Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins are the brain chemicals responsible for our happiness.
These chemicals are can be triggered all the time, even by mundane events. But rather than thinking we have no control over them, science has proven that we can intentionally boost them.
And being in a good state of mind is important for happiness, health and success.
So here are some simple ways to hack our positive neurochemicals:
This is the brain chemical that motivates us and inspires us to take action. Self doubt and laziness has been linked with low levels of dopamine.
Dopamine gets activated when you set goals and achieve them. By breaking big goals into little pieces, you can reach the finish line more often, which will cause dopamine to be released when we complete each little goal.
And some research has found that thoughts of loving kindness brings on a dopamine high as well.
Serotonin gets activated when you feel significant or important. Loneliness and depression occur when serotonin is low.
Most antidepressants focus on the production of serotonin.
To increase this brain chemical, reflect on past achievements and practice gratitude. Not only will you feel significant from what you’ve achieved, but by practicing gratitude, you will realize that there is much to be valued in life.
Some research has found that a higher intake of tryptophan-heavy foods, relative to other foods in the diet, may do the trick as well.
The trust chemical. This brain chemical creates intimacy and is released when we orgasm.
It’s often referred to as the cuddle hormone, so a simple way to keep oxytocin flowing is to give someone a hug!
These rise in response to pain, and they also help reduce anxiety and depression. Along with exercise (perhaps you’ve heard the ‘runner’s high’?), laughter is the one easiest ways to increase this feel good chemical.
In one study, as little as 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill for 10 days in a row was sufficient to produce a significant reduction in depression among clinically depressed subjects.
I hope these tips were helpful. If you’re still feeling a bit down, I highly recommend you check out this infographic on 10 signs you’re doing well in life even if you don’t think so.
Originally published on Ideapod’s blog.