I used to love the buzz I got from alcohol.
I was hooked on the sugary rush those first few drinks delivered; they seemed to give me a boost. They made me feel good… for a while.
When I was drinking, it was hard to imagine that anything else could do quite the same job. But that’s the thing about alcohol – it messes with your head.
When you get into the habit of drinking too much, it’s easy to forget that there are natural highs out there. Healthy highs that will give you the boost you crave, without making you feel like you’ve been run over by a bus afterwards.
When we take good care of our bodies – and we stop drinking a toxic, mind-altering poison – we can tap into the natural, internal, genuine highs that the world provides us.
Here are 4 ways to get a natural buzz:
Move your body
Have you heard of a runner’s high? When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These feel-good chemicals are sometimes referred to as ‘natural morphine’ because they spark a positive, euphoric feeling. They help you hit the reset button naturally, instead of relying on wine.
The good news is that you don’t have to work out, or go on a tough run to boost endorphins – dancing, gardening or a brisk 30 minute walk all count too. It’s a win-win, because regular exercise doesn’t just make you feel good, it helps you look good and stay healthy too.
If you can find the time to drink (and recover from drinking) then you can find the time to exercise.
Listen to great music
When we listen to music we love, our brain releases dopamine – a feel good chemical that puts us in a great mood. That’s why listening to familiar songs can overwhelm us with positive feelings; we feel ‘high’ because our bodies are experiencing a physiological reaction to the music we love.
Start experimenting with different playlists – listen to music on your commute home and work out what makes you feel good at the end of a tough day. Think of it as trying to ‘reset’ before you walk through the door.
You could also drink some water or green juice, because feeling hungry, tired or sluggish will increase your cravings. Or listen to music whilst you exercise at the same time!
Get outside more
When I think back on some of the times I drank the most, they were also periods when I spent very little time in nature. I moved from an air-conditioned office, to my car, to home. I even exercised indoors. I was spending way too much time surrounded by concrete, computer screens and artificial light. No wonder I felt drained.
In sobriety, I’ve found nature to be one of the most reliable boosts there is. Spending time in forests, gardens or parks makes me feel better, mentally and physically. Just look at this picture! I took it during a walk this morning. Relaxing or what?
If you don’t live in the countryside, you can still seek out green spaces. One study found that taking a walk in a park helped to ease brain fatigue. So, yet another reason to take a proper break at lunchtime, or go for a walk at the end of the day.
Laughter releases feel-good endorphins into your system. It relieves tension, helps us bond with others and has a relaxing effect on the whole body. So try and spend more time with people who make you laugh, or watch a funny movie or read a silly book.
Comedy podcasts are my personal favourite – they’re a really good, end-of-the-day treat. They certainly make the daily commute more entertaining. And who doesn’t want to arrive home with a smile on their face?
The most important thing is to keep experimenting!
Here’s the biggest hurdle you’ll face with all of this: keeping your mind open to the idea that other stuff can give you a natural high. Alcohol creates artificial highs and crushing lows. When you’re locked in that boozy cycle, it’s easy to dismiss other ideas or write them off as things that ‘won’t work for me’. (I know this because I’ve done that.)
But when you really start looking, you’ll find there are lots and lots of ways to get a sober high at the end of the day. In this blog I’ve mentioned the four things that I do most often – but I haven’t even talked about aromatherapy, gratitude practice, meditation or massages. The list is endless!
I’d love to hear your ideas.
What works for you? What do you rely on to get a natural high or a boost at the end of the day? Please let me know in the comments 🙂
Have a great week!