If you’ve ever experienced the general rush and feeling of vitality after an intense physical workout, you know what it feels like when endorphins are released into your system.
That’s because endorphins are a neurotransmitter released when the body experiences extreme exertion such as pain or great physical effort. Think of them as a sort of protective system for the body when it’s hit with intense strain.
If your the kind of person that can’t wait until the next Ironman Ironman triathlon or who simply enjoys working out each day, that’s a pretty consistent source of endorphins and a good way to trigger their release naturally.
But you don’t need to be a fitness junkie. There are other ways to release endorphins naturally and give yourself that same feeling of intense pleasure.
Here are a few simple and easy ways to release endorphins naturally.
1. Create music
Remember that band you were in as a teen? Okay, maybe that doesn’t apply to you, but it does to a lot of us (don’t judge me).
Well, it turns out, creating music is good for more than just being an outlet to express your teenage angst– it’s a great way to release endorphins too. Go figure.
If you’ve been thinking of picking up guitar or piano lessons, now might be the perfect time to jump into it and give it a try. You won’t just have fun, you’ll literally be making yourself feel better– both mentally and physically– in the process.
2. Be intimate with someone
It may come as little surprise that having sex releases endorphins, given that extreme physical exertion is kind of a requirement to the whole thing.
However, it’s nice to know you have yet another reason to consider sex a comparable replacement for your regular workout.
3. Watch a funny movie
It’s no surprise that laughing feels good.
However, what is surprising is laughing releases endorphins into the body that, in turn, increase your pain threshold (what the evolutionary purpose of that is, I’ll leave you to ponder) and make you feel great in a real biological sense.
Forcing laughter is kind of an unrealistic suggestion. However, I love funny movies and find watching a good comedy to be one of the best ways to cox out laughter on cue.
4. Eat chocolate
Finally, a reason to stuff your face with chocolate.
Believe it or not, eating chocolate has been shown to release endorphins. That’s because cocoa has a substance called phenethylamine, a mood-boosting chemical that helps release endorphins into the body.
5. Or eat your favorite food
Chocolate isn’t the only food that can help you release endorphins. Similarly, research has shown that eating your favorite food can also release endorphins because of the emotional connection we have with the food and what happens when we eat it.
So, go wild. If you’re needing a bit of a mood boost, donuts really are the answer after all (or whatever your great culinary obsession is).
6. Smell lavender
Another easy way to release endorphins, according to a 2012 Journal of Caring Sciences study, is using your sense of smell.
It turns out that sniffing lavender and other aromatherapy can release various neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, that have all kinds of positive effects on the body including reducing anxiety and improving mood.