Natural highs are the only true highs. If you want a pure and lasting feeling of euphoria, find ways to achieve highs on your own without putting unhealthy substances into your body.
We look to outside sources to give us the high, the courage, and the inspiration we want. To get these things we drink alcohol and coffee, we ingest and smoke drugs, and we eat sweets and high-fat foods.
Alcohol provides false courage and a short-lived high followed by the opposite emotions when you’re hung over. Drugs give you an artificial high followed by the extreme opposite when you’re coming down. Coffee gives you a short rush of energy followed by just the opposite feeling. Sweets give you a jolt of pleasure followed by just the opposite as your body crashes from all the sugar.
None of these substances provides a high that you can rely on. And the damage they can cause to your body, psyche, and productivity greatly outweighs the short high not to mention the amount of wasted time in recovery (hangover) afterward.
Natural highs are self-created from within. They are lasting and pure, and they give you greater mental ability, emotional strength, and energy. Alcohol, drugs, sugar, and coffee gradually take these things away.
Wouldn’t you rather learn how to generate natural highs on your own and not have to rely on drugs, food, circumstances, or other people to feel good?
There are many things that you can do to get a natural high. Many of them simulate the release of endorphins in your brain giving you a feeling of euphoria. (Endorphins are brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters.) Here are 12 ways to get natural highs.
1. Be Courageous and Bold
When you do something that you are afraid of a natural high follows. The more courageous and bold the action the greater the high. In other words, the more afraid you are of something the greater the natural high after you have faced it.
Fear causes the release of endorphins in your brain. So part of your natural high comes from your body’s response to fear and part of it comes from the exhilaration you feel after overcoming a major personal obstacle, which also triggers the release of endorphins.
Here’s a great example. Public speaking is the number one fear for most people. What happens when a person faces this fear head-on and delivers a speech successfully? They walk away from the podium with a natural high that lasts for hours and sometimes days! Aspiring public speakers often joke about how fearful they were before and during their speeches. But once it was over, they wanted nothing more than to go right back to the podium and deliver another speech.
The fear of public speaking and the exhilaration of succeeding bring about the release of endorphins. No wonder public speakers want to return to the podium right after completing a speech. They are high and want another injection of endorphins!
I say get those natural highs any way that you can. When it comes to developing courage, you get the high and the rewards of being courageous.
When you exercise vigorously, your brain releases the same endorphins that drugs trick your body into releasing except it is much purer and balanced, and no hangover or depression follows. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. You feel joyful, inspired, and invigorated for hours after the initial rush. And it’s accumulative. The more regularly you exercise, the better your body gets at producing these highs.
Just the anticipation of the high motivates many people to exercise. And it doesn’t take much to bring about this effect. A brisk walk will do it.
Not only will exercise improve your health, increase your energy, and enhance your appearance, but it will also get you high! I don’t see a downside, do you?
3. Make Love
Sexual activity brings about natural highs in three ways: (1) through vigorous physical activity, (2) through emotional excitement, and (3) through orgasm. Each of these causes the release of different amounts of endorphins.
Have you ever noticed how the euphoria lasts well beyond an orgasm? That’s because the endorphins are still flowing.
For obvious reasons, this is one of the best ways to get a natural high.
4. Get a Massage
One of the greatest pleasures in life is in getting a massage. Head and scalp, feet, and hands are particularly sensitive to a massage. It’s not hard to imagine how a good massage can induce natural highs.
A massage can also cause the release of endorphins. This is particularly true with a scalp and foot massage.
Just thinking about a massage, makes my eyelids heavy and my muscles beg for the skillful hands of a licensed massage therapist.
5. Listen to Uplifting Music
Music is a gift. Not only are the sounds pleasing to the human spirit, but the heartfelt message from the performer can also touch our souls.
Play some music that really moves you. I am talking about listening to a particular song or album that inspires you, increases your determination, and maybe even brings you to tears.
When I need inspiration while I am writing, I put on my earphones and play one of the songs that I have saved on my computer. The earphones allow me to listen to music as loud as I want, block out outside noises, and avoid disturbing others.
Listening to music that really moves you also stimulates the release of those lovely endorphins. The greater the effect the music has on you the greater the release of endorphins.
