|Endorphins are your body’s natural painkiller! They are your own natural morphine. So how can you get more of these natural painkillers? Let’s explore.
What Are Endorphins?
The word actually comes from endogenous; from the body and morphine; the opiate pain reliever. They are also called analgesics, which are defined as pain relievers. A common known analgesic is aspirin.
Endorphins are chemicals released in the brain. They affect the same parts of your brain as heroin does. But they are not harmful. Endorphins hook up with neurotransmitters (hormones) and can then give you a feeling of pleasure, well-being and can reduce pain.
It seems to me that all of us would want more endorphins in our brain. How can we stimulate our body to produce more? This is what my research found.
How To Increase Endorphin Production in Your Body
This list is not conclusive. However, research supports that these activities can increase endorphins and therefore possibly decrease pain. And even if your pain isn’t affected, the increase in endorphins in your body will raise your mood to be more positive.
Moderate exercise is a great way to increase endorphin production. You may not work out so extensively that you get a “runner’s high”, but you will still benefit. The key is to get your heart rate up a little.
I know for some of us that almost any exercise is painful, and for others impossible. My heart goes out to those that can’t. For those of us that can, but have pain, I urge you to not sit around all day.
I used to walk, ride my bike, swim, and do weight training. Now all those things hurt. I have to push myself to ride my three wheeler now, and I am doing yoga stretches. Yoga has two benefits; it stretches out tight painful areas and drops some endorphins. So try to do some sort of movement.
Dancing also accomplishes this. And since it is using music, you get a double dose of endorphins.
Listen to Music or Create It
Music is transformational. This is why we listen to it, go to concerts, dance to it, and sing it. I envy you if you play any instrument.
Find a type of music that you really enjoy. I listen to different genres depending on my mood and activity. It really does carry you to a different place, and in so doing, releases those hormones.
Here’s a video that shows the power of music. It’s not about pain, but about how music can deeply affect us. Have a tissue on hand.
Eat Dark Chocolate!
Yes, finally something that we can all agree is good! It does have to be dark chocolate. But studies show that dark chocolate can increase endorphins. Excuse me a moment while I go to get some.
Do you laugh regularly? I hope so. Laughter can also increase endorphins. Find humor where you can. (By the way, don’t watch the news; it causes anxiety.) I try to be with people that make me laugh. I try to make others laugh.
Other sources might be a funny movie, or YouTube clip. Or reading jokes. Make it a point to find sources of humor. And by the way, stay away from people that are negative. They will not help your state of mind.
I have a favorite YouTube video that makes me laugh every time. Here it is.
I welcome suggestions for other laughter sources!
Being with people has so many benefits, and one of them is that it produces endorphins. You may get a chance to laugh when you are with others. Or merely listening and talking can be a distraction from your pain. I believe we are made to be social beings and therefore socializing fulfills a basic need.
In conjunction with this, doing volunteer work also makes you feel better. You are socializing, and helping someone at the same time. Plus it is a wonderful distraction from your pain.
This practice doesn’t have to be done in a lotus position or by emptying your mind. The key is to be aware of your breaths and strive to make them deep and relaxed. You can research some YouTube videos for how to start. I also use an app called Calm. You can click on the link and try it for free. I do not receive any fee for this.
This list is really about self care. Which has become a buzzword lately. But I think it is an important concept. You alone can care for your body better than anyone. That is not to say that you shouldn’t seek help wherever you can find it.
A massage is a wonderful experience. I wrote an article about it. What is the Best Type of Massage for Pain? But you don’t have to get a professional one. If a loved one is available, they can do a simple massage that will make you feel better.
That passion can also make you feel better. Enough said.
There are many ways to increase your endorphin level, and therefore benefit from their pain relieving property. Why not choose one of the activities above and see how you feel afterwards. Let us know in the comments.
Questions are also welcome, so leave those in the comment section also.