Hormones are small chemical messengers that allow communication throughout the entire body. It plays an important role in the functioning of the body and also plays a vital part in the regulation of mood. It is not uncommon for a variety of events—both happy and sad—to influence our mood. Happy hormones, in particular, are chemical neurotransmitters that help promote happiness, positive feelings, and pleasure.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with stressors like climate change, rising prices, and employee workloads, it can be helpful to understand how the brain works and what makes us happy. The four main happiness chemicals found in the body are linked to their own events and awards.
Read on to find out more about happy hormones.
What are the happy hormones?
The four happy hormones are "the reward chemical" dopamine, "the pain killer" endorphin, "the love chemical" oxytocin, and "the mood stabilizer" serotonin. These four chemicals are involuntarily released in the body in response to certain events, scenarios, and situations.
This chemical, also known as the feel-good hormone, is closely associated with reward and motivation. It motivates individuals to work towards their goals and dreams, and it reinforces pleasure in individuals who achieve them. Low levels of dopamine are linked to attributes like low self-esteem, procrastination, and low levels of motivation.
By breaking a task into shorter, more acheivable milestones and then achieving them, we increase our chances of releasing dopamine in our brains. This result can be achieved by self-care activities like getting a massage or meditating. Unhealthy ways of obtaining dopamine include excessive consumption of substances like recreational drugs, alcohol, and sugar.
Endorphins are hormones produced by the body to combat stress and pain. It helps alleviate depression and anxiety by bringing about a state of euphoria. The mechanism by which endorphin works is similar to that of opiate medication in that it dulls the perception of pain and is associated with exercise.
It is released by the body during periods of discomfort or when the body feels stressed. This hormone is also released during pleasurable activities like s*xual intercourse, laughter, listening to music, and exercise.
Oxytocin is an important hormone that affects how people bond and trust one another. It also oversees important aspects of the female and male reproductive systems and plays a crucial role in childbirth and breastfeeding. This hormone influences the level of connection that a person makes as it is linked to intimacy, trust, and empathy and helps maintain healthy relationships.
Oxytocin influences our physical and emotional connections with other people and animals. Oxytocin levels increase when we socialize with others and develop close personal bonds. Physical intimacy in terms of holding hands and hugs also increases the level of oxytocin in a person. Altruistic and selfless behaviors also cause the body to release this hormone.
This hormone plays many different important roles in the body, like mood regulation, feelings of wellbeing, bone health, digestion, and sleep. Serotonin is vital in the fight against mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety.
It greatly increases an individual's sense of self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-efficacy. As a result, it is critical for people to reflect on their accomplishments, no matter how minor, and to practice gratitude whenever possible.
6 ways to boost the happy hormones
Exercise and physical activity have repeatedly shown several physical and mental health benefits. Those looking to improve their levels of overall happiness hormones in their bodies need to create a routine of exercise and stick to it on a regular basis.
Exercise on its own can boost endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin levels, which can improve a person's mood. If the exercise activity selected involves other people, like Zumba, running, swimming, or weightlifting in groups, it provides the added bonus of bonding with others, which increases oxytocin levels.
2) Dietary Changes
A change in dietary intake and dietary habits can work wonders for individuals and improve their chances of increasing all four happy hormones. Focusing on certain food groups and types increases the body's release of certain hormones. Tryptophan-rich foods like turkey, salmon, and cocoa increase serotonin levels in the body.
Foods rich in protein like beans, eggs, meats, yogurts, and almonds have been shown to increase dopamine production in the body, and spicy foods have been shown to increase endorphins. Additionally, sharing or preparing a meal with someone else is incredibly intimate and leads to the release of oxytocin.
3) Stress Management
The chronic effects of stress on the physical body are enormous as it causes disruptions in several of the body's systems, including the production of hormones. Stressors are present in every part of our lives, so it is up to the individual to learn how to manage their stress before it causes hormonal problems.
Regular physical exercise, strategic breaks, physical activities, social interactions, and meditation have been shown to reduce stress, causing the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins to increase in the body.
Socializing with someone or some people on a deeper level increases the level of oxytocin found in the body. Empathetically listening to them and paying attention to their needs and wants also increases the amount of oxytocin.
Physical displays of affection like holding hands, hugging, dancing, kissing, and s*xual activities all increase oxytocin. Dancing and s*xual activity can lead to the release of endorphins in the body, while pleasure achieved during s*xual activities leads to the release of dopamine.
Poor sleeping habits can cause several problems for a person's physical health, including their hormonal balance. Poor sleep causes the body to release hormones like ghrelin while decreasing the amounts of testosterone and leptin in the body. It also affects happy hormones, as poor sleeping habits cause the body to produce lower amounts of oxytocin and dopamine.
6) Physical Massages
A massage is thought to have only physical benefits for the body because it allows people to stretch and loosen tense muscles. However, massages also influence the happy hormones present in the body.
Endorphins are released when a massage is being performed on the body, and they also increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine found in the body.
Hacking your brain to be happier may seem like a pipe dream, as our happiness is dependent on a lot of factors, ,any of which we have no control over. However, we do have control over certain areas of our lives, which we can manipulate to increase the chances of happy hormones being released in our bodies.
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