Last Updated: January 18, 2021
Did you know there is more you could do to become happier than you are today? Yes indeed, and the secret lies in optimizing the so-called happy chemicals inside your body organs.
The happy chemicals are renowned for inducing positive sensations such as
- positive mood
- general happiness
These are all necessary components to make you relax and appreciate life almost in its entirety. The more you run short of them, the more your health succumbs to depression, anxiety, and a lack of interest in life itself.
Well, the secret in happy chemicals is dependent on your optimization of four ‘feel good’ hormones or neurotransmitters known as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins – (DOSE).
To do this effectively, you must watch what you eat and do, and improve your interactions with people and nature.
When you master how to harness the gifts of these neurotransmitters, you will definitely make yourself a notch happier than you are today.
A journey through the world of happy chemical hormones
Overall, hormones and neurotransmitters are the holy grail of body regulation and function. They are messenger molecules of sorts, charged with coordinating and controlling body activities.
Hormone levels rise up and down throughout the day to affect numerous activities in the body.
For example, the melatonin hormone is released early in the night to prepare the body for a good night’s sleep, while cortisol is released in the morning (around 7.00 am) to prepare the body to wake up.
There are over a hundred hormones and neurotransmitters in the human body.
Amidst the pack of all the hormones, four are charged with the responsibility of keeping the body happy:
Serotonin is a ‘feel-good’ hormone/neurotransmitter primarily found in the brain and the intestines. It is known for boosting and regulating mood, emotions, digestion, and the human body clock. It also gives a feeling of well-being and general happiness.
Serotonin is actually produced when you get the feeling of significance or importance.
It influences other factors such as body stability and mobility, and states of mind such as sleep, memory, learning, and concentration.
Elsewhere, scientists believe it is crucial in dealing with neurological disorders, blood clotting, eye health, bone, and heart health.
Lack of sufficient serotonin manifest in a bad mood, a feeling of loneliness, poor memory, poor learning abilities, and poor vision. These may occur due to poor nutrition and drug abuse.
To boost serotonin levels in the body, you need to do the following:
- expose the body to day time sunlight for at least 20 – 60 minutes – depending on your skin color
- engage in physical exercise
- prioritize meditation
- serve prebiotic and tryptophan diets
A prebiotic diet induces the growth of microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria, which is necessary for digestive health.
The prebiotic diet includes vegetables such as onions, garlic, apples, green vegetables, bananas, oats, barley, and bean varieties.
A tryptophan diet is protein-based and includes eggs, milk, cheese, fish, seed varieties, nuts, soy, and poultry.
Oxytocin is also commonly known as the cuddle hormone. Elsewhere, it is called the love hormone or bonding hormone.
Oxytocin is a happy neurotransmitter released in the brain by the hypothalamus.
Females tend to generate more of it than males probably because the hormone is associated with childbirth and breast-feeding. Its production spikes during these times to cement the mother-child bonding.
Oxytocin is also important for the nervous system, stress regulation, and the healing process of the body from pain.
In a broad sense, oxytocin is a catalyzer for relationship traits such as bonding, empathy, generosity, contentment, security, and trust, and elsewhere higher levels of the hormone may explain successful romantic relationships.
Unlike other hormones mentioned here, the amount of oxytocin in your body is dependent on the wellbeing of your relationship and the community where you live.
The better the state of your relationship and the wellness of your community, the more likely the levels of oxytocin in your body will spike.
For example, frequent cuddling, hugging, kissing, eye, contact, communication, and sexual intimacy – including orgasm will supercharge the production of Oxytocin in your body.
You can also meditate, sing and listen to music, spend time with friends, and indulge in a massage to release the hormone. The animation movie Trolls probably explains best the role of music in supercharging happiness.
To sum it up, the happier you are in your relationship and community, the more oxytocin your body releases, and the happier you are in life.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced in the pituitary and hypothalamus glands in your brain to help relieve stress and pain and to give you a sense of excitement.
It is much like an opioids prescription, which is designed to supercharge excitement following periods of stress and pain.
How this works is that you deliberately indulge in a positive activity following stress and anxiety disorders.
Laughter for example is derived through lively activities such as a comedy show or reading a well-told story.
Elsewhere, physical activity, especially running, is known to release the ‘feel-good‘ therapy known as runners high.
The release of endorphins follows a stretch of running down the road which triggers a sense of euphoria, good enough to make you forget your stresses, anxiety, and pain.
Other ways to boost endorphins in the body:
Dopamine is a ‘feel-good’ hormone of pleasure and works as a neurotransmitter of anticipation and curiosity. It is a crucial motivational factor towards achieving set goals, desires, and wants.
The production of the hormone reaches its peak when one is expecting a reward more than when receiving the reward. It is produced at a time when one is anticipating a pleasurable reward such as a gift, food, and even sex.
For example, dopamine is at its highest when you walk down the aisle (anticipation) to tie the knot, compared to when you are done tying the knot (reward). It is also evident when you pull your phone from the pocket (anticipation) following a notification tone.
No wonder employers manipulate dopamine in employees for purposes of motivation, alertness, and focus.
A good employer makes it a habit to appreciate and recognize employee accomplishments by promising and giving bonuses and ‘thank you‘ messages. These lead to dopamine spikes and therefore productivity and motivation boost!
Lack of dopamine in the body manifests in procrastination, distraction, lack of self-belief, boredom, and ultimately enthusiasm.
Other symptoms of lower levels of dopamine;
- Lack of focus
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sugar cravings
- Lower motivation
You can boost dopamine levels in your body by
- getting healthy and sufficient sleep
- participating in physical exercise
- listening to music
- eating food rich in tyrosine
Tyrosine is found in bananas, avocados, eggs, legumes, fish, almonds, and poultry.
The happy chemicals antidote
Like you have probably noticed by now, the secrets to boosting the four ‘happy chemicals‘ lie in eating and living healthy:
In order to superchage happiness in you,
- eat plenty of vegetables and fruits
- serve plenty of legumes and nut seeds
- eat the right amount of protein-rich foods
- get out of the house and enjoy the benefits of the sun, and nature as a whole
- while outdoors, make good use of your four senses: sight, hearing, smell, and taste
- engage in physical exercise every day
- get sufficient and quality sleep at night
- make friends and ensure that friendships count
- avoid too many distractions in your life
- find time to meditate for religious and spiritual reasons
- cultivate a true sense of self-awareness, empathy, and care for yourself and others
- laugh and keep laughing
Trust me, when you implement most of the above, your LIFE will become HAPPIER!