Your body is filled with natural ways to manage depression and anxiety. What many psychiatrists would rush to medicate is well within your bounds to control by simply altering your lifestyle to encourage the medicinal chemicals in your brain to do their job. While there are hundreds of neurochemicals with untold functions, several have been studied extensively. Provided here are seven of those hundreds, along with advice to unlock their potential.
The most well known cannabinoid is Anandamide, named for a Sanskrit word that means “bliss.” Studies have shown that endocannabinoids, not endorphins, are most closely associated with the “runner’s high.” Running is a terrific way to manage depression by releasing these chemicals.
While dopamine release is associated with dangerous and destructive drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine, it is actually a healthy and natural chemical that is usually released when one sets a goal and achieves it. Write down your goals every morning and make plans to achieve them. Something as simple as regularly flossing your teeth can lead to a healthy feeling of accomplishment.
Oxytocin is released through the process of achieving personal intimacy with someone or something else. It is often associated with romantic attraction, though anything from working out in public to cuddling with a favorite pet can give one a sense of belonging and trust through this chemical. Leave your phone behind for a few hours, find a jogging buddy (even if it’s a dog), and get some real one on one interactions.
Endorphins resemble opiates and are linked to the lack of pain associated with physical exertion and sexual intercourse. Endorphins can be released in an intense workout (such as lifting weights) or in physical intimacy with a close partner. Make activities such as these a priority in life to keep endorphins active.
GABA is a natural means of controlling anxiety. It slows down the rate at which neurons fire and creates a calming sensation. While certain prescription medications such as Xanax (which carries a high risk of dependency) work to increase GABA levels, studies have shown that practicing yoga and meditation naturally increase this chemical.
While serotonin has many jobs in brain chemistry, it is often associated with confidence and a feeling of self worth. Taking chances and succeeding can lead to the positive reinforcement of self esteem, and will encourage you to make calculated efforts to achieve more in your life. Take the first step outside your comfort zone and maintain your confidence carefully.
Adrenaline is most closely associated with “fight or flight,” and is a natural way to motivate your body to achieve enormous tasks. Taking big chances can wake up this dormant chemical and cure boredom by making you fell alive.
It can be seen that triggering one of these chemicals often works in tandem with others. Making the commitment to run with a close friend and practice yoga afterwards works to release almost all of the chemicals listed here. Make it a priority to set such goals and accomplish them on a regular basis.