Taking Getting High to New Heights

The natural pick-me-ups that will have you flying through term one

 

Starting back at university has its ups and downs: with housemate reunions comes squabbles over toilet roll, and the long-awaited return of Crisis means those 9am seminars on a Thursday are no longer a distant memory. Come November, deadlines are looming and so a little extra help is needed to get you through the daily grind. Let’s face it, for those of us on a student budget, retail therapy can often do more harm than good (with discounts from Unidays only taking you so far!).

 

 

So, rather than turning to Topshop for your next pick-me-up, listen to science instead...

 

With these simple natural highs, you can harness your happy hormones – or more specifically, neurochemicals serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin – and become the master of mood boosting. No overdraft required!

 

Chocolate is good for you (kind of): Have you ever been told that chocolate encourages the release of endorphins? Well, it’s true! However, for those of you making a healthy start to the academic year (and abstaining from bulk-buying boxes of chocolate) turning to other foods such as strawberries, oranges and grapes will supply the same feel-good rush (minus the after-binge guilt). What’s more, pineapple, banana, kiwis and plums can help skyrocket your serotonin levels, so dust off that fondue and dip into in a melting pot of good vibes!

 

Sex and stroking the cat: Sometimes referred to as the love-hormone, oxytocin is linked to intimacy and is most commonly known for being released before orgasm and during labour and breastfeeding. However, if baes and babies aren’t on the cards, don’t despair: you can count on cuddles with the cat (or dog) for a quieter, less messy alternative. This can be achieved alongside other oxytocin-inducing activities such as using Facebook and having a hot bath – so what choice is there to make?

 

 

Laugh it off or shake it off: Is that a giggle I heard? You have just self-administered a dose of endorphins into your system. On days when jokes just don’t seem that funny, get a boost by going for the burn instead; you can stretch the extra mile by taking your exercise outside and feeling the sun.

 

The academic high: Last but certainly not least, it’s time to look at dopamine - responsible for that feeling of reward and pleasure when you have achieved something. Dopamine is your mental pat on the back – and in other words, the perfect hormone for the tragically work-ridden student to exploit… Brain-trickery is key here: break down your workload into multiple goals and get your dose of dopamine every time one is achieved. So, grab a tick list and go for a regular fix: kudos!

 

 

Next time you need a little help finding the “ups” of student life, don’t let short term stress relief compromise your bank account or your studies. Prescribe yourself these health-promoting pick-me-ups and it will be hard to tell whether you are a natural high-flyer or are flying on a natural high…