D.O.S.E. – The Happy Brain Chemicals that Make You Feel Good
The Benefits of Happiness
- Improved overall health
- improved heart health and lower risk of heart disease
- the ability to combat the stress hormone cortisol
- stronger immune system so you’re less like to get sick
- a healthier lifestyle such as physical activity and sleep habits
- can help reduce aches and pain of those with chronic conditions
- increase life longevity
- Improved creativity and problem-solving skills
- Benefiting the community through involvement with charities
- Having more positive relationships with those around you
- Being able to enjoy life more and get through life challenges easier
- Being happy with what you have
What are the Happiness Chemicals
When you feel good, your brain is releasing one of the happiness chemicals or happy hormones. There are four main happiness brain chemicals:
Each chemical has a job to do and when your brain releases one of these chemicals, you feel good. It would be great if they all surged all the time. However, it does not work this way. Once the chemical has done its job, it will turn off, leaving you with a desire for more. By understanding how these chemicals work, we can better improve our overall happiness by tapping into each of the four happiness chemicals.
Oxytocin gives a feeling of trust, it motivates you to build intimate relationships and sustain them. It is also known as the “cuddle hormone” or “love hormone” because it plays a role in bonding.
This hormone gives you the desire to stick together with those you “trust”, which creates a feeling of safety or comfort. It helps your body adapt to several different emotional and social situations.
Oxytocin can boost your immune system which makes you more resistant to the addictive qualities of dopamine. Unlike dopamine, oxytocin gives you a lasting feeling of calm and safety.
It can help fight stress, improve relationships, and promote long-lasting positive emotions.
How Oxytocin Deficiency Affects You
- Feeling lonely
- Lack of motivation or enthusiasm
- Low energy or fatigue
- A feeling of disconnect from your relationships
- Feeling anxious
How to Increase Oxytocin Levels Naturally
- Physical touch, cuddling, hugging, making eye contact, and even shaking hands
- Socializing (connecting or talking with friends and family reduces cortisol and stimulates your vagus nerve)
- Touching your pet (research shows it lowers blood pressure)
- Getting a massage (reduces stress hormones)
- Acupuncture (elevates oxytocin concentrations)
- Listening to music (has a calming effect on the brain, slow-tempo music has also been shown to increase oxytocin)
- Exercise (stimulates the vagus nerve)
- Cold showers (stimulates the vagus nerve)
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