When we feel good, life is a lot easier. We feel motivated; we feel engaged and therefore more productive, and our overall sense of wellbeing is improved. Inspired by the book Inspired to learn more after learning about the ‘dopamine hits’ we get from screens and social media, a friend referred me to the book Meet Your Happy Chemicals by Lorettta Breuning.
Once we learn a little about the ‘Happy Chemicals’- Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins – what they are and how our lifestyle affects them- we gain more control over our life experience.
Dopamine is the do-er. It gets you on the go and you are motivated to take action towards your goals – as an added bonus you get another hit when you achieve these goals. When dopamine levels are low you may feel self-doubt, find yourself procrastinating and generally unmotivated. To increase your dopamine levels do little things to achieve a hit- ie break down tasks into bite-size chunks so you will feel good after doing them. Each time you achieve a mini-goal your dopamine levels will increase. Also allow yourself to celebrate these small achievements.
Seratonin is boosted when you feel important. If Serotonin is low you are likely to feel lonely or maybe depressed. Unhealthy attention seeking is usually done by people seeking approval or acceptance with low serotonin levels. A Daily gratitude practice is one way to naturally increase serotonin; as is sun exposure (vitamin d I s linked to the production of serotonin), just be mindful of the UV index- ie the time of day you are in the sun.
Oxytocin – the love drug– is released by Both genders during orgasm and mothers realease oxytocin whilst breastfeeding. It is linked to fidelity; and you can activate it by giving someone a hug.
Endorphins are released to reduce pain; stress and anxiety. It acts like morphine as an analgesic or sedative. You can induce Endorphins through laughter and exercise.
Want to know more: check out ‘Meet your Happy Chemicals‘ for ways to get high naturally.