Trigger Your Happiness Hormones
As many of you know I love rock music and especially live concerts. With the pandemic it has been over 2 years since I saw any live music. So imagine how excited (and a bit nervous) I was a couple of weeks ago when I got to my first live concert in a long time. And afterwards, not only did I have amazing memories but I felt so happy. That wasn’t just because I saw my favourite bands but because I triggered my endorphins- a happiness hormone.
I do a lot of work on stress reduction and teaching about the impact of stress hormones on the body. And for our health and well-being, managing our stress is critical. However, I wanted to take it a step further and find out how we can also increase the happiness hormones in our bodies.
There are 4 main chemicals in your brain that are responsible for making you feel happy. And the great news is that you can easily boost these hormones naturally. And pretty much everything that makes you feel happy is connected to at least one of the happiness hormones.
What are the 4 happiness hormones?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps you feel pleasure and is connected to rewards and motivation. It’s that feeling you get when you complete a task or reach a goal. Low levels of dopamine are linked to feelings of depression, low motivation and a lack of interest in things that used to bring you joy.
Seratonin is another neurotransmitter that plays a big part in your mood as well as regulating your sleep and appetite. Low levels are associated with depression and anxiety which are often treated with SSRI medication.
Endorphins are most commonly linked with exercise and what is known as the ‘runners high’. Endorphins are natural painkillers and increase our sense of well-being. It triggers positive and sometimes euphoric feelings in your body.
Oxytocin, also known as the cuddle chemical or the love chemical, is the hormone released to enable us to bond with others. Kissing, hugging and sex all trigger the release of oxytocin as well as acts of kindness and cuddling a pet. It’s what bonds parents with their babies.
How to boost your happiness hormones
You can boost these hormones naturally. Here are 8 ideas:
Research has shown that eating for gut health boosts your seraton levels. As much as 95% of seratonin is produced in the gut so a healthy diet is linked to feeling happier and healthier. Many members of the Happiness Club community mentioned that enjoying a good meal made them feel happy.
As mentioned above when I spoke about endorphins, exercise is really great for triggering the release of happy hormones. Running regularly will get you the ‘runners high’ but so will most other exercise including taking a walk.
Being outside in nature or by the sea and soaking up the sunshine can lift your mood dramatically. Think how much more energetic you feel when the sun is shining compared to the dark winter time. Make sure you get out every day to boost those happiness hormones.
Listening to music can influence how you feel. You can use it to relax, to reminisce, to set a mood, or to feel uplifted and energised. Listening to music every day, playing an instrument or watching a concert will trigger those happy hormones.
And while you are listening to the music double up that hormone boost by dancing around your living room. Even if it’s just for one song, get up and get dancing!
Increase your dopamine levels by setting and achieving your goals. Make sure to set immediate, mid-range and long term goals. The short term goals will quickly stimulate the reward centre of your brains that then release dopamine. You can read more about Goal Setting in my post: Goal Setting in Autumn
Be inspired with podcasts
I love an good podcast. Choose something that inspires, motivates or uplifts you. Make time to listen to them, or even better, combine listening to a podcast whilst out for a walk. You will come back ready to take on the day!
There is so much research on the psychology of colour and how it can lift your mood. Whether it’s painting a room a bright colour, brightly coloured home accessories or wearing bright or patterned clothes, there are lots of ways to introduce colour into your life. Wearing colourful clothes is called Dopamine Dressing by psychologists so throw on a scarf or a swipe of lipstick for an instant mood booster. You can read more about the benefit of Colour in my post: How colour improves your mood
Looking through that list, isn’t it so simple to increase your happiness hormones? I believe that when we understand why these techniques work and how they trigger these 4 hormones and what that does for our health and happiness it is so motivating to bring them into our daily life. What can you do today to feel happier?
Happiness Evangelist, Life Coach, Best-Selling Author and Speaker with over 30 years of experience, helping you to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Discover and live to your true potential. Live the life you desire!