Endorphins are chemical messengers in the body.
While experts are still identifying all the ways they work in the body, a 2010 research suggests endorphins play an important part in your body’s ability to manage pain and experience pleasure.
When released, endorphins can help relieve pain, reduce stress, and may cause a euphoric feeling. In short, they can make you feel pretty darn good.
Here’s a look at how to boost them naturally:
1. Get some exercise
The physical benefits of exercise can’t be denied. Its mental health benefits are just as impressive, thanks in large part to endorphins. While you’re likely to see more benefits from more exercise, any amount is better than none. Start your 14-day free trial here.
2. Perform a random act of kindness
Doing something kind benefits you as well as the people you help. By helping another person, you might lighten their physical or emotional load, giving them the boost they need to get through the day.
You’ll generally also feel happier and better about yourself when you do something nice for someone else, since acts of kindness trigger endorphin release. This boost doesn’t last long, but the positive feelings you experience can make you want to keep doing kind things for others.
While most forms of exercise stimulate endorphins, it seems dancing releases more endorphins than typical aerobic movement. Dancing is also more successful at reducing cortisol levels. Since cortisol is a stress hormone, this is another reason that dancing can increase feelings of happiness and relaxation.
Smiling or laughing at something funny can help lift a bad mood and relieve feelings of anxiety and stress. Beyond these benefits, laughing with people you’re close to can also release endorphins. A small 2017 study found evidence to suggest watching half an hour of comedy with a group of friends boosted endorphin levels.
Whether you get together with friends through Zoom, or you simply watch a comedy alone – make sure you find ways to smile and laugh every day.
5. Smell the flowers/oils
According to a 2012 study, lavender aromatherapy seemed to help relieve anxiety in 106 women. A small 2017 study supports this finding, suggesting euphoric essential oil aromas (such as lavender) can lead to endorphin release.
You can try other euphoric oils, including:
- citrus fragrances such as orange, grapefruit, or bergamot
- ylang ylang
However, nothing beats the smell of real flowers. So why not get out for a walk (a healthy and mood-boosting activity in itself), and smell the roses and wildflowers in your neighbourhood.
Dance and exercise are both fantastic activities to increase endorphins. We have put the two together, for an even greater benefit.