Laugh it Out!Laughter not only decreases stress, but also helps strengthen the immune system to keep diseases at bay. On an average, children laugh about 300 times a day, as opposed to adults who laugh only five times a day.
Endorphins are natural painkillers released in the brain, that create a positive feeling and elevate our mood. Any negative feeling, be it tension or distress, may trigger the release of these euphoric chemicals. These triggers, as well as the level at which the body responds to the release of these neurochemicals, is different for each person. The time required and the intensity at which each person feels the effect of these endorphins also varies.
For example, some people may experience a 'high' after just 10 minutes of intense physical activity, whereas others may take up to 30 minutes to get the same euphoric feeling. These endorphins create a sense of well-being to lift up our spirits. There are several ways which naturally increase the secretion of endorphins to improve the state of mind, which are given below.
How to Increase Endorphins Naturally
A daily dose of laughter is extremely important for the release of endorphins. Apart from being a stress-buster, laughter changes our perspective towards handling problems, and produces a general sense of well-being. Giggling, smiling, or laughing to your heart's content, are the best medicine and excellent ways to make you happy, positive, and joyous. Therefore, it is ideally said that we should laugh our problems off.
Chocolate has long been considered as a comfort food , thanks to its ability to release endorphins which soothes and calms a person down. According to a research done at the University of Copenhagen, dark chocolate is more filling and helps reduce cravings for salty or sugary foods. Chocolate also helps lower blood pressure and keeps the heart in good condition. However, just a bite or two is enough to reap its benefits. Avoid over-indulgence, or your dentist will be happy to see you.
Consuming Spicy Food
Capsaicin in chili peppers and other spicy foods triggers the secretion of endorphins. It binds to the pain receptors in the mouth, which signals the brain to release more endorphins as a protective response to the burning sensation you get after eating hot and spicy food. The hotter and spicier the food, more endorphins will be released by the brain. This effect of chili peppers on endorphins has been applied for treating certain medical conditions too.
Meditation is an effective way to increase endorphin level in the body. A blissful and peaceful state of mind is attained after meditation. Meditation helps the brain relax, and you experience a trance, which unleashes the natural happy chemical of the body. Meditation calms and soothes the nerves and lowers blood pressure. It makes us mentally more alert and attentive.
Exercise will not only increase the feel-good chemicals, but will also make you look good. Intense physical activity promotes the production of endorphins. This not only lightens the mood, but also offers cardiovascular benefits that keep the heart healthy and improves blood circulation. A group exercise session will give you an additional benefit to boost the release of these natural antidepressants. A Duke University research has concluded that exercise is as effective as medicine, to treat depression.
Certain massage therapies and acupuncture techniques helps stimulate endorphins in the body. They also increase blood circulation in the body, and help relieve pain. Acupuncture is a Chinese healing art, in which needles are used to stimulate the meridian points of the nerves, to release endorphins. The needles have to be properly inserted to feel its proper effects.
Natural sunlight or the thought of a sunny day triggers an endorphin release, and you begin to feel happy. Catching the sun's rays via outdoor activities will give you a double dose of the effects of endorphins, and will improve your mood. If you are worried about getting tanned, then you can apply sunscreen to shield yourself from the harmful effects of the sun. Early morning sunlight is the best, and will also give you vitamin D, which will keep you fit and healthy.
Listen to Music
Listening to music which you love and enjoy unleashes the endorphins in the blood, which has a calming effect on the body. Music is considered by many as a great stress-buster. Listening to relaxing and soothing music can work wonders to improve anyone's mood. Classical, instrumental, and songs that you love, will help you relax and unwind.
Aromas like vanilla and lavender influence the production of endorphins and makes a person feel good. These aromas are thought to decrease anxiety and reduce stress. You can light some scented candles of these flavors, or just dab vanilla or lavender oil on your wrists, to give you the pleasure, and keep depression as well as negative feelings away.
Social encounters and interactions rises the endorphin levels in the body. Going out with friends, watching a movie together, or doing something exciting, will also facilitate the production of endorphins and make you happy. Research suggests that even gossiping triggers endorphins, that gives a warm and happy feeling. The Oxford-based Social Issues Research Council (SIRC) says that, gossiping gives us a natural high, and is necessary for our social, physical, and psychological welfare.
There are various roles that these endorphins play in the human body
. Physical touch, sexual activity, being afraid, watching dramatic scenes, and doing what you like the most, help relieve stress and act as relaxers. This happens because these activities naturally increase the endorphins in the nervous system. They help us feel motivated, optimistic, and full of energy.
So the next time you are feeling stressed or low, don't fret! Just indulge in an activity that you enjoy, to get your daily dose of natural happy chemicals and mood lifters.