SIX RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR HAPPY CHEMICALS
Good News! We can train our brains to make us happier!
According to Loretta Breuning PH. D we have the ability to work with our four main happy chemicals – dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin and serotonin. We CAN stimulate our our positive neurochemicals. Your brain is wired from past experience. Each time your neurochemicals surged, your neurons built connections. Experience wired you to turn on your brain chemicals in the ways they turned on in the past.
She goes on to say when you’re young, your neurons build new connections easily. After eighteen, it’s not easy to build new circuits to turn on in new ways. It takes a lot of repetition. So pick a new happy habit and start repeating it. Over time, your new happy habits will feel as natural as your old ones.
To stimulate positive neurochemicals practice the following:
1. Embrace a new goal.
Embrace a new goal and take small steps toward it every day. Your brain will reward you with dopamine each time you take a step. The repetition will build a new dopamine pathway
2. Take time to exercise
One of the great benefits of exercise is the release of endorphin. Endorphins are healing hormones that mask pain and give you a rush of good feelings. This can also help increase assimilation points to deal with stress.
Vanilla and lavender aromatherapy is also linked with a release of endorphin.
4. Enjoy some dark chocolate
Some studies have shown dark chocolate and spicy foods can trigger endorphin production. Well, there you go all you chocolate lovers; another reason to take therapeutic doses of chocolate!
Laughing, or even the expectation of something funny (like when you play a humorous joke on someone) can increase the levels of endorphin.
6. Hug someone
Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter. It regulates social interaction and plays a role in bonding, empathy, and generosity behaviors.
According to Dr. Paul Zak, an expert on oxytocin, a simple way to keep it flowing is to give someone a hug. He explains that inter-personal touch not only raises oxytocin, it reduces cardiovascular stress and improves the immune system. When we hug or kiss a loved one oxytocin levels increase.
7. Build trust
Trust also triggers oxytocin. Conversely, your brain releases unhappy chemicals when your trust is betrayed.
Breuning says you can stimulate oxytocin by building trust consciously. Create realistic expectations that both parties can meet. Each time your expectations are met, your brain rewards you with a good feeling. Continual small steps will build your oxytocin circuits. Trust, verify, and repeat. You will grow to trust yourself as well as others.
8. Believe in yourself
Serotonin flows when you possess self-confidence. Loneliness and depression ensue when it’s absent. Needless to say, it is in our best interests to develop belief in ourselves and our self-worth.
When we focus on the downs/losses we will decrease our serotonin levels. If, however, we reflect upon our achievements, practice gratitude, and think about the good things we’ve accomplished, we can boost serotonin production.