6. Laugh Until it Hurts
Do you have a friend or family member that you laugh with endlessly every time you get together? Don’t you always feel great after you’ve laughed with them for an extended period, maybe until it hurts? Well, part of the reason is that deep heartfelt laughter brings about the release of endorphins too.
Of course, a portion of the natural high is brought about by the joy of spending time with someone you love. The icing on the cake is the endorphins that are released because of your ability to laugh so vigorously together.
How does that old saying go? “Laughter is the best medicine.” When that saying was coined, it probably wasn’t even known that laughter stimulates the release of endorphins. They must have suspected that something positive was going on inside the body.
Look for the humor in your daily life, especially when things get tough. Lift yourself and others up with an endorphin-laced joke rather than a poison-laced cocktail.
7. Eat Healthy Food
Eating healthy food provides an immediate intellectual high in knowing that you’re putting nutrients in your body that will enhance your health and appearance. It also provides a physical high as your body converts the healthy food into a strong and steady stream of energy and a sense of well-being. Your body’s reaction to high sugar, salt, and fatty foods is just the opposite.
Eating chili peppers not only provides a vast array of health benefits, but they also stimulate the release of endorphins. Use them generously in your recipes for your health and for the natural highs that they produce.
8. Create a List of Your Dreams
Create a detailed list of your dreams in your mind. Imagine how you would feel if you were living those dreams right now!
The more vividly you imagine living your dreams in the present, the more intense the natural highs. Thinking about them coming true in the future isn’t nearly as effective. Picturing yourself as already living your dreams is much more powerful.
You might look at this activity as just wishful thinking. Nothing could be further from the truth. The more you can get yourself into the feeling place of having what you want the more you’ll draw those things into your life.
Here’s another way to look at this technique. How much inspiration and energy will you have to accomplish the things needed to achieve your dreams if you are constantly thinking and worrying about the fact that you don’t have them? None, right?
Positive and uplifting thoughts stimulate the release of endorphins as well. With this way of achieving your highs, you’ll never run out of “stuff.”
9. Be in the Present
When your thoughts are in the present, your mind is free of regrets about the past and worries about the future. Once you are completely in the present, a weight is lifted and you’re free to fully enjoy the things in front of you.
The New Thought movement states that what you think about, you bring about. According to New Science, thoughts are energy. Therefore, every thought we have is a creation, good or bad. The only opportunity you have to create your life through your thoughts is in the present. Therefore, all of your power is in the present moment, and not in thoughts about the past or the future.
Staying in the moment and exercising this power produces exquisite natural highs!
10. Take a Walk in Nature
Go to any natural place near your home like a beach, park, or preserve. Before you arrive block out all your cares and worries. This isn’t a time to figure things out. This is a time to be in the present moment and to observe and appreciate the magnificence of nature. No synthetic substance can give you a purer natural high.
The peace that you can experience during these outings can refresh you in a way that provides greater clarity in what’s best for you in your life.
11. Do Something Kind for Someone in Need
Studies have shown that doing something for a person in need causes the release of endorphins in your brain.
I believe it works particularly well when you do something for someone you don’t know because there are no expectations on either side. I served food to the homeless one Thanksgiving day and it was one of the most fulfilling holidays of my life. I walked out of that event totally moved and inspired by what I had done and observed that day.
Even if you just give some change to a homeless person on a street corner, an unexpected natural high may follow.
12. Complete a Difficult Task
When you force yourself to complete a difficult task, an intense feeling of accomplishment follows that provides a natural high. If you can get yourself into the feeling place of how you felt in the past when you finished a complicated job, you’ll have the motivation to complete the new one enthusiastically.
In contrast, the more you procrastinate, the bigger the job seems and the less motivated you become. If a lot of time passes, your concerns can turn to fear and loss of confidence. But once you face the task head-on, your confidence returns, fear disappears, and the natural high is delivered upon completion.
Part of the cause for the natural high is the release of endorphins, which is brought about by the exhilaration of finishing a challenging task.
Successful people rely on the anticipation of this “completion high” to inspire them toward greater and greater accomplishments.
If you look at the pluses and minus of a natural high in comparison to an unnatural high, the former comes out light years ahead.
Come on, let’s get a natural high!