When it comes to being happy, it is not always so easy. Whether you deal with mental health issues or not, being happy is an inherently human goal, despite its elusiveness. While we would all love to sleep 8 hours a night, exercise regularly and eat right, sometimes that just isn’t obtainable. Luckily, there are other ways to help boost our mood, without having to abide by a strict schedule!
Let’s break it down. There are four main chemicals responsible for your ‘happiness’: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins. Or for short, let’s call them our Daily DOSE. They all have their own unique role to play within our brain, but together they work to ensure that our chemicals are putting out ‘happy’ signals. When we feel sad, it could be the result of not receiving enough of any one of these chemicals.
Dopamine - is known as the reward chemical. You can encourage the flow of this chemical by: eating food, celebrating an accomplishment, or listening to music. This chemical enables motivation, helps us learn and allows us to feel pleasure. This chemical is naturally fleeting, which is why it can be one that many chase due to its’ addictive qualities (i.e, instant gratification).
Oxytocin - also known as the love hormone. Activate your oxytocin by: Hugging someone, giving compliments, and or playing with your pet. This chemical is also responsible for our motivation to move forward in building and sustaining relationships by feeling trust. It also helps boost your immune system, which helps fight against the addictive qualities of oxytocin.
Serotonin - the much needed ‘mood stabilizer.’ Balance yourself out by engaging in moments of: Meditation, yoga, sun exposure, or just being in nature. Confidence (especially in social settings) is impacted by the level of this chemical in our body. By helping us feel confident, this chemical helps us achieve success.
Endorphin - our bodies’ natural ‘pain killer’ chemical. Get these juices flowing by: laughing, eating dark chocolate, having sex, and or working out! This chemical engages the feelings of euphoria by masking any pain we might be feeling. Have you ever felt great after a workout despite the burn? You have your endorphins to thank for that!
So when you feel low, check in with yourself. Have you gotten your Daily DOSE? Chances are you might have missed a section! Now getting your daily dose does not automatically qualify you to be the happiest person ever (I wish). But it sure can help boost your chemical levels to give you the best chance of being happier than you were before.
Written by: Emily SchwerdtfegerInstagram: @emily_schwerdt