Hormones play a role on our level of happiness. Are you aware of the main ones?
Dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphin participate in the transmission of information in our body, between neurons (they act as neurotransmitters) or via the blood to the organs (we speak of hormones). Each of them is secreted in specific situations and is linked to the activation of so-called “positive” emotions. By focusing on these hormones, we can learn about our behaviors and situations that will trigger them.
- Endorphin is produced during a significant effort: for example jogging or laughing. A few minutes is enough to feel the benefits. In addition to its short-term effects (sensation of pleasure, anti-pain …), endorphin is effective in limiting the harmful effects of stress.
Tip: head over to the closest laughing or yoga club, or get ready for a good meal in front of your favorite comedy.
- Dopamine is caused by situations that are assessed as pleasant by our brain and generates a feeling of pleasure (what we feel when we eat a piece of chocolate). The pleasure then felt becomes a great incentive to action our goals and create again this sensation. Dopamine then makes us want to experiment and take on challenges. In contrast, a low level of dopamine is found in people who have a tendency to procrastinate or lack enthusiasm.
Tip: Break down your long-term goals into short-term achievable micro-goals.
- Oxytocin plays a key role in our social relationships. Indeed, it is produced during positive social relationships (for example: a hug, compliments received or given, when we make or receive a gift …). It creates in us a sense of intimacy and trust that in turn facilitates social interactions and altruistic or cooperative behaviors.
Tip: Allow yourself pure moments of tenderness. Take in your arms, your partner, your children or your animals.
- Serotonin regulates our mood. It is known to be involved in the phenomena of depression. It is produced when we feel recognized for our true worth. It makes us feel serene and optimistic while a lack of serotonin promotes irritability and impulsiveness. Like endorphin, secretion of serotonin is facilitated by physical activity. In addition, exposure to the sun also promotes a satisfactory serotonin level.
Tip: Learn how to value your successes. For example at the end of the day, take a few minutes to write down what you did today.
I believe having an understanding of our body and how we can self-regulate our emotions is key. It helps us in being proactive and avoiding reaching out automatically for medication.