4 Happiness Chemicals & How to Hack Them in Your Brain
Master Your Happiest Mindset
Ahh, the secret to happiness. A long sought-after quest that's been baffling humankind for as long as we can remember. Countless books have been written by self-proclaimed inspirational gurus promising to let you in on the secret to a successful and fulfilling life. After all, all everyone really wants is to be happy. But is there really a tried-and-true recipe for happiness?
Well, not quite. The truth is, everyone has different aspirations and journeys that lie ahead of them, and no one person can give you an instruction manual for what will make you happy.
However, there are some - 4 to be exact - key similarities that all of us share: Feel-good brain chemicals. Thanks to science, we’re able to identify the very juices that flow in our brains that allow us to feel satisfied, loved, accomplished, and all of those "good feels" we associate with happiness.
Furthermore, there's proven ways we can actually stimulate these chemicals on a daily basis, and they're shockingly simple to implement... Check out these 4 powerful happiness chemicals & discover how to hack them in your favor:
4: THE REWARD CHEMICAL
Dopamine is the chemical that motivates and drives you towards achieving your goals, and is released from things like praise, achievement, positive outcomes and food.
Going back to caveman times, this was the chemical responsible for driving us to find our next meal in order to survive. These days, things aren’t so simple. Still, it’s essential your brain releases dopamine in order to keep on keepin’ on.
How to Hack It
Break big goals into smaller goals, and make sure to reward yourself with every goal accomplished to keep the dopamine flowing. In other words: Celebrate the small victories, and don’t be afraid to treat yo’self! Allow yourself to indulge in a guilty pleasure, whether it be a night at the steakhouse or splurging on that fancy bottle of single malt you’ve been eyeing up.
3: THE love hormone
To be scientific about it, this is another one with a very specific evolutionary purpose: Strengthen bonds between humans, mainly for the purpose of reproduction. While oxytocin-bombing sensations like sex and parent-child bonding aren’t always the most accessible, there are still ways you can activate this natural love drug in your everyday life.
How to Hack It
Intimacy doesn’t always have to be physical. Simply paying someone a compliment, helping them out, and spending time with loved ones can do wonders to boost your oxytocin levels. Don’t shy away from wishing your long lost pal or new acquaintance a happy birthday or simply a hello. Whether it be family, friends, or even a coworker, let this be your sign to give them a call and check in!
2: THE Mood Stabilizer
Serotonin is a big one when it comes to your overall mental health. That's why this mighty neurotransmitter is a common focal point when seeking treatment for disorders like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. They're a mouthful of heavy-sounding conditions, but luckily for us, reaping the benefits of serotonin can be actually quite simple...
How to Hack It
It all comes down to your mindset. If you find yourself in a revolving door of negative thought processes like rumination and anxiety, there are a number of things you can do to shift your mindset and replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Meditating, sun exposure, and being with nature are all ways you can boost your serotonin levels. Get out there and take in some new scenery!
1: THE painkiller
Ever felt on top of the world after a vigorous workout? You can thank your endorphins for that ‘runner’s high’ you’re feeling. Associated with feelings of euphoria, pleasure, sexuality and pain relief, there’s nothing quite like a rush of endorphins to put you in a state of absolute bliss.
How to Hack It
Exercise is the big winner here. Not only beneficial for endorphins, regular physical activity can also increase your dopamine and serotonin levels, so get out there and get your blood pumping! To achieve the notorious "runner’s high", research suggests you should perform at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise - so no skimping on the cardio.
PRO TIP: If you can get outside for a jog or bicycle ride, even better. Soak up some vitamin D to get that sweet serotonin while boosting your endorphins for a double-whammy of happy juices. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
By tapping into your headspace, you can easily manipulate your brain chemistry and work these 4 happiness helpers to your advantage.
Thanks for reading, stay strong warrior.
Maggie Johnson | MME Wellness Contributor
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