Feeling Down? 10 Drug-Free Ways to Boost Endorphins
When you’re living sober, you need to find other ways to enjoy your life and improve your mood. Try these great ways to boost endorphins.
Committing to a sober lifestyle is hard, there’s no doubt about that. Recovering from drug addiction is a life long journey. Some days will be a lot harder than others.
One of the most difficult things about recovering from drug and alcohol addiction is finding things that can make you feel happier when you’re having a down day. Other people (and the old you) may turn to drugs or alcohol as a crutch when feeling down.
But there are much healthier ways to boost endorphins and feel happy, even on the more difficult days. Read on for some healthy and drug-free ways to feel happier every day.
Research shows that regular exercise actually eases the symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is because exercise releases endorphins that lift your mood for the rest of the day.
Have you heard of getting a “runner’s high”? This refers to the elated feeling people get after going on a nice run. It literally feels like you’re experiencing a high because you are.
Try going on a run a few days a week and see how it changes your overall mood. Also, the next time you’re feeling especially down or stressed, try going on a run to release the tension instead of staying in and getting even more upset.
If you’re new to working out, start out small so you don’t get discouraged. Here are some great exercise apps that will help you along your journey and encourage you to stick with it!
Yoga connects your mind and body and is a great way to reduce stress and release endorphins naturally. Yoga teaches us to stay calm, relaxed, patient and focused. These skills are helpful when we are faced with stressful situations.
If you practice yoga and you’re experiencing a stressful event, you’re more likely to step back, digest the situation, and act in a positive way. This is a great alternative to acting reactively and impulsively.
Start your days off with twenty minutes of yoga to boost your happiness and prepare you for the events of the day.
Here are some great yoga apps to get started with. Youtube also has some wonderful yoga videos you can try as well.
Meditation allows us to let go of any negative thoughts and feelings that are occupying our mind and causing us pain. When you meditate, you’ll acknowledge these harmful thoughts and release them, allowing you to move on.
By practicing meditation each day, you’ll become a much happier, more positive, and easy going person.
It can be difficult to get into meditation, which is why people tend to give up on it after a few tries. It’s important to stick with it, even if you’re having a lot of trouble focusing.
Meditation takes time and practice before you start seeing results. But when you do, your mental health will improve and you’ll feel much happier day-to-day. Try meditating first thing in the morning, or after a long day of work (or both).
There are some really great meditation apps that are made for people just getting started with meditating. Try one out and stick to it for at least two weeks and see how much your focus and mood improves!
4. Decrease Sugar and Caffeine Consumption
You may need to start making sacrifices in your diet to help keep the chemicals in your brain more level, to reduce any negative mood swings. Two things that can cause mood swings are sugar and caffeine.
Both sugar and caffeine cause a spike in energy, but that spike is short-lived and followed by a decrease in dopamine levels. This is why we crash after having a morning cup of coffee or eating a lot of sugar.
You don’t have to completely eliminate sugar and caffeine from your diet, but be more conscious of these things. Try to avoid foods with added sugars and stick with fruits if you’re craving something sweet.
If you need your caffeine every day, try to avoid coffee and black tea, and opt for green or herbal tea. Green tea provides plenty of energy and improves your mood, but doesn’t make you crash as coffee does.
The feeling of giving back and helping your community is like no other feeling. Volunteering gives you a deep sense of satisfaction because you’re making a positive impact on others.
Research supports the idea that helping others makes us happy by releasing endorphins. Giving to others actually activates the same part of our brain that eating good food and having sex activates.
You can try something small like volunteering once a week at a homeless shelter or animal shelter. Or, you could give back in a more drastic way by dedicating your career to giving back. You could start working for a non-profit organization.
6. Eat Foods That Boost Endorphins
Certain foods can actually release endorphins in your brain and lift hour mood. If you’re a chocolate lover or you’re into spicy foods, you’ll love what’s coming.
Dark chocolate releases endorphins that which lead to pain relief and pleasure. It also is healthy for your overall health. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and reduces inflammation, blood pressure, and bad cholesterol.
Spicy foods actually cause us pain due to the heat of the foods. But this pain is offset by the body’s reaction to the pain, which is to release endorphins! That’s why people enjoy eating spicy foods-your brain is literally rewarding you for eating spicy things.
7. Take Supplements
Supplements are important for our overall health. But some supplements are especially important for mental health, happiness, and well-being.
There are actually quite a few supplements linked to happiness, but two of the most important supplements are magnesium and vitamin D because humans are often lacking in these necessary vitamins and minerals.
Magnesium is a mood-stabilizing mineral and also eases stress. If you find yourself having trouble dealing with stress, leading to mood swings, start taking magnesium every day.
If you work indoors all day or live in an area with little sunlight, you’re probably lacking in vitamin D. This is actually what leads to seasonal depression. So if you aren’t getting enough vitamin D, it’s time to start taking a supplement to boost your overall happiness.
8. Get the Right Amount of Sleep
You should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. If you aren’t sleeping enough, this could lead to decreased mood the next day. If you sleep too much, it could also lead to decreased mood and energy.
Something as simple as getting a good night’s sleep can increase the release of endorphins and leave you feeling great the next day.
Getting plenty of sleep will also help your overall mental and physical health. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, look into all-natural sleep aids to help promote a good night’s sleep.
9. Have Consensual Sex
Sex releases a ton of endorphins and can help people become happier when they’re feeling down. Sex can help combat depression, anxiety, release stress, and increase dopamine in the brain.
In addition to sex releasing endorphins, there are also a ton of other health benefits associated with having sex.
Of course, make sure you practice safe and consensual sex!
10. Surround Yourself with Positive and Happy People
Try to surround yourself with friends and family that are positive, happy, and supportive in your sober living lifestyle. Being around people that have a positive outlook on life can have an incredible impact on how you view the world.
Have you heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine”? This phrase is actually true because laughing release endorphins in our brain and makes us feel happy. Be around people who make you laugh and smile, and there will be no shortage of endorphin release for you.
If you have lost contact with loved ones while battling addiction, try to rebuild those relationships. Having a strong support system is vital on the path of recovery and staying sober.
Use These Tips to Get Through the Tough Days
When you’re on a sober journey, you will undoubtedly have days that are more difficult than others. But by doing something as simple as going for a run or eating chocolate, you can boost endorphins and feel happier.
If you or someone you love is still battling addiction, please contact us today to learn more about our recovery programs.