Maybe you’ve been finding yourself with lower energy than ever after crunching through a long day of meetings and office assignments. Or perhaps you’ve wished for an evening mood boost so you can give your dog that after-work walk she’s always anticipating. If either of these situations sounds familiar, you might be craving an endorphin release.
Endorphins are feel-good chemicals your body makes naturally in response to stressful or painful stimuli. They’re the reason that après-jog feeling has become affectionately known as a “runner’s high.” However, running isn’t the only way to flood your body with endorphins. From enjoying a tension-relieving massage to starting a meditation practice, there are plenty of paths to pursue the natural mood boost that comes from a release in endorphins. Read on for five ways you can increase your endorphin levels in a snap.
Exercise your way to endorphins
From swimming laps at your local pool to curling dumbbells in your garage, there are many ways to get moving and gain that endorphin-related mood boost. However, though that high-intensity sprint series might sound fun, research has indicated that moderate exercise might be best for those seeking an endorphin release. Taking a spin on an elliptical bike is one form of moderate-intensity exercise that can suit multiple lifestyles, providing an easy way to enjoy at-home cardio without the knee strain typical of running or jogging.
Begin a meditation practice
You might be just one “om” away from your next endorphin release. In addition to boosting your endorphins, meditation can be a great way to relax and find inner peace. To the surprise of many marathon-goers, the mood-boosting effects of meditation even matched those associated with running – three-mile jog not required.
Indulge in a massage
Working out those tense knots in your shoulders might have more health benefits than you initially thought. Many types of touch-based therapy increase endorphin levels while relieving stress and chronic pain. So, the next time you make an appointment with a masseuse, take care in knowing that you’re releasing more than just muscular tension by indulging in a massage.
Sample wine or dark chocolate
Dark chocolate and red wine are more than just romantic treats you might bring your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. Eating chocolate or drinking red wine promotes endorphins, resulting in feelings of pleasure and bliss.
Spend some time in the sun
The next time the forecast calls for clear skies, take advantage of the sunny weather with a picnic in the park or even just a quick walk around the block. The sunshine will increase serotonin, produce vitamin D, and flood your body with endorphins. Are you pressed for time? Even just 15 minutes of sun a few days a week can boost your endorphin levels.
Find a way to laugh
Who knew there was a hidden health benefit to bingeing your favorite sitcom? Laughter can lift your spirits, release tension, and flood your system with much-needed endorphins. Some research has even found that anticipating laughter can boost endorphin levels, so next time you find yourself planning a movie night, do your nervous system a favor and make the film a comedy.
Before you go
Whether you find yourself feeling low on energy or simply needing a mood boost, there are many ways to create that endorphin release you crave without lacing up your running shoes. From laughing with friends to beginning a meditation process, there is an activity for everyone craving that natural high.