How to stimulate the four chemicals that contribute to happiness
There are four chemicals in our brains that contribute to our happiness. When we understand how to stimulate these chemicals, we have significant power to create happiness for ourselves and those we care about.
You have probably heard of these chemical, but do you know how to stimulate them?
Let’s take a look!
Endorphins are released in our brains in response to stress and pain. They help us to cope with emotional and physical pain (which our brain is unable to differentiate) by reducing our perception of it. Exercise and laughter stimulate the release of endorphins and create a natural high so it is important to include both in our lives.
Dopamine is the pleasure centre of our brains. It is produced when we anticipate a reward that we desire and motivates us to perform an action to receive it. If we have low levels of dopamine, we will feel unmotivated. To stimulate dopamine release, we only need to think about rewards so it is important to implement rewards for behaviours that help rather than harm us.
Serotonin is produced in our gut to assist with mood regulation, appetite, memory and learning and sexual arousal. It is released when we feel significant or important and why we enjoy a sense of belonging. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to loneliness and depression. To stimulate serotonin release, reflect on what you are grateful for, think about your achievements and recall memories where you contributed value. There will definitely be some so make sure you persist with this. Like everything, it will become easier with practice and will contribute to your health and happiness. As serotonin is produced in the gut, a healthy diet is essential to its production so if you’re feeling lonely or sad, Serotonin and Vitamin D are also released when the skin absorbs UV rays so spend 20 minutes outdoors each day to get a healthy amount of exposure to natural sunlight.
Oxytocin is stimulated through an experience or thoughts about love and connection. It promotes empathy, trust, love and bonding between humans. Being kind stimulates oxytocin in both the giver and the receiver by making us feel connected. This is why kindness is contagious and can be the way one person can really make the world a better place.
So next time you notice you are not as happy as you would like to be, take a moment to consider what you are able to do to improve your mood and give it a try.
You are likely to have more control over your happiness than you think.
Download this A4 Happy Chemicals sheet and have it available as a gentle reminder when you would like to create more happiness.