Hacking Into Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, & Oxytocin
You do not have a money tree, but you can have a happiness tree. Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins are the quartet responsible for your happiness. Many situations can trigger these neurotransmitters, but rather than being in the passenger seat, strategies you can intentionally make them flow.
How to be happy
Being in a positive state has significant impact on your motivation, productivity, and wellbeing. Below are a few simple ways to hack to your positive neurochemicals:
Dopamine motivates you to take action toward your goals, desires, and needs, and provide you a surge of reinforcing pleasure when achieving them. Procrastination, self-doubt, and insufficient enthusiasm are associated with low levels of dopamine. Studies on rats showed individuals with low levels of dopamine always opted for an easier option, and fewer reward/food; those with higher levels of dopamine exerted the effort necessary to receive double the amount of food.
Break big goals on to little pieces-rather than only allowing your head to celebrate when you’ve hit the tip line, you can create some little finish-lines which releases dopamine. And it’s important to actually celebrate-buy a bottle of wine, or check out your favorite restaurant if you meet a small goal.
learning and growth mindset
And get away from the dopamine hangover; when you tank out after a massive high. Create new goals before achieving your present one. That ensures a regular pattern for experiencing dopamine. As an employer and leader, recognize the accomplishments of your team. Sending a good email, or giving an additional benefit, will allow them to use a dopamine hit and increase future motivation and productivity.
Serotonin flows whenever you feel significant or important. Loneliness and depression are mixed together when serotonin is absent. It’s why people belong to gangs and criminal activity-the culture and ‘community’ facilitate serotonin release. Unhealthy attention-seeking behaviors will also be a cry for what serotonin provides. Princeton neuroscientist Barry Jacobs explains that most antidepressants focus on the output of serotonin.
Reflecting on your past achievements allows your brain to re-live the experience. Your head has trouble telling the main difference between what’s real and imagined, so that it produces serotonin in the two caser. Gratitude practices are popular because of this; they’re reminders that you’re valued and significant, and possess much to value in everyday life. If you need a serotonin boost during a stressful day, take a few moments to reflect on the past achievements and victories.
An alternate way to boost your serotonin levels would be to have lunch or coffee outside and expose you to ultimately the sun for twenty minutes; your skin layer absorbs UV rays which promotes Vitamin-D and serotonin production. Although too much ultraviolet light isn’t good, some daily exposure is healthy for boosting your serotonin levels.
The release of oxytocin creates intimacy, trust, and strengthens relationships. It’s released by men and women during orgasm, and by mothers during childbirth and breastfeeding. Animals will reject their offspring when the release of oxytocin is blocked. Oxytocin increases fidelity; men in monogamous relationships who were given a boost of oxytocin interacted with single women at the greater physical distance than men that weren’t given any oxytocin. Oxytocin could be the glue that binds together healthy relationships.
Sometimes called “the cuddle hormone,” a fairly easy way to keep oxytocin flowing would be to give someone a hug. Dr. Paul Zak explains that inter-personal touch not simply raises oxytocin, but reduces cardiovascular stress and adds to the immune system. Rather than just a hand-shake, have the hug. Dr. Zak recommends eight hugs daily.
Giving someone a present, will also cause their oxytocin levels rise. It is possible to strengthen work and relationships through a simple birthday or anniversary gift.
Endorphins are let go of in response to pain and stress, helping to alleviate anxiety and depression. The surging “second wind” and euphoric “runners high” when running spring from endorphins. Similar to morphine, it acts as an analgesic and sedative, diminishing you see it of pain.
As well as exercise, laughter is amongst the easiest ways to induce endorphin release. Even anticipation and expectation of laugher e.g. attending a comedy show, increases levels of endorphins. Taking your love of life to work, forwarding that funny email, and finding numerous things to laugh at throughout the day is a great way to maintain endorphins flowing.
Aromatherapies: the odor of vanilla and lavender may be linked with the production of endorphins. Research indicates that dark chocolate and spicy foods will result in your brain to release endorphins. Keep some scented oils and dark chocolate at your desk for any quick endorphin boost.