Hacking Happiness Chemicals Naturally

hormones self-care

What is a Happiness Chemical?

There are four major chemicals in the brain that influence our state of wellbeing:

  1. Dopamine
  2. Oxytocin
  3. Serotonin
  4. Endorphins

Each play a part in how your body regulates mood. Dopamine is associated with the anticipation of happiness. Oxytocin engages empathy which helps us feel close and bonded to others when it’s released. Serotonin helps regulate mood, and endorphins help you power-through as it masks pain or discomfort. Here are some simple ways to increase your feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters - naturally and at your own pace.

Dopamine a.k.a. The Reward Chemical

  • Eat what your heart desires (but don't binge).
  • Complete and actually cross a task off your list.
  • Take some time for self-care. Whatever that means to you.
  • Celebrate the little wins.
  • You are what you eat: go for omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and mackerel, fruit and vegetables (in particular bananas), almonds and walnuts.
Oxytocin a.k.a. The Love Hormone
  • Flex your Physical Touch Love Language by giving a hug.
  • Hold a lover's hand.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Play with a baby.
  • Give compliments freely.
  • You are what you eat: go for spinach, pumpkin seeds, lima beans, tuna, and brown rice.
Serotonin a.k.a. The Mood Stabilizer
  • Forest bathe or just take a walk in nature.
  • Meditate and express gratitude.
  • Get a dose of vitamin D, courtesy of the sun.
  • Get moving - swim, cycle, jog.
  • You are what you eat: go for omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and mackerel, fruit and vegetables (in particular bananas), almonds and walnuts.

Endorphins a.k.a. The Pain Reliever

  • Breathe in essential oils.
  • Watch something that genuinely makes you laugh.
  • Workout and sweat it out.
  • You are what you eat: go for spicy foods (with chilli peppers for example), dark chocolate, and citrus fruits.

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