What makes you happy and how can you stay that way? We all have different ways of finding happiness. Some people find it through adventure, while others find it in their relationships. Still, others find their joy in their hobbies. However, these things won’t always be available to us. And sometimes the things that make us happy are out of our control (or change over time). But there are some habits we can cultivate to boost our happiness chemicals naturally.
Here are some ways to up your happy-o-meter!
The four happy chemicals
Stress is a major factor in the decline of your body and brain. When we are under stress, our bodies produce cortisol, which makes us feel lousy. In order to counteract these effects, there are ways to increase the four “happy chemicals” in your body: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate movement and emotional responses. It also controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. When your dopamine levels are low, you can experience symptoms like depression, weight gain, sleep issues, and lack of motivation.
Serotonin is the brain chemical responsible for maintaining a positive mood. This happy chemical in our brains is released when we are exposed to natural sunlight or exercise and provides feelings of calmness and well-being. People with depression typically have lower serotonin levels which can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, tension, insecurity, fearfulness, sadness, and apathy.
-Oxytocin is the love hormone – it’s what makes us feel good about ourselves, our relationships, and the world around us! Studies show that people experiencing high levels of oxytocin are more likely to trust others and have an overall happier mood. Oxytocin has been shown to be particularly effective at relieving anxiety in women who have just given birth (it helps them bond with their babies).
Endorphins are a group of chemicals that act as natural pain relievers by countering inflammation caused by stress hormones like cortisol. They also reduce pain sensitivity by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain, giving you an uplifting sense of happiness! The release of endorphins often occurs during exercise because it causes physical discomfort leading to an increase in endorphin production.
Serotonin is called the “happy hormone” because it controls our moods and feelings of happiness. To boost your serotonin levels, try eating foods that are high in protein and have a low glycemic index, such as salmon, eggs, walnuts, spinach, berries, and spirulina. These foods will help keep your blood sugar levels stable which will, in turn, promote feelings of happiness.
Also, try getting outside every day for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to wear sunscreen so you can get more natural vitamin D. This will help regulate your moods and create a sense of well-being.
Dopamine is the happy chemical that is responsible for making us feel good and energized. That is why we feel so lousy when it’s depleted. The best way to increase dopamine is by engaging in physical activities. This can be anything from taking a brisk walk to playing basketball, but it will help you feel better.
Another way to boost dopamine levels is by doing something that brings you joy. For example, if you love cooking, try making your favorite meal or baking your favorite cookies. Whatever gets you excited and feeling good can also increase dopamine levels.
Endorphins are responsible for making us feel happy and content. The best time to boost endorphins is first thing in the morning when you have the most energy (we all know the feeling of waking up on the right side of the bed). Just by taking a shower, you can boost your endorphins. It is also wise to exercise, meditate or eat healthy foods that will help your body release natural endorphins. You can also try drinking hot tea or coffee because it increases your blood flow which increases serotonin and releases endorphins.
Oxytocin is the “love” hormone. This happy chemical is responsible for feelings of love and happiness, which makes it an excellent way to boost your mood. To build up your oxytocin levels, you should try to make someone else feel loved by giving them a compliment, doing something nice for them, or spending time with them.
Boosting your happy chemicals is a great way to make yourself feel better, happier, and more productive. Use this step-by-step guide daily to achieve feeling like your best self, every day.