Have you ever ordered medicine from your inner pharmacist to make you feel better?
Wouldn’t that be wonderful – just being happy on order?
It’s possible – and without any illegal substances. Our body has a lot on board to make us happy.
I am sure you have heard of so-called happiness hormones. Hormones are chemical signaling molecules that are released directly into the blood and are thus transported to their place of action. They contain a “message” and this way control functions of our organs. Just like Insulin regulates the reduction of blood sugar after eating.
When we talk about joy, well-being and feelings of happiness, Dopamine and Serotonin are the most common hormones. There are, however, more substances that ensure our well-being:
1. Endorphins – happiness of enthusiasm: When we experience something positive, especially if it is an unexpected experience, endorphins are released. Endorphins are also known as endogenous morphines, because they relieve pain in the body. They also have a calming effect, promote the release of sex hormones and a good night’s sleep and prevent stress.
2. Dopamine – happiness of motivation: Dopamine is the “motivation hormone”. When we have had success or beautiful experiences (e.g. during flow) our brain stores this information and wants more of it. Dopamine is responsible for this wanting, our motivation and our interest. It not only triggers feelings of happiness, but also lust and desire.
3. Oxytocin – happiness of safety: The bonding hormone oxytocin increases trust, our feeling of security and the bond to our partner or child. It is triggered by physical attention, such as touching the skin, petting or a massage.
4. Serotonin – happiness of well-being: Similar to Dopamine, Serotonin is released in moments of happiness – but also in positiv stress. It has many functions and has amongst others a positive effect on our mood and brain capacity. Serotonin is the anti-depressant among hormones. It makes us happy, relaxed, balanced and satisfied.
And here’s what you can do to place your “order with your inner pharmacist” – in other words, boosting the release of the four hormones:
1. Dopamine – goal setting and planning: Find out what makes you happy and plan regular activities. Set yourself goals that you are eager to achieve.
2. Endorphins – pleasure and surprise: Learn to enjoy and indulge – allow yourself to do so! Surprise yourself from time to time and break through the routines to create new, positive experiences.
3. Serotonin – positive stress: Be active in a sport you are familiar with and which does not stress you out. Or go for a walk for 30-60 minutes a day.
4. Oxytocin – together you are less alone: Don’t go all alone. Meet up with friends and enjoy hours of togetherness and physical closeness. (By the way, Oxytocin is also released when you pet your pets :-))
Have fun planning, enjoying and feeling good.
You have everything you need on board!