No, we are not talking about harmful or illegal substances. We are referring to the naturally occurring chemicals we already have in our bodies. While we always associate this heightened state with our personal and spiritual well-being, we tend to overlook the biological factors that are affected that help us get to a happy state.
By learning how these happy chemicals work and how to produce them naturally, you can finally declare that your happiness is definitely under your control. Let us hop on the excitement and meet these four hormones better.
These feel-good chemicals are often associated with the well-known “runner’s high,” which helps many people fall in love with the long and enduring exercise. Produced in the hypothalamus, the pituitary glands, and other parts of the body, boosting these endorphins is one way to live healthier and happier.
Increase your overall well-being by engaging in these endorphin-inducing activities:
- They say one never loses anything by giving. Such is true when our endorphins are improved when we participate in volunteer activities and donation drives.
- Yoga and Meditation
- The stress-relieving and relaxing effects after a good yoga session or a few minutes of meditation can be attributed to endorphins.
- Spicy Foods
- Eating your favorite spicy dishes triggers pain responses in our mouths. The sensations prompt an increase in these feel-good chemicals. No wonder we can keep on eating!
- Dark Chocolate
- As if we needed another reason to eat dark chocolate – these goodies contain chemicals called flavonoids, which positively affect the brain. Just go for those that have at least 70% cocoa, and be sure not to binge!
- Laughter is indeed the best medicine, as several studies correlate laughter with an increase in endorphins.
Also known as the happy chemical, serotonin plays a contribution to our overall well-being and happiness. Some experts consider it a hormone due to its ability to send messages between our nerve cells and how it can affect our mood, emotions, appetite, and digestion. It also helps regulate our sleep cycles and body clock.
If you are looking to boost these happy hormones, here are some natural remedies that may help:
- Regular exercise
- Studies show that that exercise can similarly improve symptoms of depression as antidepressants do.
- Light Treatment
- Insufficient sun exposure leads to lower serotonin levels. Make sure you get adequate sunshine by letting light in your space or taking a stroll outside. Light therapy is also available for those who suffer from Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
- Consuming Tryptophan-rich Foods
- Tryptophan is an amino acid that is linked to more positive mood scores. Foods rich in tryptophan include turkey, eggs, cheese, soy products, and salmon. Supplements are also available, but be sure to check these with your doctor first.
For every moment where the reward, motivation, memory, and body movement regulation are involved, you can bet that dopamine has had its say on these. It is a vital chemical messenger that creates feelings of pleasure and reward when released in large amounts. When this happens, we are given the motivation to repeat the behaviors that trigger these chemicals.
While our bodies help regulate our dopamine levels, we can help it along and feel good by doing the following:
- Eat Protein
- You can also get dopamine from the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine, present in protein-rich foods.
- Consume Probiotics
- While more research is needed, probiotic supplements have been seen to improve mood in humans and animals.
- Eat Velvet Beans
- Velvet beans are natural sources of L-dopa, a precursor molecule to dopamine.
- Get Enough Sleep
- When we deprive ourselves of sleep, our dopamine sensitivity in the brain is reduced. Always try to achieve eight hours of quality sleep to help regulate your body’s natural dopamine rhythms.
- Listen to Music
- Research shows that listening to your favorite instrumental music may boost your dopamine levels.
- Consider Supplements
- Adequate levels of iron, niacin, folate, and vitamin B6 are a must for dopamine production.
Oxytocin has earned the reputation of being the love hormone, and for a good reason. This chemical comes from the pituitary gland and is released when people cuddle up or engage in social activities.
Here are some of the natural ways to get smitten by this happy love bug:
- Get or Give Massages
- Massages always help anyone relax. It also helps relieve pain, stress, anxiety, and increases oxytocin levels. Studies also note that its benefits even reach the person giving the massage. You do not need to be pro either to reap the results.
- Express Your Feelings
- Strengthen your connection with others by telling them how you feel. Expressing these sentiments with a loved one increases the prosocial feelings for you both. More often than not, they will also reply to you in kind and appreciate your openness.
- Spend Time with Your Friends
- Friends are the family you choose, and establishing strong ties with them will do wonders for your emotional well-being. They are the ones who help you feel supported and less alone.
- Focus on Your Conversations
- When you practice active or empathic listening in your interactions, both parties will feel increased feelings of connection and trust. It also conveys how much you care when you drop whatever you are doing just to lend an ear.
- Make Love
- Sexual intimacy is another excellent way of showing your affection for someone and raise your oxytocin levels, especially if you achieve orgasm. It helps you feel closer and more connected to your partner. And bonus, this activity benefits you both.
- Cuddle or Hug Someone
- You do not need to engage in sex to get the love hormone. Even simple physical gestures such as cuddling, hugging, hand-holding, or even playing with your pet are surefire ways to boost your oxytocin levels.
Learn to take control of your mood and your happiness by engaging in activities that naturally boost your happy hormones. When you apply these techniques to your daily life, you will be amazed just how much the quality of your life will improve.