Did you know you can control your happiness? Being unhappy seems to be the new normal. So many people have their faces stuck in their phones that they’ve lost the ability to enjoy their lives. Don’t let that be you.
“So, what do I do?” you ask. You make use of the chemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters in your brain.
These natural substances work together to help out with certain bodily processes. Their other function? They regulate our moods.
When you have a better understanding of how these chemicals work, you learn how to regulate and adjust them naturally.
In this post, we’ll share with you four ways to increase these happy chemicals in your brain.
Let’s get started.
What Are Happy Chemicals?
Our brain stimulates certain glands to release dozens of different chemicals. They’re sent out into the bloodstream and get to where they need to go.
These chemicals, aka hormones, are involved in various bodily processes. There’s a hormone for managing digestion, heart rate, and reproduction. Basically, anything your body does is regulated by one hormone or another.
They also have the ability to make us feel joy, sadness, hunger, or pumped up with energy. They’re usually referred to as ‘feel-good’ or ‘happy’ hormones.
These chemicals fluctuate throughout the day. This is why you feel lethargic mid-afternoon or excited about an upcoming party you’re attending.
Below, you’ll find the four main happy chemicals in our bodies. Then, in the following section, we’ll tell you how each one affects our moods.
4 Ways To Increase Happy Chemicals
The great thing about these happy chemicals is that we have power over them. We can either increase or decrease how much of them are released through the choices we make each day.
Let’s explore how you can take full advantage of these natural happy chemicals of yours.
Find Time To Exercise
Exercising has so many health benefits. The most important benefit is that it affects our emotional and mental well-being.
Studies show that when you exercise for at least 20 minutes, your body releases endorphins. The science behind it is that they induce a sense of euphoria.
Have you ever heard of the ‘runner’s high?’ Guess who’s behind that? That’s right, endorphins!
Endorphins are also popular among athletes because they can block pain signals. They do this by binding to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. As a result, your feeling of pain is considerably reduced.
To take full advantage of your natural mood stabilizers, exercise outdoors. You’ll get some serotonin coursing through your veins in addition to endorphins. Plus, working out with a group provides even more benefits than going at it alone.
If you can find some friends to exercise with, that’s amazing! Yet, if all your friends are busy, join a class and exercise with strangers. Who knows? You may end up striking up a conversation with one of them, which your brain will reward you for with a shot of oxytocin.
Cook A Meal With A Loved One
In theory, preparing a meal and enjoying it with someone you love can activate all four happy chemicals! Let’s take it one feel-good hormone at a time.
First off, there’s the bonding and sharing special time with a loved one. All those feelings tell the brain it’s time to produce some oxytocin, the ‘love’ hormone.
The great thing about oxytocin is it doesn’t specify what type of love. Your brain will release it when you’re with your partner on a romantic night out or when you’re shaking someone’s hand.
Now, let’s talk about endorphins and dopamine. These are released whenever you’re eating something delicious.
Having someone special to share the meal with just boosts their levels even more. Don’t forget to laugh, as well. Studies show that laughter is truly ‘the best medicine’ because it triggers endorphin release.
Finally, there’s serotonin. One way to get some is by eating certain foods that restore your gut health, especially those that contain tryptophan.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. It’s vital for your health, but your body can’t make it. So, you have to find foods that contain this amino acid, which your body transforms into serotonin.
Eating prebiotic foods is also a terrific way to support healthy gut bacteria. By taking care of your microbiome, you can regulate your mental and emotional health.
So, eat right, be happy. It’s that simple. Fascinating, right?
Check out just a few of the foods that help maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Some of them contain tryptophan as well, so it’s a win-win!
- Wheat and oats
- Onions and garlic
- All types of berries
- Citrus fruits
Enjoy The Sunshine
According to research, spending about 10 to 15 minutes outdoors works wonders for our moods. It can help stimulate the production of not one, but two, happy chemicals: endorphins and serotonin.
Even if it’s a bit cloudy out, take a few minutes to enjoy being outdoors. Getting a breath of fresh air as you walk around the block can do wonders for your mood.
If it’s sunny outside, then all the better. Just make sure you take your sunscreen along.
The reason? When you’re outside, your body absorbs Vitamin D from the Sun. This activates the production of an enzyme that converts tryptophan into serotonin. How cool is that!
Not only that, but the natural light from the sun cues certain areas in our retinas to produce serotonin. This phenomenon explains why many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in winter when the days are shorter.
Get Enough Sleep
Everyone knows they need anywhere between seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, few people recognize the link between sleep and their hormones.
When you don’t get the sleep your body craves, you create an imbalance of chemicals in your body. Dopamine is especially affected, and accordingly, you wreak havoc on your mood. You start suffering from mood swings, lethargy, and lack of focus.
This flows onto your mental health and you begin spiraling towards feelings of despair. It can even lead to depression. Not surprisingly, your physical health will start to suffer as well.
To prevent all that, all you have to do is get some quality sleep. Just those few hours can really make a world of difference.
First off, they can help regain the balance of happy chemicals you need to feel good. You’ll also be able to manage stress better and improve your concentration skills.
There are tips and tricks you can try to get those invaluable hours of sleep each night.
- Don’t drink anything with caffeine at least two hours before bedtime
- Avoid heavy meals several hours before going to bed
- Turn off all screens an hour before bedtime
- Reduce the lighting and noise in your bedroom
- Meditate for at least five minutes before bedtime to relax and reduce stress
- Set up a schedule where you go to bed and get up at the same time, even on weekends