Did you know that the ultimate power to be happy stands in your… brain? You can play with the chemicals in your brain by doing simple ordinary things. But depending on these activities, your brain cells may receive a signal that can make you either happy or unhappy. Here are some natural ways to stimulate the “happy” chemicals and avoid the “unhappy” ones.
Serotonin (the mood stabilizer)
The original happy hormone is essential for mood, digestion, sleep, brain function, and circadian rhythm. Serotonin is triggered not only by a healthy diet and a balanced lifestyle, but also by self-confidence. The “happy” chemicals are easy to produce, especially serotonin. Simple activities such as meditation, sun exposure, exercising and spending time in nature can be more than enough to change your mood. So next time you’re feeling low and you need a boost of energy, just go get some sun or relax a bit.
Dopamine (the reward chemical)
Do you know that feeling when at the end of the day you have achieved all the goals that you have planned in the morning? That feeling of fulfillment and relief that makes you feel so proud of yourself for being productive. Dopamine is being produced even from the very beginning, namely from the expectation of a future reward. The closer you are to achieve it, the more dopamine your brain produces. And it releases the energy you need to get the reward. You can boost dopamine by completing a task, celebrating the small wins, eating a good meal or taking time for self-care.
Endorphin (the pain killer)
Pain causes endorphin. That’s not what you expect when you hear about the “endorphin high” expression. Endorphin has the power to hide the pain. But sometimes a little bit of pain is necessary. Laughing and stretching are milder ways to induce pain as they jiggle your innards in irregular ways. You can also create endorphin by exercising, watching a good movie, volunteering and giving back.
Oxytocin (the love hormone)
Trust triggers oxytocin. It can be either self-trust, or trust for other people. It’s the best feeling in the world to feel closure from someone else. To feel loved, appreciated and safe in the arms of someone you love. And the feeling might go the other way round. You can produce oxytocin by making others feel loved. You can also produce oxytocin by means of physical affection and giving or receiving compliments.
These are four of the most common and effective hormones that trigger a good mood. Remember: life it’s easier when you know how your brain works! What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of happiness?