The Neurochemicals of Happiness
Modern (wo)man is becoming less and less self-sufficient. We order out for lunch and dinner; we rely on TV & screens for our constant entertainment; we even rent our homes and call on the super to fix anything amiss. More than this, we have lost the art of writing a letter or a longer form argument due to reliance on quick emails and texts. Call me old fashioned, but I miss receiving more than ads and bills in my snail mail box.
Modern life is quick and casual but also shallow and hallow. Of course there’s a balance, but are we really hitting it? Perhaps if we learned how to slow down and have patience in the small ways we would be able to achieve greater things personally. It all comes down to our brain health and how we can increase the happy neurochemicals in our brain.
Instant gratification is equivalent to a dopamine rush, similar to that of alcohol. Lasting satisfaction comes from a healthy balance of all the neurochemicals. Modern society has become focused on the most addicting, dopamine, to the exclusion of all the others. Dopamine is the “quick win” habit forming neurochemical and actually plays a major role in forming addictions. On the other hand, serotonin is produced through achievement in longterm, multistep plans such as from graduating college or learning an instrument. It can also be increased through activities such as exercise or meditation. Oxytocin is the feel-good cuddle hormone which is very neuroprotective. Oxytocin is produced through bonding in close relationships, hugs, cuddles and sex. It has long lasting positive effects on mood and health. Finally, endorphins are produced during short bursts of intensity, such as pain, laughing, sex or exercise. Endorphins are responsible for a lower pain response and for helping to push through pain when we need to. If you want to increase your endorphins, take a cold shower every morning.
Here are a few simple ways to increase the neurochemicals in your brain:
1. Exercise regularly
2. Eat whole foods
3. Take a cold shower
4. Cuddle & more 😉
5. Invest in your long term goals
6. Invest in your relationships
8. Celebrate small victories
9. Sleep longer
As you can see, it’s important that we partake in different types of activities to achieve a balanced and resilient happiness. Through different actions we can increase the neurochemicals in our brain. We need short term wins, long term close relationships, long term goals that require learning and finally we also need some excitement, laughter and exercise.
How do you balance yourself? Please leave a comment below.
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