Updated: Oct 20, 2020
These days everyone is stressed, and you'll agree with good reason. I thought it's a perfect time for this article. COVID has changed our lives, it has sure put a damper on socializing for the interim. And while we are right smack in a pandemic, we have to make the most of this situation. Keeping ourselves, our families, and loved ones safe and ride out this trying time. Soon the economy and country as a whole will recover completely. 🤞
As we are pick up the pieces, heal, and move forward, we can learn to be happy. Let's focus, zone in on only what's positive in our lives, and not linger on the negative. Finding happiness by learning about the 'happiness chemicals,' that our body produces. We can learn to make ourselves happy by hacking these chemicals.
I have learned to find my pockets of happiness and calmness whenever I can. Since COVID, I've learned to stop sweating the small stuff and am thankful every day. I wanted to share how I've come to treasure these moments of happiness I find. Whether it's watching my roses finally bloom, enjoy my cuppa coffee, or watching my puppy trying to chase down a rabbit in the park.
Staying mentally healthy is just as important as being physically fit, if not more. Now let's find out about how we can 'find happiness.' Listed below are some very important love and happiness hormones we need to know about. There are easy ways to hack them and get ourselves some love hormones. (Check out my blog on healthy-lifestyle: https://www.cjsspell.com/post/healthy-lifestyle)
We have the power to change the world and use it to make a difference. Laser-engraved on a Swarovski® crystal, the Make a Difference Bangle is designed to remind us that every day is a new opportunity to leave our mark.
Here are four important hormones our body creates that affect our health, mood, and promotes positive emotions in our lives...
Oxytocin is a feel-good hormone. One of the best feelings in the world is hugging a loved one or being hugged by one. Think about how you feel the next time you hug a friend, your parents, your baby, your kids, or your significant other. It puts a smile on your face and you feel good. That's why scientists call it the "cuddle hormone or love hormone." Levels of oxytocin increase during hugging and orgasm. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and it reduces stress.
Prolong lack of oxytocin has been associated with depression and anxiety, therefore lack of oxytocin can influence our social behavior and emotions. Oxytocins are produced in the hypothalamus which is located in the base of the brain. Though small it plays an important role in releasing hormones in our body. Us girls tend to have higher levels of oxytocin than males.
Here are some methods I have found to be useful in my life to get my daily dose of this delicious love hormone.
Hugging - is a great way to show affection, warmth, and comfort. A hug shows support and consolation too. Hugging someone whom we've not seen for a long time gives us joy and happiness. When we hug or touch someone we like or love, the levels of oxytocins in our bodies rise. We feel loved, we feel happy, have a general sense of well being and our stress dissipates.
Babies, toddlers, and young children thrive when held close and hugged often.
Massages - get a nice relaxing massage and feel amazing afterward. Think about the last time you received a nice massage. It was good, wasn't it? Didn't you feel amazingly refreshed? Personally, I love scalp, shoulder massages, and foot massages. Makes me feel wonderfully relaxed and calm afterward.
If you've not had one before give it a go. You'll love it. For your first time though get a massage from a professional massage therapist. You'll know what a good massage is supposed to feel like. Then you can get one from your partner who knows what he or she is doing. Massages tend to make one feel calmer, more relaxed. The knots and stress soothed away. The sense of well-being one feels afterward that's oxytocin at play.
Pets - playing with our pets. Here's another great way to get some oxytocin. Pets are comforting, they make us happy, and are great stress busters. Spend time daily playing with your pets, giving them a rub down or brushing them. It's a great bonding experience. (Do visit my blog https://www.cjsspell.com/post/slow-jogging-with-meditation)
Babies - playing with your babies or baby nephews and nieces is bonding and enjoyable. There is nothing more cheerful than hearing a baby's chuckle or laughter. It's an endearing sound. The lightness you feel that's oxytocin.
Complements - giving and receiving compliments are a great way to give and receive some oxytocin.
Spending time with someone you like - chatting with a friend and sharing also enhances oxytocin levels. That's why it's called a bonding or feel-good hormone as well.
