If you have been addicted to substances in the past, it is natural to still crave that euphoric dopamine rush at times. A habit of addiction is challenging to break, but a healthy way to prevent falling back into old habits is by replacing them with new, life-giving ones.

For those who desire to fill their life with healthy things but still want to experience that dopamine experience, there’s good news – plenty of healthy activities and habits can help boost your energy naturally and give you that feeling of being naturally high.

What is a natural high? 

A natural high occurs when the brain taps into its reserve of the feel-good chemical dopamine and elicits that sense of feeling “high” without dangerous substances. There is nothing bad about a release of dopamine – the way one goes about getting that dopamine release, however, can be unhealthy (with substance use) or healthy (through natural energy boosters/stimulants). 

Natural highs are inherently less damaging than substance-induced highs for a number of reasons. including: 

  • Dopamine is supposed to be released when the body experiences pleasurable sensations/moments in order to communicate that feel-good sensation in the body – it is part of a properly working reward system
  • The ways you get naturally high do not carry the same health risks or possibilities for addiction the way drugs and alcohol do
  • Natural highs do not pose the threat of hijacking and rewiring your brain function the way substance abuse does – you maintain, and even improve, brain functioning through natural highs
  • Natural highs tap into the brain’s dopamine reserves in proper amounts, while drugs and alcohol consumption force greater, more intense and unnatural releases of dopamine

As natural highs cause significantly less damage to the brain and actually promote overall wellness and mental health, they are important for a well-balanced life.

Ways to boost energy naturally 

There are plenty of natural ways to pursue this dopamine release and increase wellness in the body through increased energy and decreased stress.

Exercise

Exercise has countless benefits, including being a well-known method of losing weight and staying fit. However, it goes further in its benefits as a great way of naturally releasing dopamine. Especially if you exercise in an enjoyable way, the process of moving your body is great for releasing endorphins and other natural, feel-good hormones. 

Some people prefer weight lifting, boxing, and jiu-jitsu as their preferred exercise methods; others prefer lower-impact alternatives like yoga, trail walking/hiking, swimming, or pilates. However you like, make sure you are taking time out of your day to incorporate approximately thirty minutes to feel the fullest extent of the benefits of exercise.

Breathwork

Breathwork comes in a variety of methods that work to promote stress and reduce anxiety. They also induce a natural high and energy boost by helping to calm down anxious thoughts, which are known as energy zappers. 

Box breathing is the practice where you inhale for four seconds, hold for four, exhale for four and hold again for four seconds. It is easy to incorporate into any moment of your day and may help recenter you in particularly intense moments of stress. 

The 4-7-8 method incorporates the same practice of inhaling for four seconds, holding for seven and exhaling for eight seconds. If you practice this a few times a day, you will notice numerous benefits, including better sleep and more manageable emotions. 

Lastly, the Wim Hof breathing method is a video-guided method in which you work through breathing patterns for ten-minute long sessions. These intentionally induce a natural high through timed inhales, exhales and holds. In Wim’s own words, “Get high on your own supply.”

Spend time outside 

Getting outdoors to enjoy the sunshine is an excellent way to boost mental health and energy. Hiking, walking, kayaking, hammocking, having a picnic – the list goes on – are all excellent ways to promote energy and provide yourself with needed vitamin D and fresh air. 

Get a good night’s sleep 

A good night’s sleep is the best way to increase energy. It gives your body the time it needs to physically recover as well as helps to reduce stress and the sense of being overwhelmed. Sleeping at least seven hours a night can help promote overall wellness and increase your energy levels throughout the day, avoiding afternoon fatigue and daily drowsiness.

Manage stress 

Stress is an incredibly effective energy zapper, and increased periods of stress can lead to burnout and even physical illness. Learning to manage stress properly can help you increase your energy levels by reducing the stress hormone cortisol. 

You can reduce stress naturally in a number of ways, including journaling, meditating, yoga, taking time to work on a hobby, crafting, cooking, etc. Whatever brings you a little peace of mind and relaxation, make sure to pursue it a few times each week.

Need more mental health support? 

If you are seeking additional mental health support, such as counseling for improved mental health or treatment for substance use disorders, Real Recovery is here to help. Contact our team of specialists anytime by calling 855-363-7325 or contacting us online.