Part of addiction recovery is learning how to appreciate “natural highs” in life again. Believe it or not, people don’t need substances to achieve a burst of good feeling and peace. Instead, living healthy lifestyles can give people extra energy, alleviate depression and anxiety, and make people more determined to be productive and achieve their goals.
These highs may not be as explosive as drugs and alcohol, but with a disciplined and routine practice, the natural highs from having self-worth, a greater appreciation for life, and mental security can be better than anything else substances can give. People in recovery get natural highs because they feel human again and that’s the greatest feeling in the world.
So, if you want to know how you can achieve some fantastic natural highs, try doing this:
Eating Healthy and Delicious Food
Whether you’re doing the Natural High Diet or Whole30, cutting out processed food, grease, and added sugars is beneficial to your body and will help you boost both your energy and your metabolism. Maintaining good nutrition is essential for balancing hormones, energy levels, and blood sugar, which if monitored, can make you wake up in the morning feeling rested (what a thought) and ready to start your day.
While eating dessert and junk food might give you a sugar high for a moment, these types of foods should be kept at a minimum to avoid building up a sugar addiction in recovery. The fact is, these foods do more damage than good for your body and lead to depression, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, among other physical conditions.
Soaking Up Some Sunlight
Take time out of your day to bask in some sunlight (with sunscreen!) as daily natural highs. Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, which helps people regulate calcium and phosphorus intake. Vitamin D also allows people to maintain healthy bones while also protecting us from a number of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
With so many people cooped up inside on their computers, phones, or watching television, there’s too much blue light and darkness surrounding their worlds. Get outside! Enjoy a walk around your neighborhood, go to the beach, take a bike ride—do something outside, and remember that the sun is the source of many natural highs.
Exercising to Release Endorphins
You might have heard of a “runner’s high” or had to endure people really into CrossFit talk about how you should really try out CrossFit. It’s no joke; it’s not something people tell themselves so they keep exercising. During and after a good workout, particularly for aerobic and cardiovascular activities, the brain shoots out endorphins and adrenaline, which is why gym instructors are always urging their clients to “push through the burn”.
You don’t need to experience endorphins from exercise after anything intense either, especially if you are not used to routine exercise. A brisk walk, light yoga, or swimming can all achieve the type of natural highs that result after your body warms up and prepares to be active. Consult your physician to determine what types of exercise may be good to start with if you’re not as active to avoid injury.
Experiencing the Beauty of Nature
Whether a person is or isn’t the outdoorsy type, it’s difficult to deny that our home planet in its natural, undisturbed state can be quite beautiful. Taking some time to leave behind the hustle and bustle of modern civilization to enjoy the serene scenery of nature can instill feelings of awe and wonder as well as be incredibly relaxing.
Going into the untamed wilderness can really put one’s place in the world into perspective. The humbling experience really shows a person how small he really is compared to the entire planet, the solar system, and even the galaxy. And without the distraction and stress caused by ringing cell phones, unanswered emails, and traffic, a person can simply enjoy nature and be at peace.
Physically, meditation lowers blood pressure, reduces tension and stress throughout the body, and improves breathing and circulation. In the brain, meditation helps individuals develop an enhanced cognitive capacity, better concentration, and fewer feelings of anxiety and stress.
This is because meditation triggers a release of endorphins in a similar manner as running and eating. While this would seem to be contradictory—both strenuous and relaxing activities can cause a release of endorphins—research has indicated that the calming aspects of meditation are what activate endorphins, which activate the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, thus triggering natural highs.
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One of the lessons learned in addiction treatment is that it’s possible to get natural highs, but sometimes it’s just a matter of remembering what they feel like. Getting natural highs from self-accomplishment, self-respect, and the smaller things that make up this beautiful world can feel greater than what drugs and alcohol do to a person.
If you or a loved one need addiction treatment, call Ocean Breeze Recovery’s 24-hour helpline at (855) 960-5341 and one of our agents will assist you in starting your recovery as soon as possible.