The feeling of happiness is something we can’t compare and these feelings are also the ones we need to thrive in our lives. Being happy is a wonderful feeling that can help not only our minds flourish but also our bodies.
Happiness is the feeling that can be infectious that with just one smile, one small laugh, you can make a stranger happy. But how does this happen?
Happiness, sadness, even fear are the feelings that are produced by a complex chemical reaction in our brains.
We often hear people say that “It’s a hormonal response” but what are these hormones that cause these feelings?
Experts refer to these chemicals as “happy hormones”. These happy hormones that create positive feelings in us are dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Working together, these neurotransmitters are behind the feelings of happiness that we experience.
These happy hormones travel through the bloodstream and act as messengers. Not only do they increase feelings of positivity, but these hormones also play a role in directing our consciousness and even addictive behaviors.
Before we read about the 12 ways on how to increase happy hormones in your body, let’s take a brief look at what these four happy hormones are and what role they play in directing our wellness.
What are the Happy Hormones?
1. Dopamine: The “feel good” hormone, this neurotransmitter plays a role in directing our brain’s reward system. Dopamine can increase feelings of pleasure, learning, motor function, motivation, and memory.
2. Serotonin: This is another neurotransmitter that regulates our mood, sleep, digestion, cognitive functions, concentration, memory, and even our appetite.
3. Oxytocin: Referred to as the “love hormone”, oxytocin is released when there are feelings of affection involved. This happy hormone can help increase trust, empathy and strengthen relationships. This chemical is released when we partake in pleasurable activities such as cuddling and hugging.
4. Endorphins: Also known as our body’s natural pain killer, endorphins can help us reduce stress and other pain. Endorphins are released when we engage in activities such as exercise, eating, or other strenuous activities.
Now, let’s take a look at how to increase happy brain chemicals!
How To Increase Happy Hormones?
1. Spend Time Outdoors
One of the best (and the most common) ways to increase happy hormones in your body is to spend your time outdoors. Spending time in sunlight can increase the production of serotonin and endorphins. Spending even half an hour outdoors, walking in a park, can do the trick!
2. Exercise Regularly
Exercising regularly doesn’t just benefit your physical or mental health but can also trigger the release of endorphins. Not only endorphins but regular exercise can help increase the levels of dopamine and serotonin. Run with your partner and get the added benefit of oxytocin!
3. Laugh Out Loud
Laughter is the best medicine indeed! While laughter can’t treat any physical ailments, it can help reduce stress, discomfort, and even boost your low mood. Laughing releases endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin especially when you share that laughter with your friends and family. Want to feel happy? Share a funny story or just laugh out loud.
Read: Laughter Yoga: What Is It & Why Is It Is Good For You
4. Cook Your Favorite Food
When you cook your favorite food, it can help increase all four happy hormones. How? The pleasure you feel when eating your favorite food can trigger an increase in dopamine along with endorphins while sharing your favorite food with a loved one can boost oxytocin.
The release of serotonin is linked with your gut, so when you eat food rich in tryptophan, serotonin is released.
5. Eat Right
Oh yes, your eating habits can also play a huge role in increasing your happiness. Eating dark chocolate with high amounts of cacao can make you feel happy as cacao contains a neuromodulator phenylethylamine.
Other foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, tryptophan, and even a small amount of alcohol such as drinking a glass of wine can release endorphins. However, remember, consuming too much of these foods and beverages can have the opposite effect.
6. Music Can Make You Happy
Have you ever wondered why listening to your favorite music makes you feel happy? Well, that’s because listening to (or making) music can increase the production of dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain.
When you feel good, this automatically increases your serotonin. Some experts believe that making music and dancing to your favorite music can help release endorphins.
7. Meditation Also Help
Meditation has many benefits including better sleep, an increase in positive emotions, and reducing stress. But were you aware that meditation can also help increase dopamine and endorphin in your body? Even a 5-minute meditation can help you increase happy hormones in your body.
Read: Meditation Changes The Brain! Let’s Know How…
8. Spend Time With Your Partner
Taking a night stroll with your partner or sharing a tub of ice cream with your loved one can promote the production of the love hormone aka oxytocin.
An increase in oxytocin can make you feel closer to your partner, strengthen your bond with them, and can make you feel blissful. Had a stressful day? Go share a cup of coffee with your partner or just hug them a little longer.
9. Cuddle With Your Pet
Ah! What better way to end a stressful day than cuddling with your furry friend? Did you know that cuddling with your pet can increase oxytocin levels in your body and brain? If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, just cuddle with your pet. If you don’t have a pet, then you can spend some time volunteering at a pet shelter.
10. Catch Some Zzzz’s
Yes, not catching enough Zzzz’s can also affect the production of your happy chemicals in the brain. Not getting enough sleep can create an imbalance in your hormones, especially dopamine and melatonin. Getting a good night’s rest can help restore the right balance between your happy hormones and the sleep hormone.
Read: Reset Your Sleep Schedule With These Simple Yet Effective Ways!
11. Relax With A Massage
What better way to relax (and increase your happy hormones) than a massage? Getting a massage can help release all four happy hormones and relieve stress. Massage therapy is one of the techniques that can benefit your wellness by increasing serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins.
12. Share Feelings Of Gratitude
Expressing or sharing gratitude helps push the reward response in the brain which, in turn, releases the happy chemicals. You can practice this by maintaining a gratitude journal or by practicing loving-kindness meditation. Try to be grateful for at least three things each day.
I hope that these above ways to increase happy hormones in your body and brain help you. If you continue to feel unhappy, anxious or stressed, we recommend that you reach out to your therapist or connect with a mental health professional.
With BetterHelp’s support, you can find the right and affordable assistance without leaving the comfort of your home. Click the link below to connect with BetterHelp’s trained and experienced professionals, today!
Did you try these ways to increase happy hormones? Did they work? Are there some that we missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Stay Happy, Stay Safe!
The post Happy Hormones, Happy You! 12 Best Ways To Increase Happy Hormones In Your Body appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.