Endorphins are naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that reduce feelings of pain, stress, depression and anxiety. Simply put, they make people feel good. Endorphins also reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system, slow down the aging process, reduce the appetite and regulate the production of sex hormones.
Eat chocolate. As a report on the CNN website explains, chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins. Don’t overdo it; a small amount will do the trick. Author Deborah Waterhouse suggests having half an ounce of chocolate, about one-third of a candy bar or three chocolate "kisses" when you want an endorphin boost. In addition to boosting endorphins, chocolate has natural pain killing properties.
Eat spicy food. The capsaicin in chili peppers and many other spicy foods binds to pain receptors in the mouth and nose, which in turn triggers the release of endorphins. Enhance this effect by cooking spicy foods and eating them while hot, as reported in an article on Reader’s Digest website. Eat some hot and spicy chili for dinner tonight or add some hot salsa to your scrambled eggs for tomorrow’s breakfast.
Exercise. MayoClinic.com reports that all kinds of physical activities boost endorphins. Sometimes this is referred to as a “runner’s high” but if you don’t like running, go for a swim, take a hike, go for a bike ride or engage a friend in a game of tennis. In fact, exercising with a friend may help you stay motivated and make the experience more enjoyable, increasing the endorphin boost. Listening to your favorite upbeat music while exercising can also enhance the effect.
Spend time outdoors on sunny days. According to an article in the JAMA Network Archives of General Psychiatry, sunlight increases endorphins and improves mood. Try exercising outdoors for a real endorphin boost. Make sure you drink plenty of water, though, especially on hot summer days.
Enjoy an intimate encounter. According to an article on Reader’s Digest website, not only does sexual activity boost endorphins, it always reduces anxiety and stress, relieves pain and helps injuries heal.
Do something you find exciting. Activities such as bungee jumping, sky diving, zip lining and riding roller coasters stimulate the release of endorphins. Even watching a scary movie can boost your endorphin level.
Kelly Morris has been making a living as a writer since 2004. She attended the College of Mount St. Joseph with a major in social work and minor in women's studies. Her work has appeared in a number of print publications including Caregivers Home Companion, Midwifery Today and Guide.