Hacking Into Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, & Oxytocin

http://theutopianlife.com/2014/10/14/hacking-into-your-happy-chemicals-dopamine-serotonin-endorphins-oxytocin/

“Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins are the quartet responsible for your happiness. Many situations can trigger these neurotransmitters, but instead of being in the passenger seat, there are ways you can intentionally cause them to flow.

Being in a positive state has significant impact on your motivation, productivity, and wellbeing. Here are some simple ways to hack into your positive neurochemicals:

Dopamine

Dopamine motivates you to take action toward your goals and gives you a surge of reinforcing pleasure when achieving them. Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are linked with low levels of dopamine…

Break big goals down into little pieces. Rather than only allowing your brain to celebrate when you’ve hit the big finish line, you can create a series of little finish-lines for frequent dopamine release. And it’s crucial to actually celebrate—buy a bottle of wine, or head to your favorite restaurant whenever you meet a small goal…

Serotonin

Serotonin flows when you feel significant or important. Loneliness and depression are present when serotonin is absent…

Reflecting on your past achievements allows your brain to re-live the experience. Your brain has trouble telling the difference between what is real and what is imagined, so it produces serotonin in both cases. Gratitude practices are popular for this reason, they are reminders and mental pictures of all the good things you’ve experienced. If you need a serotonin boost during a stressful day, take a few moments to reflect on your past achievements and victories…

Oxytocin

The release of oxytocin creates intimacy, trust, and strengthens relationships. It’s released by men and women during orgasm, and by mothers during childbirth and breastfeeding… Oxytocin is the glue that binds together healthy relationships.

Often referred to as “the cuddle hormone,” a simple way to keep oxytocin flowing is to give someone a hug. Dr. Paul Zak explains that inter-personal touch not only raises oxytocin, but reduces cardiovascular stress and improves the immune system…

Endorphins

Endorphins are released in response to pain and stress, and helps to alleviate anxiety. The surging “second wind” and euphoric “runners high” when running are a result of endorphins. Similar to morphine, it acts as an analgesic and sedative, diminishing your perception of pain.

Along with exercise, laughter is one of the easiest ways to induce endorphin release…

Aromatherapies: the smell of vanilla and lavender has been linked with the production of endorphins. Studies have shown that dark chocolate and spicy foods will cause your brain to release endorphins.”

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