Karla Johanna Schaeffer
Happy-Hormones. 10 tips for Activating Happy-Hormones on Your Own.
In this post, I'd like to share 10 ways you can activate happiness hormones inside you. Actively and deliberately. Your body is the biggest pharmacy you can imagine!
Without happiness hormones we could neither feel nor think clearly. They enable us to make decisions and they also determine how we deal with stress or what impact bad news or a difficult situation has on us.
What we do, eat, think and say influences which and how many happiness hormones are released. With quite small changes in our daily lives we can influence our internal chemical processes. We can ensure that more happiness hormones are released, which provide a nice and pleasant feeling of happiness.
Our body produces six different happiness hormones: serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, endorphins, phenethylamine and oxytocin.
Anxiety affects the immune system as well as stress affects the immune system. Every thought you think affects the immune system positively or negatively.
Anxiety can occur when events or situations are followed by an excessive stress response in the body. When stress hormones are triggered.
But just the opposite is also possible and can be consciously activated and that's what this post is about.
When we relax our nervous system it makes us healthy, energize us and heal us. And our body itself can create hormones that trigger feelings of happiness in us and activate our self-healing powers.
And this is how it works:
Tip 1: Hug others
When we hug others, more oxytocin is released. This happiness hormone makes us feel more connected, warm inside and can reduces anxiety. For more oxytocin, find people you like and love and have more physical contact. Be close.
When the oxytocin level in your body rises, it's really hard to feel angry or anxious.
Many people are frustrated with their work, or impatient, angry, judgmental towards themselves and others.
The problem is that when you are in this not very pleasant state of being, you can only see or perceive things that correspond to that emotion. So the more you live in this state, it's almost like you're looking for or creating a reason to be frustrated. Maybe you can reflect on that with a specific situation from the last few days. I can think of several right off the top of my head. Either way, if you feed this feeling, this kind of interaction between your inner and outer worlds will cause things to continue to get worse. The result is that you become more frustrated, more anxious, and more impatient.
Try to break this cycle, first by becoming aware of it. And then go to the people you like and love, hug them or try one of the following options to experience more pleasant and more fulfilling feelings and states of being.
Tip 2: Enjoy the sun
Sunlight helps increase the production of serotonin. Try spending your lunch break outside. Try gardening or taking a walk.
Sunlight also improves the release of the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps you sleep more deeply and restfully at night.
Tip 3: Exercise
Exercise is a quick and effective way to increase the production of endorphins. Any type of exercise works. Whether it's cleaning, gardening, biking, dancing, jogging or swimming. There is a reason for the term 'runners high', where runners often experience a flow moment. Everything runs, flows virtually by itself.
Endorphins are opioid peptides that have a pain-relieving or pain-suppressing effect. They can also reduce stress, relieve tension in the body, interrupt never ending thought-spirals and increase joy.
Regular workouts, such as jogging are also very helpful for depression because of the changes in chemical processes in the brain and body.
Tip 4: Do something good
The love we give to others always comes back to ourselves. This is not an empty saying, because when WE do good, WE activate feelings of happiness and happiness hormones in ourselves, which then make US happy. So doing good is something we do for ourselves as well as others. When we love life, life loves us back. We can do something good for others and bring them joy. Since the beginning of time, our human ancestors have evolved by helping each other. When oxytocin levels are raised, most people experience intense feelings of love, forgiveness, compassion, joy, wholeness and empathy - this is an internal state. Not something external that happens but a feeling that arises within us. Like every feeling by the way.
Love is not something you have. Love is something you do.
Tip 5: Challenges
Challenges shape us. They help us grow and be happier. In order to feel pride. To develop and recognize our strength.
When we overcome our own limitations happiness hormones are released. The more difficult the challenge was, the happier we are when we have overcome it.
Tip 6: Mentally put ourselves in beautiful situations
Just thinking about beautiful and fun moments increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is necessary for the function of the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain helps control emotions.
Sit on the sofa, turn on some nice music and remember wonderful moments. Or start daydreaming by imagining nice future scenarios. This is like a little meditation and you program your body for happiness and relaxation with these beautiful thoughts and feelings.
Tip 7: Build up the intestinal flora
Serotonin makes us feel good. Since about 95% of serotonin is made in the gut, it's important that your gut is healthy to be able to produce these hormones.
You can help your body producing serotonin with a balanced and healthy diet. Probiotics and prebiotics help increase good gut bacteria. This supports serotonin production and helps reduce anxiety and depression. Fermented foods, such as kimchi or sauerkraut can be helpful.
The amino acid tryptophan, which is comes in fish and nuts is important. But vitamin B6, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are also crucial for the formation of serotonin.
Vitamin D, which can be taken in through a balanced diet but it is also produced by the sun. Vitamin D is important for supporting your immune system and has also been linked to our mental health in scientific studies.
Vitamin B6 unfortunately cannot be fully produced by the body alone, but fortunately is found in many foods. Good plant sources include avocados, cabbage, green beans and lentils. Good animal sources are poultry and fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly in fish such as salmon and mackerel.
So you see that you don't have to reach for chemical mood enhancers because certain foods can help you increase your happy hormones. So to speak, they are natural antidepressants and it's worth integrating these foods into your diet. Chocolate is able to release endorphins. At the same time chocolate helps to increase the level of serotonin, which increases concentration and alertness and helps to relax more. Dark chocolate or raw cacao is best for this purpose.
And the smell of vanilla also stimulates the production of endorphins. (I think that's why there are so many vanilla scented candles. Essential oils with vanilla are great).
Tip 8: Wash your face with cold water
Cold water indirectly stimulates the vagus nerve, which regulates important body functions. It also controls chemical processes in our digestive tract, influences our breath and can greatly affect your mood.
The cold water also invigorates the body and makes you feel more energetic and alert.
Tip 9: Diaphragmatic Breathing
Long, deep breaths into your abdomen calm your nervous system, slow your heart rate and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which affects the brain.
Simply place your hand on your abdomen and take a slow deep breath. While inhaling, count to 4 in your mind and then slowly exhale and count to 6. This simple thing alone, lengthening your exhalation has an absolutely calming and restorative effect on your body. During the inhalation your belly should inflate and during the exhalation it should flatten. Do this at least 10 times and preferably several times a day.
Tip 10: Smile
Smiling makes us happy. When we smile our face not only shows the emotion but also creates it. We feel better and become happier. A smile sends a message through your whole body. Just by raising the corners of your mouth and being a little more upright and free-spirited, completely different hormones are released, namely happiness hormones.
Smiling also helps to reduce stress, provides more energy, joie de vivre and has many physical and psychological benefits.
It can be as simple as that. Use these 10 tips to activate your happiness hormones.