Hey Angels and Alphas,
As you know, hormones are chemicals that are produced by the various glands spread across your body. They make their way through your bloodstream, preforming the duties of messengers and making sure various bodily processes are working optimally.
One of these important functions is regulating your mood and energy, and certain hormones are known for promoting feelings of positivity, happiness, pleasure, and fulfillment.
These hormones, more commonly known as “happy hormones”, include:
- Serotonin is a hormone and neurotransmitter that helps your body regulate mood, sleep, appetite, memory, digestion, and more.
- Dopamine is the ultimate “feel-good” chemical, as it plays a vital role in your body’s brain reward system. It’s associated with pleasure, learning, motor system function, and more.
- Endorphins are the body’s natural pain reliever, and they’re produced by your body in response to discomfort, stress, and fear. Endorphins are also released when you eat, train, or reward in other reward-producing activities.
- It’s often called the love hormone. It’s essential to many bodily processes such as childbirth, parent-child bonding, relationships, trust, empathy, and it generally increases with physical acts like cuddling, kissing, and so on.
Today, we’re going to look at these natural mood-boosting hormones and find out how to make the best out of all of them. Let’s get started.
Exercise plays a vital role in the management of these hormones.
Exercise has many physical health benefits, but it’s also well known to have a positive impact on mental health and emotional well-being.
The very common term “runner’s high” is a result of the endorphin release that happens during exercise.
That being said, exercise doesn’t just work on endorphins.
If you partake in regular physical activity, you’re boosting your dopamine and serotonin levels.
Bring this together, and exercise becomes one of the best options for boosting your happy hormones and becoming happier, more productive, and more fulfilled.
And so does going outside.
If you’re looking to boost your endorphin and serotonin levels, spending time outdoors is one of your best and simplest choices.
According to research done over a decade ago, exposure to sunlight alone can boost production of both these chemicals and make you happier and more positive.
If you’re stressed right now, start with 10-15 minutes of walking outside every day. Parks are a great place to do this since being around nature always has a positive effect on people.
But what about diet?
It’s a fact – the enjoyment you receive from eating something you love can trigger spikes in dopamine, as well as endorphins. Studies have shown that sharing your meal with someone you love can also boost oxytocin levels because of the bonding over meal preparation.
Many foods also have a direct impact on your hormone levels, so remember this when you’re planning a happy hormone boost meal:
- Foods containing probiotics – yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles – they influence the release of these hormones.
- Yogurt, eggs, almonds, and meats are linked to dopamine releases.
- Foods high in tryptophan can help increase serotonin levels.
- Spicy foods trigger endorphin releases.
There are also supplements out there.
Many nutritional supplements are aimed at increasing the levels of happy hormones you have, but most of them are built upon or directly linked to one of these nutrients:
- Green tea and green tea extracts trigger dopamine and serotonin releases
- Tryptophan, for the reasons we mentioned above
- Probiotics for dopamine and serotonin
- Tyrosine, linked to dopamine production
All in all, experts who have studied the effects of these supplements have come to a variety of conclusions, and there’s more research needed to prove the supportive benefits of these supplements.
While supplements can be helpful, they’re not recommended for most people, especially those who have certain health conditions since they can interact with certain medications due to their hormone-changing properties.
What about our hobbies and social activates? Can they help too?
Yes, even laughing with a friend can relieve feelings of anxiety and stress, and turn a frown upside down due to its dopamine and endorphin-boosting qualities.
Have you ever heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine?”
Moreover, bonding over something funny with your friend or a loved one could even trigger oxytocin releases.
Moreover, listening to music is also an amazing opportunity to boost your hormones.
Research has shown that listening to instrumental music can increase dopamine production, especially if it’s that type of music that gives you chills.
But simply listening to your favorite tracks is enough too. Putting on some music you enjoy will rarely fail to put you in a good mood, and a positive change in your mood increases serotonin production.
Not only that, but musicians also experience endorphin releases when creating music. Creating, performing, dancing, singing, they’re all linked to endorphin releases, which is why a lot of musicians experience a creative high they describe as a “flow state.”
Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to your hormones.
Not getting enough sleep makes you cranky – that’s no secret to anyone!
Not getting enough sleep means tanking your hormones (especially dopamine.) This obviously has negative effects on your mood, not to mention, your physical health.
Not getting enough quality sleep can affect your health in multiple ways.
That’s why setting aside 8 hours a night for quality sleep helps you restore the much-needed hormone balance in your body, automatically making you feel better.
Here are my quick three tips for getting a good night’s sleep every night.
- Decrease your caffeine intake in the afternoon, and don’t go heavy on the carbs before bed
- Create a quiet sleeping environment with no screens, light, or noise
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, create a sleep schedule
What’s the role of meditation on these hormones?
If you meditate already, you probably already know how powerful it is when it comes to reducing stress and improving sleep quality.
Some studies done back in the early 2000s have linked meditation to increased dopamine production (during the actual practice.) Later research even linked it to endorphin releases.
If you’re not sure how to start, choose a comfortable place to sit, sit down quietly, and observe your thoughts. Don’t try to cling to thoughts, judge them, or remove them. Simply observe them quietly by acknowledging their temporary nature.
Do this for 15 minutes a day, and you have a new secret weapon when it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety.
Overall, finding new ways to manage stress will always mean you’re impacting your hormones positively.
Everyone experiences stress, there’s no denying that.
But living with it all the time without making an effort to relax, especially around stressful life events, can tank your dopamine and serotonin production, ruin your mood, and making it even harder to deal with stress in the future.
If you’re experiencing stress, the best advice you can get is to take a break from its source.
Everything we discussed so far will go a long way to helping you deal and reduce that stress by boosting your serotonin, dopamine, endorphin, and oxytocin levels. That being said, your journey toward a happier you stars when you acknowledge the importance of your hormones and you make an effort to work with them – not against them.