Getting high on life

For many of us, our expectation for college is that it will be the best time of our life; a time where we try new things, learn who we really are and have memories that we will never forget, regretful or not. 

College is also a time the majority of students live away from their parents’ strict rules or sober regulations. They get to decide what they do on a day-to-day basis for the first time.

For most college students, having a good time means getting drunk or getting high while doing something social like going to a party, concert or sporting event.  

A study “Wasting the Best and the Brightest: Substance Abuse at America’s Colleges and Universities” reports that about 49 percent of full-time college students either binge drink or abuse prescription or illegal drugs.

Hopefully, we all know the short-term or long-term affects of alcohol or drug use can be harmful to the human body.  A couple minutes of research and information could potentially save your life.  For more information, visit drugfreeworld.org.

So, are the overall risks of alcohol and drugs really worth having a good time for? Whatever your answer was to this question, let me explain alternative ways to get a natural high for a healthier lifestyle.  

Running or any form of exercise is a great way to obtain a natural high.  The same chemical effects that opiates have on your brain can be achieved through exercising, and it’s not addictive. The endorphins released during exercise, naturally reduce the perception of pain and stress, which can end up making you feel great. 

“After every time I work out, I feel accomplished and productive. I hate feeling lazy and playing basketball at the rec center really makes me feel good about myself,” said sophomore Michael Troy.  

It’s recommended to exercise 150 minutes a week, says almost every health doctor in America.  Interestingly enough, every minute you exercise could lengthen your life seven or even eight minutes according to commonhealth.wbr.org. 

The choice is simple if you ask me; exercising not only gives you the natural high of a painkiller, but also increases your life span.  

Spending time with a loved partner also releases some of the same chemicals released in your brain when doing the drug cocaine.  

While spending time with loved ones, scientist found the caudate area of the brain is very active, which is partnered with cravings.  Another area that was active was the ventral tegmental, which produces dopamine triggering pleasure and motivation.  

When you’re in love the same chemical reactions in your brain become active as they would were you to use cocaine. 

“You can feel intense elation when you’re in love.  You can feel intense elation when you’re high on cocaine,” said Dr. Helen Fisher. 

All of that said, alcohol is the substance used most on a college campus. Maybe because it allows you to be more social and “in the moment”.  Alcohol is used roughly by 75 percent of college students, according to statistics. 

Some long-term effects of alcohol are addiction, high blood pressure, stroke, other heart-related diseases, liver disease, cancer and more life-changing risks.  

Those consequences don’t even contain the short-term effects that lead to 90 percent of all campus rapes, driving under the influence and many other serious life altering events. So, if you drink at all, drinking responsibly is advised. This is for your own health and others around you.   

Alternative highs care ultimately subjective. For example, I obtain a natural high by doing well on that important exam.  The feeling I get after doing well in a class is really uplifting and comforting. There’s nothing like the high that confidence in yourself can bring you. 

To find other healthy alternatives to drugs or alcohol look online at goaskalice.columbia.edu.  There are also many other websites online for advice. 

Yes, this is the time in our lives when we are supposed to be making the most of our youth and newfound freedom, but drugs and excessive drinking aren’t the only way to achieve that. 

Just make sure long-term health is a priority so you can live a long healthy life too.