Ah, those hormones. Along with the neurotransmitters, they basically rule over any feeling we might have at the moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good feeling such as joy, peace, bliss or a bad one such as depression, anger or grief.
What are neurotransmitters? They are the brain chemicals that serve to communicate the information between the body and brain. These important chemicals also relay signals between nerve cells or neurons.
They also interact with the receptors, which can be found throughout the body and the brain in order to regulate a wide variety of processes. These include joy, fear, anger, pleasure, your mood and emotions, and pain perception.
Emotional intelligence depends on each individual’s ability to gain awareness of their inner state. Also, rather than allowing their emotions to rule over our minds, we need to understand how to make them work for us.
The Four Main Neurotransmitters
It’s not like it’s just these four, though. There are many more neurotransmitters which have an influence on our feelings.
But we have narrowed it down to these four because they all play an important role in achieving a sense of happiness and wellbeing. They are dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, and oxytocin. But let’s get to know them a bit better.
1. Dopamine. It is in charge of the reward system in our brains. Whenever a goal or objective is achieved, or even when we look for ways to feel pleasure, the production of dopamine increases.
2. Serotonin. Because of its role in increasing feelings of worthiness and creating a sense of belonging, many have learned to call it the confidence molecule.
3. Endorphin. It has a charming little nickname – ‘runner’s high.’ No wonder, since it is famous for increasing happiness, as well as helping people in their handling of extreme pain and stress. It also decreases your sense of hunger and increases one’s immunity.
4. Oxytocin. This one has an even more charming nickname – ‘the love hormone.’ The reason for that is because it is directly linked to human bonding. It also increases the sense of loyalty and trust.
Boosting Your Happy Hormones The Natural Way
Since we already mentioned the hormones needed for gaining a sense of higher happiness and satisfaction. It takes just a little tweaking in your everyday lifestyle to activate each of these chemicals.
Luckily for you, below is a list of ways how to increase their production naturally and effortlessly.
- Spend more time with your loved ones, be those family or friends. Any little interaction, such as cuddling, talking, holding hands can increase the production of oxytocin. And if you feel lonely, it’s a good idea to get a pet, such as a dog or a cat.
- Smile more often. It sounds like one of the most cliché advises anyone can give, but it holds truth. Here’s why – the brain cannot tell the difference between fake and genuine smiling. That way, by smiling even in a false manner, we trick the brain into producing hormones which cause real happiness.
- Learn to be more grateful – instead of complaining about the things you don’t have, try concentrating more on the ones which life has given you. The more you start appreciating the good things around you, the happier and more satisfied you’ll find yourself.
- Have a massage – Other than relaxing you, it will help reduce your levels of stress. That way, cortisol steps back to make way for dopamine and serotonin. You can achieve this even with something as simple as a foot massage.
- Express yourself freely– Hide neither your laughter nor your tears. Nothing good ever comes from suppressing your emotions. While it is widely known that laughter produces happy hormones, crying can also prove helpful with that.
You know that feeling of relief after you’ve had a good wail? That’s because, as soon as you’ve had your fill of crying, the brain produces large quantities of endorphin. The result is a cathartic feeling.
- Let the sun in – This is also a rather repeated piece of advice, but it is simply the way we humans are made.
Exposure to some sunshine can activate your melatonin and, as a result, regulate your sleeping cycle. It also helps with the production of serotonin.
- Learn new skills – The brain simply adores learning new things, especially a challenge. So why not get yourself a new hobby?
It can be anything you like from learning to play an instrument or a foreign language. It doesn’t have to be anything overly-exiting as even playing a new boarding or doing crochet will get the job done.
- Eat happiness-boosting foods such as chocolate, carbohydrates, seeds, nuts and spicy foods. They all have the power of increasing the circulation of happy hormones in our bodies.
- Aromatherapy is the key – Maybe you’ve noticed before, but smells have a distinct and unique influence on our feelings as a whole. Take, say, lavender or vanilla, or even rose.
All of these have a profound effect on us as a whole. They make us feel safe and comfortable. You can use perfume or aromatherapy candles around your house so that happiness can affect you through your nostrils as well.
- Listen to some music – As if we had to tell you. Most people automatically, or even subconsciously turn to the power of melody when they are feeling down. But it’s not as we listen to music only when we’re sad either.
There are so many types of music that can accompany practically every emotion we may experience. Never underestimate the power of sound. You can either play your music or see what’s ‘jammin’’ on the radio or any other source you can find.
There is no real limit here – any music, as long as it suits your personal taste, can be a great mood booster.
- Be more physically active – Yes, we know you’ve heard it all before. Everyone seems to be trying to convince you to do more exercise. But it doesn’t have to be anything hard.
While running is great, you can also walk more or even do a little yoga.
Dancing also helps, and you have fun in the process. Any activity has been proven to increase the release of endorphins. On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main reasons for feeling depressed.
To Sum Up – Find Your Balance
The Indian Vedas discuss how our primary nature is that of ‘eternal bliss’ or “Satchidananda.” It is possible to improve our brain chemistry, and thus make ourselves feel better too.
Whether it’s about the world in general, or something far more personal like our very self. And all we have to do to reach our highest human potential and be the best we can be, are minor shifts in our daily habits and choices. If we learn how to be mindful of our conscious behavior, we can do it.