Updated: Jul 25, 2022
Want a quick way to boost your mood - with no preservatives or additives?
There are 7 key hormones we discuss when it comes to happiness:
DOPAMINE: Also known as the "feel good" hormone - it is a part of our brain's "reward system". Dopamine is what "fires" when we achieve something - or even get that "like" (ie. a sense of validation - whether rightly or wrongly) on social media.
SEROTONIN: This is both a hormone and neurotransmtitter which helps regulate our mood, our sleep and even our appetite and digestion (all three of which will in turn affect our overall wellbeing - we tend to "feel better" after a good night's sleep; or when we haven't been "comfort eating").
OXYTOCIN: The "love hormone" which helps promote trust and bonding - with levels increasing with physical affection - and even images which can promote loving memories of people and places.
ENDORPHINS: Known as "nature's pain relief" and are produced in response to stress or discomfort - and increase when we are engaged in activities that we enjoy.
ENDOCANNABINOIDS: These produce a state of "bliss", sometimes also known as the "runner's high" after exercising "in the zone".
GABA: An inhibitory molecule which can slow down the firing of neurons in turn creating a sense of calm
ADRENALINE: The "energy" or "thrill" molecule - releasing the epinephrine which gives us a feeling of "exhilaration."
The best thing about these hormones, however, is that they can be generated naturally by doing the following:
1. Getting out into the sun! Not only does this stimulate the natural production of vitamin D which boosts our immunes system, but serotonin and endorphins can also increase.
2. Exercise! This can release endocannabinoids, but also endorphins and dopamine - especially if you achieve your goals.
3. Laughing. Not only does this trigger a release of endorphins, but if you are having a giggle with friends, you'll elicit the bonding hormone (Oxytocin) too.
4. Stroking a pet. It's not only human hugs and affection that generates oxytocin, but our pets can stimulate it's production in us...and even benefit themselves!!
5. Meditation/Deep breathing. This produces GABA, and if you combine that with nature and sunlight, you'll get the extra boost of serotonin as well!
6. Roller coasters/"Extreme" Sports. If that's what you love - you'll benefit from epinephrine resulting in that sense of excitement. (And for the less adventurous, a horror movie might just do the trick!)
So today, if you're looking for a quick energy lift, give one of those a go - all natural ingredients!!
Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author with a specialty in the "how to take action", rather than just giving explanation and advice. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience. For coaching tools based within positive psychology: click Her YouTube Channel . Twitter/IG @draudreyt