How to hack your happy hormones

How to unlock your feel-good hormones.

how to hack your happy hormones

Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person’s own mind, than on the externals in the world.

George Washington.

Who doesn’t want to be happy?

Despite the countless books, films and podcasts that have been created on this topic, the reality is that there isn’t one magic formula to happiness.

Happiness is fleeting: something experienced in brief, euphoric moments, rather than a state we can achieve all the time. It’s also deeply individual: what makes you happy might not make me happy, and vice versa.

However, there are plenty things we can do to help lift our mood when we’re feeling down, and bring more of these moments of joy into our lives. Most of them have something to do with our happy hormones.

What are happy hormones?

Hormones work like chemical messengers in the brain. They travel through the bloodstream, sending signals to different parts of the body to tell them to do things. They’re involved in pretty much every process in the body, from sleep cycles to appetite, stress and sex drive, and play a huge role in our mood and behaviour.

So-called ‘happy hormones’ are those which promote positive feelings like pleasure, joy and love - and basically bring about that warm and fuzzy feeling we call happiness.

The four key happy hormones are: oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.

How to hack your happy hormones

Oxytocin

petting cat oxytocin

Oxytocin is ‘bonding hormone’ (also known as the ‘love’ or ‘cuddle’ hormone). It plays an important role in building relationships and communities, strengthening feelings of love and connection.

To stimulate oxytocin...

  • Stroke a pet
  • Give a compliment
  • Give someone a hug
  • Hold hands with someone you love
  • Give or receive a massage
  • Do something kind for a neighbour

Serotonin

spend time outside to boost your serotonin

Serotonin is a mood stabiliser that improves sleep, reduces anxiety and increases feelings of happiness.

To stimulate serotonin...

  • Spend some time in the sun
  • Do some cardio
  • Meditate
  • Go for a walk

Dopamine

stimulate dopamine with music

Dopamine is the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter that drives your brain’s reward system.

To stimulate dopamine...

  • Eat a sweet treat
  • Tick something off your to-do list
  • Get a massage
  • Listen to some feel-good music

Endorphins

chocolate 2

Endorphins are the brain's natural painkiller, reducing stress and increasing pleasure.

  • Do some exercise
  • Watch something funny
  • Eat some dark chocolate
  • Use aromatherapy oils
  • Have sex

Need a quick mood-booster? Jump into the MindLabs app and try one of these classes...

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