Greeting - nothing beats a cheerful and warm greeting. Give a heartfelt greeting to a loved one, a friend, or colleague, and receive one in return.
Dopamine is the feel-good hormone. Dopamine plays an important role in the brain's pleasure and reward systems. It's released during pleasurable activities like eating or sex.
Music plays a pivotal role in our lives. Listening to music elevates our spirit. Lightens our mood. We can even drift off while listening to soothing music. This is because dopamine is released in our system when we listen to music.
I usually do my chores while listening to music. Washing dishes or cleaning doesn't seem onerous when the music is on.
Not only should we be kind to ourselves and celebrate even small wins. We should praise our children and celebrate their wins, we not only make them feel good but that happiness touches us as well.
Anticipating the taste of coffee that you are making or buying. Looking forward to sipping it, the delicious aroma. Think of the 1st sip and how you feel. That satisfying feeling of pleasure is dopamine.
As luck would have it, shopping increases dopamine levels. The prospect of buying something new is exciting and can be addictive. It's so hard to resist a sale, isn't it?
Receiving and giving gifts releases both dopamines and endorphins. When we feel appreciated, we tend to reciprocate and that intensifies bonding.
Self-care is rewarding. We feel good when we pamper ourselves. Like getting our nails done, a facial, or a new hair cut. The feel-good hormone here is dopamine.
Dancing - Put some music on and dance away. Either by yourself or with a partner. Think about how you feel, don't you feel better? It feels great, doesn't it? I've always loved dancing, pick my favorite music videos on youtube, and dance. It feels good and it's freeing. No one is watching, no one is judging. It's just you and the music - so dance away.
Dancing is known to improve cognitive skill - spatial awareness. Being aware of our personal space and that of others near us. When we dance, our heart rate rises which causes the 'feel-good hormone' endorphins to be released in the bloodstream. We tend to feel lighter, our worries and stress lifted. That's a great reason to dance.
The sense of euphoria or 'runner's high' we experience after a long run or aerobic exercise, that's endorphins being released in our body. It's a combination of reduced stress, diminished pain, and the sheer joy and satisfaction of completing the run or exercise. If you love running, jogging, or aerobic exercise you know what this feeling is like.
Running isn't the only way to get endorphins. Regular brisk walks also promote endorphins in our body. We'll feel less anxious and less stressed.
Endorphins enable us to push ourselves. To give it all we've got, whether it's an extra 100 yards or a mile.
You've heard of 'Laughter being the best medicine?" Here's why, when we laugh it triggers endorphins to be released. Laughter makes us feel good and we enjoy an overall sense of well being.
Watch comedies or funny movies. Have a good laugh and feel great.
Laughter is an excellent form of stress relief.
Laughter can soothe mental and physical tension. Helps in muscle relaxation and assists to normalize blood pressure.
Seratonin and Dopamine are close cousins, they work similarly - pleasure and reward system. Serotonin helps regulate mood, appetite, and metabolism. The majority of serotonin is stored in the gut. The next time you long for something sweet, salty, or starchy, step back and recall how you are feeling at that precise moment.
Feeling a little down or moody? This is when your brain is sending you encouraging signals to eat your favorite treats since carbs increase serotonin levels. Seratonin improves mental wellbeing, boosts our mood and happiness. That's one reason I think I crave chocolates and ice cream when I have my periods. It makes my cramps and aches less crappy.
Folks who love arts & crafts and gardening are in their zen zone. They tend to be more relaxed and happier. Not only do they feel a sense of well-being when they craft, garden, draw, or paint they also feel happier when they accomplish it.
Here are some activities we can do to elevate serotonin levels in our bodies...
Gardening - A well-tended garden is not only a happy sight it's rewarding too.
Sunlight - spend some time outside, natural light enhances the serotonin.
Finishing art and craft projects are satisfying.
Exercises increase serotonin levels in our bodies.
Enjoy your treats, savor them.
The sole focus of this article was to learn easy ways to get amazing happiness chemicals. I hope this article has shed some light on the four main 'happiness chemicals,' and you find it useful, helpful, and an enjoyable read.