we feel sexually aroused, several hormones are released in the body at once, including oxytocin, known as the ‘love hormone’. It is this combination of hormones that make us feel deeply satisfied before, during and after sex.

4.) Endorphin-releasing food and drink

It is well-known that indulging in eating chocolate and drinking wine produces endorphins and leads to feelings of bliss and relaxation.

Having the occasional glass of red wine or bar of chocolate can be a pleasurable way to boost endorphins and make you feel good. However, while chocolate and wine are linked to increasing endorphin release, the pleasurable feelings you gain as a result could lead to cravings. Therefore, it is important to eat and drink these occasionally and to adopt a sensible approach to alcohol and sugary food.

5.) Laugh

Nothing can beat a good belly laugh, but the reason it feels so joyful to let out emotions through laughter is because of endorphins. When we laugh, we naturally relieve tension in the body and endorphins are released through our system, making us feel good.

So, whether it’s a favourite comedy sketch, a conversation with your friends or family, or fun with a pet, finding what makes you belly laugh until it hurts will release endorphins and leave you feeling great.

6.) Listen to music

Now you have more than one reason to raid your favourite music collection. By creating music through tapping, humming along or dancing to your most-loved melodies, your brain will release more endorphins.

So, whichever your favourite playlist, turn it up high, tap along and enjoy the feel-good natural high.

7.) Embrace spicy food

Whether you’re a fan of spice or prefer milder cuisine, it is proven that a kick of spicy food leads to your body sensing the fiery heat and releasing endorphins in the same way it responds to pain. Chilli peppers are a well-known endorphin releaser. So next time you’re in the kitchen, why not reach for the chillies and give it a go?

8.) Meditate

Taking the time to relax and focus the mind on meditating triggers the release of endorphins in the body. Meditation and yoga help to increase other feel-good hormones including dopamine and serotonin, leaving you feeling uplifted with a more positive sense of wellbeing.

Ensure you regularly take time out of your day to focus on mindfulness through meditation, as this will have a significant effect on your physical health and your state of mind.

9.) Giving to others

Have you ever done something for someone else and felt a sense of happiness afterwards? This is due to the natural release of endorphins in the brain that follows carrying out a good deed. Whether it is volunteering, donating or helping others, participating in activities like this could activate pleasure centres in your brain, which can lead to increased endorphin levels as well as making you feel good about yourself.

10.) Use lavender oil

There is some evidence to suggest that the essential oil aromas found in items such as lavender oils can lead to releasing endorphins. Not only is lavender a popular and pleasant fragrance, but it is also contained in many aromatherapy products for its calming and anxiety-relieving properties.