What we’ll cover
Serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins are famously happy hormones that promote positive feelings like pleasure, happiness, and even love. Certain tasks we perform or actions we take can alter the production levels of these hormones and therefore we can intentionally cause them to flow.
These current times of uncertainty and anxiety of what’s around the corner can mean the flow of these hormones are few and far between. In this blog, our physiotherapist Amelia Thomas discusses what they actually are and how you can work towards small goals each day to help improve your overall physical and mental health and happiness.
Endorphins: The Pain Killer and Runner’s High
Endorphins are hormones that function as the body’s natural painkiller and induce euphoria. They inhibit the transmission of pain signals in the central nervous system and act as the body’s natural morphine. This hormone is commonly referred to as “runner’s high” due to the big rush of endorphins that are released after a run or exercise. The combination of endorphins and dopamine explains why people get hooked on running.
Dopamine: The Reward Chemical
This chemical is part of the brain’s reward system, it’s what gives you pleasurable sensations and keeps you coming back for more once you achieve a goal, desire or need. Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are linked with low levels of dopamine. Breaking larger goals down into smaller ones, and celebrating your success more frequently, is the key to ensuring dopamine levels remain high.
Serotonin: The Mood Stabiliser
Serotonin is mainly produced in your gut and has a big role in regulating your mood. It is present when you feel significant and important, and scarce when lonely and depressed. A regular fitness regimen is known to boost serotonin and therefore mood, relieve anxiety, and even combat depression. It also boosts the diversity of your gut microbiome, which is equally beneficial for overall health.
Oxytocin: The Love Hormone
Oxytocin gives a feeling of trust, it motivates you to build intimate relationships and sustain them, hence often deemed the “love hormone”. It is the desire to stick together with those you “trust”, which creates a feeling of safety or comfort. Importantly, oxytocin can boost your immune system, help fight stress, improve relationships and promote long-lasting positive emotions.
Here a few suggestions that you may want to use to help boost the production of these hormones:
|Dopamine (The Reward Chemical)
Completing a task and celebrating (even the small wins)
|Serotonin (The Mood Stabiliser)
Running, Cycling or Swimming (Exercise!)
Walking (better if in nature)
|Endorphins (The Pain Killer)
The smell of lavender and vanilla
|Oxytocin (The Love Hormone)
Giving a compliment
Playing with a dog or baby
Hugging a loved one
There are some natural ways to increase your levels of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin which will boost your mood, emotions, and even cognitive function. Activities like exercise, eating a meal with loved ones, celebrating your small wins and increasing your intake of prebiotics and probiotics are all beneficial.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve been doing to boost your happy hormones. Contact us today.