Today's guest post comes from Thai Nguyen at The Utopian Life and the folks at Visme. They reached out to me since they know I am a big proponent of living a joyful, abundant life! And they have some handy tips for how you can "hack" into the happy chemicals in your body.
So what do you say... ready to start hacking? Take it away guys...
Has someone ever told you that you can’t control what you feel? Well contrary to that belief, your feelings are very much in your control. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.
You may still get angry at someone who has done something to upset you or sad about something you saw on the news. But the good news is, you don't have to stay in that place. You can choose to be happier at any given moment.
And no, I'm not talking about popping a magic pill. You can actually control your "happy chemicals" just by making simple lifestyle changes.
So, what are these happy chemicals?
Happy chemicals are the chemicals in our brain that control or affect our "good vibes" feeling. There are four primary happy chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphins, Oxytocin, and Serotonin. Each of which acts in a different way within our mind and body.
Dopamine motivates you to take action toward your goals, desires and needs, and gives you a surge of reinforcing pleasure when you achieve them. On the contrary, procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are linked with low levels of dopamine.
Released in response to acute pain and stress, endorphins help to alleviate anxiety and depression. The surging “second wind” and euphoric “runners high” when running are also a result of endorphins.
Oxytocin creates intimacy, trust, and strengthens relationships. It is released by men and women during orgasm and by mothers during childbirth and breastfeeding.
Serotonin flows when you feel significant or important. Where loneliness and depression are present when serotonin is absent.
So, how do you go about increasing these happy chemicals in your body? Here are a few easy tips:
- Break big goals down into smaller chunks, so you can create a series of little finish-lines, where dopamine will be released.
- Create new goals before achieving your current one. This will help to ensure a consistent pattern for experiencing dopamine.
- Along with exercise, laughter is one of the easiest ways to induce endorphin release.
- Keep some scented oils and dark chocolate at your desk for a quick endorphin boost.
- Often referred to as “the cuddle hormone,” a simple way to keep oxytocin flowing is to give someone a hug.
- Giving someone a gift will also cause their oxytocin levels to rise.
- Practicing gratitude can help remind you that you’re valued and significant. Try keeping a list or journal of things you are grateful for daily and review it often.
- Daily sun exposure is also effective for boosting your serotonin levels.
Ready to start implementing some of these changes in your life so you can boost your happy chemicals? Save and print this handy infographic Thai made together with Visme as your go-to guide!