Make Happiness Happen
It would be an understatement to say 2020 was a challenging year. For almost 10 months, we have been enduring a deadly pandemic, divisive politics, civil unrest, high unemployment, and tremendous uncertainty. I think it’s safe to say that we all could use a little more happiness in our lives.
But why wait for happiness to happen when you can make it happen?
Happiness is largely a chemical experience that happens when four main neurochemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters are generated in the brain to create the sensations and emotions that we associate with happiness. While we hope and wait for the world to return to a better place, there are simple ways we can trigger the happy chemicals in our brain and self-administer a dose of happiness. Whether you are feeling blah, anxious, frightened, or sad, give your brain a happy boost by doing things to release these four chemicals - dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin - and cheer yourself up.
Dopamine is the chemical that mediates pleasure in the brain. It is released during rewarding situations like when you accomplish a task or finish a big project. You can also get a dose of dopamine by volunteering and doing acts of kindness.
Oxytocin is sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” because it is associated with close relationships and loving touch. Oxytocin is released when people snuggle or bond socially.
Serotonin helps regulate your mood naturally. When your serotonin levels are normal, you feel happier, calmer, more focused, less anxious, and less moody. You can increase your serotonin through exposure to sunshine, walking in nature, and exercising.
Endorphins are morphine-like chemicals produced by the body that help diminish pain while triggering positive feelings. Endorphins are released after exercise, when we laugh, and when we eat dark chocolate.
Click below to open a pdf that you can print and keep with you for the next time you need a boost of happiness.