Stress is a very common component of our everyday life. Staying happy amidst our busy schedules has become almost impossible. Everybody wants to be happy and we often find ourselves pursuing this emotion in various ways. Did you know that these emotions are the result of chemical reactions in the brain? The human body has 4 natural built-in mood-enhancing chemicals, which help combat stress and relieve pain keeping you happy and positive.
What are happy hormones? Why do they make us happy? How do we get more of these in our system?
The four happy hormones are Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphin (DOSE).
DOPAMINE: This is one of the chemical signals that pass information from one neuron to the next. Dopamine is released during pleasurable moments or situations and helps to regulate how pleasure is perceived and experienced. Dopamine is also responsible for our motivation, concentration, pleasure, bliss and euphoria.
How can you boost your Dopamine level:-
- Limit your sugar intake: Although sugar is linked with raising dopamine levels, the “high” achieved is only temporary and is linked to a wide array or illnesses.
- Limit caffeine intake: Yes, caffeine can also raise dopamine levels but studies show that increased caffeine intake can actually cause an increase in tolerance and can lead to lowered or even diminished dopamine release in the long run.
- Connect with others: Human contact such as hugs from your kids, kisses from your spouse, or even simply shaking hands with a friend or colleague is enough to boost dopamine levels.
- Meditate: Meditation and mindfulness helps the body relax through deep breathing and calming of the nervous system. This in turn helps with the release of dopamine.
- Listen to music: Listening to the music you enjoy helps trigger our pleasure centre thereby releasing dopamine.
This hormone and neurotransmitter is best known for its role in breastfeeding and childbirth. It’s produced in the hypothalamus and females have been shown to have higher levels than males. Oxytocin has been linked to higher self- esteem, trust, optimism and can help lower stress and blood pressure.
How to boost Oxytocin:-
- Cry: Suppressing ones emotions can lead to lower oxytocin levels which can cause stress as well as various physical issues within the body. We often hear that a good cry can help us heal both emotionally and physically. It’s true!
- Give: This can be in the form of volunteering or simply making a generous donation. The act of giving and/or bonding with others can help increase oxytocin levels and make us feel good overall.
- Physical Touch: Oxytocin helps to trigger the reward system in our brain when we are in healthy and loving relationships. It is also released during orgasms in both men and women.
- Encouragement: Whether we are getting it, or giving it, words of encouragement go a long way in the release of oxytocin. Compliment and encourage one another at every chance you get!
Do you feel imbalanced? Do you have depression, anxiety, hot flashes, night sweats, bipolar disorder, migraines, insomnia, PMS, or chronic pain? The cause of all these symptoms is a neurotransmitter imbalance.
Like dopamine, serotonin is also a neurotransmitter. While dopamine is responsible for our excitement and motivation, serotonin is responsible for calming us, suppressing pain, and regulating our mood and sleep cycles. This hormone is found mainly in the gastrointestinal tract, platelets, and the nervous system. Serotonin also controls appetite and reduces your sensitivity to pain.
How to boost Serotonin:-
- 1. Aroma massage: Regular body massages can help lower the stress hormone cortisol, and help increase both dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain/body.
- Positive affirmations: Regularly reciting positive affirmations can help almost re-wire your thinking. Numerous studies show the effects of positive thinking can help with serotonin synthesis while lowering cortisol levels.
- Good vitamin B Intake: Vitamin B6 and B12 are directly linked to lowered levels of depression and when taken regularly, can help boost overall feelings of well-being. The richest sources of vitamin B6 include fish, beef liver and other organ meats, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, and fruit (excluding citrus). Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products.
- Gardening: This one may seem strange but studies show that microbes contained in the soil can lead to a rise in serotonin simply through inhalation.
These are chemical compounds which are produced in the human body and interact with receptors in the brain. They help to reduce pain, increase focus, and improve your overall mood. It also helps boost energy, confidence, and makes all of the daily stressors of life much easier to cope with. Today, we produce endorphins when exercising our anaerobic zones. Anaerobic exercise helps us to cope with chronic pains by activating our body’s natural painkillers. Hence exercise is one of the many ways of boosting Endorphins.
How to boost Endorphin:-
- Laughter: Not only does laughter boost serotonin levels but also helps to increase pain tolerance levels.
- Healthy eating habits: Increase your consumption of protein, healthy fats, and plant based food while limiting alcohol and caffeine. If you supply the necessary amino acids the body will restore balance and you will have improved health and moods.
- 3. Sunshine exposure: Regularly spending time outdoors in the sun can regulate the release of endorphins. The best time is to expose the body to the Sun is from 10am to 1pm.
- Aromatherapy: Soothing scents such as those found in essential oils can help with the release of endorphins in the body.
So keep smiling, stay positive and keep these hormones levels at the peak!