Addiction negatively affects the brain in many ways, but one of the main changes is the lack of naturally releasing endorphins and important neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin without the use of addictive substances. It is normal for recovering addicts to have to do activities that promote the production of these things. Some of the most popular options are physical exercise, meditation, and massage therapy. Here are 9 natural highs to help support life in recovery.
Exercising is possibly the most common way that those in addiction therapy promote the release of endorphins and hormones. This method has numerous additional benefits as well. Getting in shape, forming healthy lifestyle habits, and providing new goals outside of treatment are some other reasons why exercising during addiction recovery is a good idea. In addition to all of this, specific exercise types reduce certain withdrawal symptoms both during and after an alcohol or drug detox. Aerobic exercise like jogging,swimming, and dancing have shown to be particularly beneficial for recovering addicts.
Frequently practicing meditation has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. It has also been suggested to improve overall mood as well. This is done in a similar way that physical exercise does. Meditating ten minutes or more everyday releases hormones like serotonin and dopamine along with endorphins to create a calming natural high. You also have the choice to combine this method for a natural high with exercise by doing yoga.
Aromatherapy has more positive effects than you may think. For those experiencing insomnia, lavender has shown to be a calming agent that helps with this common withdrawal symptom while also releasing endorphins. Vanilla has a similar calming effect as lavender, but it also has been shown to improve overall mood as well. Incorporating these scents into your daily life is an easy way to help reboot your brain to release important endorphins and hormones during addiction recovery.
Everyone enjoys listening to music, and there is a very good reason for that. Listening to music releases hormones like dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and several others that all make listeners feel good. This is possibly one of the easiest low risk methods of achieving a natural high during substance abuse treatment, especially considering that most people listen to music everyday anyway. “As music therapy has proven to be effective in treating trauma and improving both physical and mental rehabilitations, music interventions are an important component of our program”, says Mat Gorman, CEO of Eudaimonia Recovery Homes.
- Massage Therapy
Massage therapy has numerous benefits whether you get them frequently or not. Like the other methods on this list, human touch releases beneficial endorphins and hormones. As a result, massage therapy has been proven to improve overall mood, help improve sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety. It may be a great outlet for those looking to find ways for reducing muscle aches and pains as well.
- Helping Others
Helping other people in need produces a ‘helpers high’, which increases motivation and improves mood. It is always nice to know that you are doing nice things for others, so this idea may be unsurprising for those who have experienced this natural high already. You can achieve this by volunteering, which also helps with making daily life more productive as well.
It may sound cheesy, but laughter really is the best medicine sometimes. Laughing has shown to release endorphins and make you feel good. Although this may seem obvious, it may just be the mood booster needed to get back on track. Laughter has other helpful benefits that are less well known such as lowering blood pressure, improving cardiac health, and reducing stress.
Talking to and spending time with others naturally makes you feel good. It also combats feelings of overwhelming stress and depression, while also providing a healthy distraction from addiction cravings and triggers. It is never good to isolate yourself, and this is especially true for those in addiction recovery. Reaching out to close friends and family usually helps with improving motivation and overall mood.
- Putting Your Story Out There
Although sharing this personal part of yourself may feel overwhelming, it is a great way to achieve both better socialization and a helpers high. Sharing your story may help others with overcoming their addiction, and this is a unique point of view that few others will be able to share. However, it is important that you do not push yourself too far. If you don’t feel ready to talk about your addiction, then you definitely don’t need to. No one should ever do things that they feel uncomfortable doing when it comes to sharing things about your personal life.
The methods of experiencing a natural high listed above can be very beneficial for those residing at a sober living recovery community. Oftentimes, the brain needs to be ‘reset’ back to being able to release important hormones and endorphins naturally again without the use of addictive substances. The need for a boost to reset this function is completely normal, and these above tips are some of the easiest ways to achieve this.