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How Our Brains Manufacture Morphine-Like Chemicals Called Endorphins

Updated on August 12, 2016
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James Ranka, more widely known online as Copywriter31, earned two BA's - one in Mass Communications and the other in Music Performance.

When I Discovered Morphine Ecstacy

During my sophomore year in college, a problem developed inside my esophagus . . . I had difficulty swallowing food. The problem became more severe as the year progressed and I admitted myself to a hospital for tests.

Because my food intake was physically limited, I skipped meals and that led to debilitating headaches—one of which I developed the first night of my two-day stay in the hospital.

The head pain was so severe, a nurse came in to my room and poked me with a needle. I had no idea what the medicine was named, and I was in too much pain to ask.

Following the needle jab, I immediately felt an all-encompassing warmth. Within mere seconds, my headache pain was totally relieved.

I then experienced the most incredible feeling of well-being, safety, and relaxation accompanied with euphoria beyond description.

For what seemed an eternity, these feelings intensified, until I finally and peacefully felt the sandman's sleep-inducing gold dust cover my being. I later discovered the shot contained a hefty dose of morphine.

Upon awakening, my first thought was, "I now see how people get hooked on this stuff."

The Search for Natural Euphoria

No, I was never a morphine addict—nor did I have any desire to do drugs. Rather, I began researching ways the human body could naturally manufacture its own "morphine", aka endorphins.

Following my hospital stay, where I was pronounced very healthy, (diagnosis--stress) I became a true health nut:

  • I eliminated sugar, white flour and processed foods.
  • I began running 6-10 miles/day.
  • I began a weightlifting routine.
  • And I voraciously read any and all books I could find relating to human health and well-being.

Once the sugar withdrawals and the exercise soreness went away, I noticed that I was always in a good mood, despite occasional and normal life setbacks. My energy levels skyrocketed and I slept like a 7 year-old kid with no need, nor desire for pills.

I continued on this healthy path for many years . . . well into my late forties, and
then. ...

Tragedy Strikes

Imagine, as a parent, the worst possible scenario that could involve your child's welfare. If the picture of death came to your mind, in my opinion, you are 100% correct. Nothing compares with the helpless, hopeless and mind-boggling depths of despair a parent feels upon hearing the news of a son or daughter's early, untimely death . . . and I was no different!

My beautiful daughter, Kasey, was 29 years old when she left this world for an eternal place on November 5, 2008.

Approximately 6 months later, my younger brother died.

Following these events, I sank into a deep, inconsolable depression lasting years.

  • The search for endorphins ended
  • The exercise stopped
  • The feelings of well-being halted
  • Life held no meaning for me

I turned to unnatural substances for false comfort. This unfortunate choice nearly corrupted my health and ruined my professional career.

I became an overweight, out-of-shape, very irritable and unfriendly person. I suffered with these unhealthy conditions for 3 solid years.

Father Time to the Rescue

The adage, "Time heals all wounds," contains partial truth. I am witness to that fact, because in November of 2011, I could sense the overwhelming waves of darkness begin flowing to a mythical ocean, drowning my depression under the healing, outgoing tides.

I remembered the books, the research and the physical activity that once soaked my brain with endorphin baths. Very slowly, yet faithfully, I eased back into exercise mode.

  1. I joined a local gym and began using that facility on a daily basis.
  2. I revisited my trusty and healthy food choices.
  3. I returned to life as the endorphin highs overtook the stagnant, depression-causing chemicals that had set up unwanted residence in my brain!

What Does This Mean For You?

The formula for achieving the natural endorphin high is a simple one:
Regular exercise + healthy eating choices = endorphin nirvana.

That's it.
That's all.

Most any relatively healthy man or woman can enjoy a solid state endorphin flow by simply following the above mentioned formula.

The diet industry has ingrained the false belief that YOU NEED THEM!

Collectively, these diet scams rake in BILLIONS of dollars convincing you that losing weight and enjoying the intense pleasures that endorphins give as you exercise on a regular basis is impossible.

Read closely: ALL TV diets are a waste of time and will do nothing but cost you a ton of money.


The living organism [ . . .] is alive because it moves.

You think too much!
Get up and move!

Movement makes you feel alive and is a contributor to endorphin creation.


  1. Strengthens the most vital muscle in your body--the heart.
  2. Produces deep breathing and clears your lungs.
  3. Sharpens your thinking skills.
  4. Stimulates the endocrine glands.
  5. Produces energy and a feeling of well-being called the endorphin high.
  6. Gives you the natural ability to relax.

So, on what are you waiting? You have reached the end of this Hub now, so get off your duff and MOVE! If you've been sedentary for a long period of time, start slowly and build up gradually.

Learn how to feel.

At first, you will need to force movement, but eventually, your body will tell you when to move. Listen to your body, feel the joy of movement and feast on the pleasures that natural endorphins will bring so long as you stay the movement course right for you.

© 2012 James Ranka


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    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      6 years ago from Port Neches

      Thanks much for the comments, napetv.

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      6 years ago from Port Neches

      Hey tiffany,

      I'm very sorry you are suffering. Please know you are not alone. I, too, have days like that, and today was one of them for me. I believe these depressed feelings are a part of the human experience, and somehow, some way, we find a way to wade through the muck. Tomorrow always seems better. Please hang in there, and try to force your body to just move. Blessings to you.

    • tiffany delite profile image

      tiffany delite 

      6 years ago from united states

      useful article. i know that exercise and diet makes a huge difference, but i am submerged in the sea of depression right now and sometimes, somedays, i barely even make it out of bed. today, i haven't even left my house one time. i have many days like that. i pray that one day, i can find my way back. blessings!

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      6 years ago from Port Neches

      Very good comments, Ethan!

      I witnessed too many people 'chasing the dragon' in an effort to recapture that intense chemical high. Their chases ruined their lives. I also agree with you, after a vigorous workout, NOTHING compares with the natural high the brain supplies in the form of endorphins.

    • Ethan Green profile image

      Ethan Green 

      6 years ago from England


      As someone that has also had the sandman morphine experience following a serious operation and who also does a lot of exercise I can see how you made the connection. Good for you for having the brains to look for the natural high instead of wondering where you could get more morphine from! I can also say from personal experience that the high from exercise is much much better than the warped chemical buzz from morphine.

      Nice hub:-)


    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      6 years ago from Port Neches

      Some days I must motivate myself by using the Nike slogan, "Just do it." But the days I really don't feel like exercising seem to be the times I need it most!

      Thanks for your comment!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      You have a wonderfully unique way of motivating. I thoroughly enjoyed your articvle. Up and useful.

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      6 years ago from Port Neches

      Thank you, Be Pain Free. I appreciate your comments and I do agree with the other positive effects and brain chemicals this type of lifestyle delivers. I do know for sure, I never want to experience the down years outlined in the Hub.

    • Be Pain Free profile image

      Be Pain Free 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I really like the message, the presentation, and the interweaving of your story. Something for future hubs might be the other effects of this lifestyle that lead to mental wellbeing (increased GABA and serotonin production, increased insulin sensitivity, reduction of systemic inflammation). Voted interesting and beautiful.


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