What Makes Us Happy?

Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a rut? Almost as if you no matter how long you rested for you would still feel tired. Have you felt so busy and stressed that even “the little things” would get you in a cranky mood? Our body is constantly releasing chemicals, but what are the chemicals that make you feel good?

There are 4 happy hormones your body releases to essentially feel good. They are dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Here are some activities you can do throughout your day to release these feel good hormones.

Serotonin, also known as the mood stabilizer. When thinking of serotonin often people correlate this hormone getting released through meditation and prayer. Gratitude is a simple way to release serotonin. You can write down the things you are grateful for first thing in the morning or right before bed. Even giving thanks to God will help release this happy hormone. Often we get busy living our life and often take for granted the very things that help keep us alive. Going outside and taking a walk in nature has been shown to boost serotonin levels.

Oxytocin is known as the social hormone. I like to think of it as a circle or community of people. Being around others is the basis for human survival. Even in caveman days they had tribes of people. We are all interconnected, we are here to live and thrive as human species. Tasks you can do to release oxytocin in your body are to hold a hand, give a gift, get a pet, and go out and socialize.

Endorphins and dopamine work together. They both make your body happy. Endorphins act as your pain reliever. When you exercise, endorphins are released to naturally soothe achy muscles. Then dopamine is released which produces the “runner’s high” feeling when exercising. Dopamine is attached to the brain’s reward system. Dopamine is what motivates you to do something again and again. Dopamine is responsible for regulating your heart rate, sleep cycle, mood, working memory, attention, and pain processing. To release dopamine, you can complete small tasks, take a cold shower, do self care activities, and discover and learn new things.

Another way to get endorphins into your system is to laugh. Sometimes when I’m in a mood where I feel life is dragging, I simply put on a comedy stand-up. One because I love how clever comedians are and two, I know that laughter produces endorphins in the body.