Can you “hack” happiness? Medical experts have discovered that there are ways to release happy hormones naturally into your body. These hormones promote feelings of positivity, love, and contentment. What are those ways? Find out here.
What are the happy hormones?
While we mostly associate hormones with physiological functions (menstrual cycle, growth, etc.), they also serve as mood-regulators. In fact, several hormones are considered “happy hormones” because they improve your mood and reduce stress. The following are some of your happy hormones:
Dopamine. Also called the “feel-good” hormone, dopamine often gives off joyful and pleasurable feelings.
Oxytocin. Referred to by many as the “love hormone,” oxytocin provides a sense of trust and affection. It is no wonder that this is the hormone that promotes parent-child connection during childbirth and breastfeeding.
Endorphins. If you are in pain, endorphins will act as your body’s natural “pain-relievers.”
Serotonin. This is a hormone that affects your mood. Most people are familiar with serotonin because of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). These antidepressants increase a person’s levels of serotonin, which in turn helps treat depression symptoms.
So, how do you naturally release your happy hormones? You can try these mood-boosting tips:
Spend time with your loved ones
Did you ever wonder why you get a happy feeling whenever you spend quality time with your friends, family, and significant other?
You may say that it’s because you love them, and you wouldn’t be wrong. According to experts, spending time with your loved ones triggers the release of oxytocin. Generally, oxytocin gives positive feelings like trust, euphoria, and affection.
There are many ways by which you can hack your happy hormones through oxytocin release. Aside from spending time with your loved ones, you can also take care of your pets or get a massage from your partner (don’t forget to return the favor!). Massage therapy also releases other happy hormones like endorphins and serotonin.
Set small, achievable goals
Do you remember a time when someone praised you and it made you feel good? Experts say that’s the rush of dopamine.
To get that same rewarding feeling, set small and manageable goals that you can achieve within the day. They can be simple things like reading a short story or preparing lunch from scratch. Seeing that you have ticked all (or at least most) of what’s in your to-do list for the day will surely give you a sense of fulfillment.
To release happy hormones naturally, experts suggest exercising regularly. According to reports, moving about releases a lot of happy hormones–endorphins and serotonin included. The minute your heart starts pumping, endorphins rush into your bloodstream. This immediately reduces your perception of pain.
If it’s you’re new to physical exercise, you can start with low-impact workouts. Exercise for as little as 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day and you’ll not only hack your happy hormones; you’ll also gain stronger bones and muscles, sleep better at night, and lose weight.
Another reason why exercise makes you happy is that it can clear your mind. So, try to get moving the next time you’re feeling down or worried!
Get some sunshine!
When was the last time you exposed yourself to warm, healthy sunshine? If you haven’t done so in a while and you’re feeling a little gloomy, it may be time to go on a morning stroll.
A healthy dose of sunlight helps our bodies produce Vitamin D. You may already know that Vitamin D is important for strong bones, but you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s also crucial in the production of happy hormones like endorphins and serotonin.
In case you can’t find the time to go out in the sun, you can also get Vitamin D from food like beef liver, fatty fish, cheese, and egg yolks.
Try laughter therapy
When you laugh, then you are most certainly happy. This is a given, right?
However, scientists have discovered that one of the reasons why it feels so good is that your body releases happy hormones when you laugh. In a small study in 2017, researchers found that social laughter can trigger the release of endorphins.
So, while laughing-out-loud cannot cure any disease, it will surely lighten the load and ease negative feelings like stress. For this reason, don’t hesitate to stream a comedy or flip through a funny book when you’re feeling down or anxious. It’ll be even better if you’ll share a happy moment with a friend or family, as this will trigger the release of oxytocin, too.
Do things that give you pleasure
Since dopamine drives pleasure-seeking behavior, don’t hold yourself back if you want to indulge in some fun, pleasurable activities. Of course, make sure that the activity is healthy and not dangerous.
You can listen to your favorite music, compose a song, or even dance in your bedroom! The best tip here is to reconnect with your old hobbies or find a new activity that you can be passionate about.
Eat food that releases those happy hormones
Finally, the most interesting way to release happy hormones naturally is with food:
- Chocolates. Since processed milk chocolates can negatively affect your blood sugar levels, go for the dark variety instead. Have 2 to 3 servings in a week to reap its other benefits.
- Food rich in Vitamin B. Vitamin B helps our bodies produce happy hormones, so consider adding vitamin B-rich foods like chicken, red meat, tuna, and leafy greens to your meals.
- Nuts and seeds. Most nuts and seeds have tryptophan, an important precursor for serotonin. They are also high in antioxidants, which can potentially reduce the risk of depression.
- Serotonin-rich food. Some fruits, like bananas, kiwis, and pineapples, have high amounts of serotonin. Consume them for a quick mood boost.
Most of the hacks that release your happy hormones also promote healthy habits, so there’s no harm in trying them out when you’re feeling a little blue. However, if you often feel sad, anxious, or depressed and you can’t seem to find ways to lift your spirits, consult your doctor for a proper assessment.
Learn more about Health Mind here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.