How to Stimulate Your Endorphins – The Body’s Natural Opiates

Have you ever heard of “runner’s high”?

It is the euphoric high you sometimes get after a hard workout. Endorphins are responsible for this, and many other positive effects.

Endorphins Are Opiates Produced by Your Body

The name endorphins comes from the term endogenous morphine. Endogenous means that they are produced by your body.

shutterstock_317205041Like other opiates (e.g. medical morphine and heroin), endorphins’ main task is to mask pain. [1] The most well-known endorphin is 18 to 33 times more potent than morphine. [2] It is, however, produced in fairly small quantities.

Endorphins helped early humans escape from lions and other dangers in prehistoric times, because they let you run fast and long without getting overwhelmed by pain.

They gave us a good feeling after spending long hours chasing prey or gathering food, and motivated us to repeat that behavior.

Unlike medical morphine and heroin, endorphins are not highly addictive. The consequences of having, say, a minor exercise addiction are mostly positive.

Endorphins’ Effects on the Brain and Learning

Endorphins help you learn more effectively and to remember what you have learned. In our day and age we can take advantage of this when we want to learn new skills or create new habits.

One study states that:

“Endorphins cause amnesia for extraneous details of a task (allowing focusing on main events) and prevent extinction of a learned task“ [3]

Another study says that:

shutterstock_148700801“endogenous opioids seem to have important effects upon memory.” [4]

Endorphins make your brain more susceptible to change and making new, conditioned responses.

The study “Endorphins in learning” states that:

“A number of learning paradigms, e.g., the conditioned emotional response, preference for signaled shock, conditioned taste aversions, and learned helplessness, were presented in support of this mediation of learning by the endorphins.” [5]

This means that you can stimulate release of endorphins when you want to create new habits.

Endorphins can also postpone (cerebral) aging of the brain and boost your immune system, ensuring that you stay healthy and feel good. [6]

The Feeling of Endorphinsshutterstock_351198734

This group of chemicals is involved in the good feelings you get from a good tasting meal, laughing, meditating, making and listening to music, having sex, getting massages and getting sunlight, among other things. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

Going for too long without endorphins will result in an imbalance and a whole range of negative effects on both mental and physical health.

Learn to stimulate the release of endorphins to boost your mood, health, and well-being.

Follow-up article: Five Powerful Ways to Naturally Boost Your Endorphins

About the author:

Vegard Paulsen is one of the two founders of Global Harmony Crew.

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Read more about their course on Brain Chemicals.
Reference links:

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104618/

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC430793/

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6348097

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2993944

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6250103

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7520295

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6132412/

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19477604

[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908186/

[10] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23089077

[11] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11717387/

[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2954166

[13] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/