Release Endorphins

Endorphins are the body’s natural opiates, designed to relieve stress and enhance pleasure. It's common knowledge that exercising releases endorphins, a chemical in your brain that leads to feelings of happiness, even euphoria. But exercise isn’t the only thing thing you can do to release endorphins. Smiling, eating certain foods, and even gossiping can also do the trick. There are many ways to harness our natural endorphins to help life’s problems melt away.


Eating to Release Endorphins

  1. Take a bite of chocolate. Have you ever noticed how eating chocolate seems to give you a mood boost when you’re feeling a little low? That’s because it releases endorphins that help you relax.[1] Chocolate also contains the endocannabinoid anandamide, which mimics the effects of marijuana, although the effect of chocolate is nowhere near as extreme.
    • Choose dark chocolate, since it contains more actual chocolate and less sugar and other fillers that don't affect your endorphins.
    • Give in to your cravings in small doses. Consider taking a chocolate bar with you and having a square when you need a boost.
  2. Eat hot peppers. Cayenne peppers, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, and other hot peppers contain capsaicin, which releases endorphins.[2] Try eating a piece of raw pepper. When the initial fiery pain subsides, you should feel euphoria. If you don't want to have to deal with the pain to reap the pleasure of capsaicin, sprinkle a little cayenne pepper on your food for a milder boost in mood.
  3. Have some comfort food. Helping yourself to a bowl of pasta with cheese, ice cream or another carbohydrate-rich comfort food releases endorphins. People turn to these items during stressful moments because they really do make you feel better.
    • You can enjoy comfort food without going off your diet. Try a bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal with a little honey and milk stirred in, or a plate of red beans and rice. You'll benefit from the carbohydrates without suffering from the consequences of eating refined carbohydrates.
    • To elevate your mood even more, try pairing two endorphin stimulators together. Put some chocolate chips in your oatmeal, or add hot cayenne to your dish of pasta.
  4. Take ginseng. This herb has been shown to enhance the production of endorphins. It's a popular choice among athletes who want to make the most of the endorphins their bodies already release during exercise. Try incorporating a ginseng supplement into your daily routine.
  5. Smell vanilla extract. The scent of vanilla has been shown to stimulate the production of endorphins. Try adding a drop to your coffee, or stirring some into your yogurt. It's the smell, not the taste, that affects your endorphins, so be sure to take a deep whiff.
    • You can get the same benefits from smelling a vanilla-scented candle, lotion or essential oil.
    • Lavender has similar properties and is also shown to stimulate endorphin production.

Connecting Socially to Release Endorphins

  1. Find more reasons to laugh. It's an everyday, immediate way to give yourself an endorphin rush. The act of laughing stimulates the production of endorphins and helps you feel good instantly. Laughter helps to relieve stress and has many other physical and emotional benefits. [3]
    • Laughing has so many therapeutic benefits that some people practice "laugh therapy" to schedule in some healthy laughter as often as possible.
    • Sharing a joke with friends or finding something genuinely funny is the best way to make the most of laughter. Go for a deep, belly laugh that takes over your whole body.
  2. Smile, but make sure it’s a real one. True smiles, called Duchenne smiles, result in the production of endorphins, giving your mood a boost.[4] A Duchenne smile is one that engages your entire face, including your eyes. It's almost impossible to fake, and it only happens when you're really feeling happy.
    • A smile that engages just your mouth, and not your eyes, doesn't have the same beneficial effects.
    • To boost your mood with a smile, try looking at pictures that make you smile, or talk to a person who makes you happy.
  3. Give in to gossip. Studies show that gossiping stimulates pleasure centers in the brain and releases endorphins. Scientists believe that since we're social animals, and gossip developed as a way to stay connected, and we're rewarded for gossiping with an improved state of mind.[5] Get together with people and talk about your friends and family.
    • Remember that gossip is the act of talking about other people, but it doesn’t have to be negative in tone. Just updating your mom on what your brother has been up to, or cracking jokes about your uncle's antics, is a way to strengthen family bonds and improve your mood.
  4. Be open to love. That feeling you get when a loved one walks into a room is the result of a mini flood of endorphins.[6] Adding more love to your life is a great way to improve your happiness level. It's not something that will happen right away, since love takes awhile to blossom, but if you put your mind to developing closer relationships you'll end up reaping the benefits. This is true of both romantic love and platonic love.
  5. Have more sex. Being intimate with someone releases endorphins that make you feel great. You have the combined feeling of love plus the benefits of physical touch and the endorphin rush of having an orgasm. Having sex will boost your happiness right away.
    • Having an orgasm on your own works, too. When you orgasm, endorphins are released into the bloodstream, immediately improving your mood.[7]

Exercising to Release Endorphins

  1. Do any kind of exercise. This is a quick, effective, and long-lasting way to increase your production of endorphins. All types of exercise cause endorphins to be released into your bloodstream, considerably improving your mood.[8] While the famous "runner's high" that marathoners feel is a worthy prize to reach for, you don't have to be a seasoned athlete to reap the benefits of exercise. You can release endorphins by doing any of the following activities:
    • Walking, hiking, jogging, biking, or swimming
    • Team sports like softball, basketball and soccer
    • Gardening, yard work, cleaning
  2. Try a group exercise class. Pairing physical activity and social connection can stimulate extra endorphin production. When you're doing something with a group of people, the energy level is higher and more endorphins are released. Try signing up for group class in one of the following activities:
    • Dance of any kind
    • Zumba
    • Kickboxing, karate or another martial art
    • Pilates or yoga
  3. Try daredevil activities. For a real rush, try activities that stimulate your “fight or flight” response.[9] While it's not practical to think of daredevil activities as an everyday way to boost your mood, it's something to keep in mind when you're looking for an exciting new activity to try. Here are a few daredevil activities that'll give you a rush:
    • Skydiving
    • Bungee jumping
    • Hang gliding
    • Roller coasters


  • There is no limit to how happy you can be. You'd be surprised. Just keep smiling.
  • Do an act of kindness; instead of wasting time in being sad, do something that can make your family proud. You'll make yourself, along with everybody else, feel good for a few moments.
  • Try going out to a rich restaurant and treating yourself with Get a New Favorite Food.
  • Sunlight is another source that produces endorphins.


  • Remember to take all these methods in moderation or else these will bring more mishaps than endorphins!

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