Seems like I’m all about happiness lately. That’s a good thing. Recently, I had a conversation with a client regarding happiness, and I told her she should find ways to increase her happiness hormones. She had no idea what I meant, and asked me to explain. Some of you may be all too unfamiliar with the happy hormones and not so hormones that take up residence in our bodies.
Hormones are chemicals that are released into the blood and they target specific cells and carry out specific functions. They are responsible for all the feelings and emotions we experience on a daily basis: happiness, sadness, stress, fear, love, hate, etc.
It’s all about the appy hormones in this post, the ones that are associated with good feelings. Keep in mind, that though these hormones stimulate happy, joyful feelings in our bodies, if you do not alleviate and or manage the issue that’s causing stress or unhappiness in your live, these hormones will come and quickly go, and your feelings of joy or happiness will be very short-lived. The objective is to incorporate strategies in your life to prolong the stay of the happiness hormones.
Seratonin – also known as the happy hormone and neurotransmitter that is responsible for repressing depression. Increase your seratonin levels by incorporating exercise, and carbohydrate foods into your diet.
Dopamine – also dubbed the happy hormone, and is largely responsible for feelings of happiness. A lack of dopamine has been linked to stress, sadness, diseases like alzheimers, schizophrenia, and ADHD. The body makes dopamine naturally, so incorporating healthy, whole foods that are nutrient dense will promote an increased production of dopamine. Short bursts of cardio and weight lifting that gets your heart rate going will also increase production of dopamine. Avoid or limit foods that are high in cholesterol and sugar. Eat bananas, which contain potassium and will also pump up production. Generally speaking, a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle is the key to normal dopamine production and levels.
Endorphins – are neurotransmitters that are released by the pituitary gland and other parts of the body. It’s effects are compared to morphine and codine, minus the addiction. They are responsible for decreasing the feelings associated with pain and stress, and promote feelings of euphoria. Increase your endorphin levels by laughing, loving a lot, exercising, doing more of what you love, drink ginseng tea, sniff some vanilla extract, eat some spicy foods, and did I forget to mention sex, and orgasms are game.
Phenyletamine – is an organic compound that’s responsible for improving happiness and euphoria due to it’s stimulating properties. It releases norepinephrine and dopamine, two chemicals with anti-depressive properties. Spinach contains phenyletamine.
Bottom line? Do for your body so your body can do for you. It’s my mantra. It’s hard. But, I try. We can do this. Let’s be happier, and it doesn’t have to be ever after, just as much as we can be.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, health and wellbeing consultant and Qigong instructor. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo and more. She is the founder of Inside Outer Beauty Market, a multi-cultutal retailer curating and creating products to support the body inside and out. Visit the site at www.iobeautymarket.com