Exercise naturally releases endorphins into the body. Exercising 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week, can produce beta-endorphins that help improve mood, increase feelings of pleasure and reduce overall body aches and pains. Exercise such as running, dancing, weight-lifting, gardening, walking, swimming and a variety of other forms of physical activity are all helpful. Simply choose the activity that you like and get moving.
Laughter has been shown to reduce stress hormones and produce beta-endorphins. Even the anticipation of laughter works. Attending a comedy show, reading the comics, or finding other ways to incorporate laughter into life is an effective, healthy and low-cost way to release endorphins and feel good.
Aromatherapies can be very effective in releasing endorphins in the body naturally. The sense of smell is one the most powerful human senses. Stimulation of scent causes immediate changes in the body, including heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and brain activity. Inhaling specific scents can activate the release of endorphins as well as other neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine to cause immediate changes in mood, pain levels, stress and anxiety. Some commonly used scents include vanilla, jasmine, sandalwood and lavender.
Food can also release endorphins naturally. Chocolate, your favorite food, spicy foods and foods high in antioxidants — which can help fight free radicals that can affect mental health — have all been shown to activate the production of endorphins at varying levels. Additionally, foods containing omega 3s and other “good” fats help produce endorphin-promoting hormones called eicosanoids. But be sure to stay away from highly processed foods that can interfere with brain chemistry and function.
Human touch, especially hugs, can release endorphins as well as a chemical known as oxytocin, which helps improve bonding, social interaction and lower stress responses. So rather than give your friends a hearty handshake when you see them, why not go in for the hug and get a dose of natural feel-good?
Sex, or more specifically orgasm, also stimulates oxytocin and endorphin release.