It can be really difficult to achieve balance in your busy life. Our hormones are naturally changing all the time. Try these tips and suggestions to fire up the happy hormones of Endorphins, Serotonin, Dopamine and Oxytocin for more energy and to feel healthier and happier.
Endorphins are known for their feel good factor and for being your body’s natural painkillers so it is good to increase your endorphins, especially if you are dealing with chronic pain.
4 WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR ENDORPHIN LEVELS
1. Keep Moving
- Exercise is great for our hearts and keeping us healthy and studies have shown we also produce increased levels of endorphins and serotonin (the happy hormones). The combination of these two hormones improves our moods and energy levels.
- Aim for 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time.
- It doesn’t have to be the gym, try a brisk walk, gardening, dancing or skipping.
- Meditation triggers the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to release endorphins. This promotes relaxation, thereby turning off stress hormones and lowering cortisol levels associated with the fight or flight stress response.
- Breathing deeply interrupts the body’s stress response and re-balances the nervous system by releasing neurotransmitters such as endorphins into the body.
3. High Intensity Anaerobic Exercise
- Anaerobic exercise involves quick bursts of energy – maximum effort for a short time.
- Simple skipping burns calories and is both aerobic and anaerobic when done with short bursts of intensity.
4. Spice Up Your Life
- Capsaicin which is found in most spicy foods boosts endorphins and has the reputation for relieving pain and arthritis.
- Studies also suggest that chillis can help reduce blood pressure, high cholesterol, and the formation of blood clots.
Serotonin is the key hormone of happiness it:
- regulates mood
- prevents depression
- keeps you happy and sociable
6 WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR SEROTONIN LEVELS
- Spend time in the sun, as sunlight causes your body to produce Vitamin D, which triggers the release of serotonin.
- Having happy thoughts – your brain produces serotonin when you remember happy memories or think about things that make you happy
- Our bodies cannot make tryptophan but if we eat it in our diet our bodies turn it into serotonin, melatonin and B6.
- Eat foods like salmon, lean poultry, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach (also the iron helps the body to make healthy red blood cells) seeds, milk and nuts.
- Nuts are a good source of protein, healthful fats, and fibre. Snacking on a few nuts between meals can help a person to feel fuller for longer.
- Exercise – choose an exercise activity at home, gym or in a group class that you enjoy to increase your serotonin / happiness levels.
3 TIPS FOR BOOSTING SEROTONIN AND MOOD
i) Help to balance your mood with a steady supply of energy throughout the day:
- Eat whole grains – which are digested slowly by the body, so they release energy gradually.
- Eat healthy snacks – like nuts and seeds or fruit which can provide energy between meals.
- Drink plenty of fluids – to keep your body and brain hydrated which is critical for energy levels and correct brain functioning.
ii) Having a healthy gut is vital for the production of serotonin. Help promote a healthy gut by:
- including prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods in your diet
- limiting foods that negatively alter gut bacteria, such as artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and processed and refined sugars
iii) Sunshine may trigger the production of serotonin.
So, getting some daylight every day, even in the winter months, could help to improve your mood.
Get your dose of serotonin, step into the sunshine.
Feeling positive is often about balance.
Diet, exercise, sleep, and a positive outlook are all key elements to improving mood.
Dopamine is a pleasure hormone that is released when you strive towards a goal.
Dopamine motivates you to work hard so that you can achieve the satisfaction of reaching that goal. It also keeps you mentally alert and helps you focus.
6 WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR DOPAMINE LEVELS
- Set daily or monthly goals, since they give you something to strive towards.
- Set exercise goals, since dopamine increases in tandem with serotonin and endorphins when you exercise. Setting goals will increase the production of dopamine even more.
- Eat foods that are rich in protein.
- Brazil nuts are high in selenium and also include amino acid tyrosine that both help to boost dopamine and serotonin levels. Just 3 Brazil nuts a day will give you the recommended daily allowance of selenium.
- Sunlight and Vitamin D are thought to have an impact on our mood and Vitamin D is needed for the production of dopamine.
- Avocados contain choline which boosts serotonin and dopamine.
Oxytocin is known as the love hormone because it plays a huge role in relationships, feelings of love, trust, empathy, lowered stress levels, and generosity.
12 WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR OXYTOCIN LEVELS
1. 8 Hugs a day minimum
The cuddle hormone, the bonding hormone and the trust hormone – oxytocin is super powerful. Hugs, kisses, and cuddling increase oxytocin levels quickly. Give yourself and others the gift of oxytocin and also reduce cardiovascular stress and improve your immune system, amazing! Try telling friends that you hug rather than shake hands and see what happens!
2. Give out compliments and encouragement freely
When we hear a compliment we feel good about ourselves, we believe we are loved and held in high esteem and our oxytocin increases. Words are powerful. Being kind, caring, compassionate and encouraging increases oxytocin for the giver and the receiver – happy days!
Listening is an amazing way to increase oxytocin. We all want to feel acknowledged, heard and accepted. Listen with your eyes, watch their face and give that person your complete attention. When you are present with another person you can feel the connection. You will feel the rewards of making time to be one-on-one.
Listening to music or something we enjoy also releases dosages of oxytocin happy times.
4. Smile and Laugh
Smiling is contagious. Research has shown that laughter and smiling improve health and happy people live for joyous moments with oxytocin constantly being released. Laughter creates an immense sense of joy. Have you noticed kids smile and laugh a lot when they play, releasing oxytocin? They are happy and in the moment.
Oxytocin increases when you are clear-headed and relaxed. Meditation allows the mind to detach from stress, lowers blood pressure and balances your hormones. Make time for your mind, body and spirit to connect. You can do it for five minutes anywhere.
Exercise is great for boosting oxygen and body functioning it increases endorphin and hormones. You don’t have to go to a gym. A brisk walk or gentle yoga can bring on these benefits as well.
Withholding your feelings and not dealing with them causes stress and other physical issues in the body. Studies have shown that oxytocin levels decrease when you suppress your emotions. Your emotional, spiritual and physical states all need to be in balance. Releasing emotion with tears allows the body to return to a state of calmness rather than bottling up sadness, anger or frustration.
Oxytocin and human bonding increases when we give to others expecting nothing in return. Give gifts, give your time, give to charity, give encouragement and give thanks.
Gratitude is a huge factor on how we feel. We feel good when we give, volunteer and do things for others. Try giving more of yourself and watch how great you feel.
Gratitude examples: smiling, saying “thank you,” sending thank-you notes, and making gratitude visits are attitude boosters.
9. Get Creative
When you tap into your creativity you help to de-stress the mental mind and release endorphins and oxytocin.
As you paint, draw, sew, journal, write, play an instrument, or anything that takes you out of a normal routine, you are stimulating these good hormones and are not worrying or fearing anything.
Try making more time in your schedule to use or share your talents or try something new to make the most of your creative side.
10. Being in Touch with Animals
Animals have a way of calming us. Research shows that just touching your pets lowers your blood pressure and increases your oxytocin levels.
If you don’t have a dog for example but identify as a “dog person” patting a dog will raise your oxytocin, you’ll probably find yourself smiling too!
11. Use the "L" Word
Tell those around you that you love them.
You’ve got to put it out there to get it back. With friends, too, and maybe even at work.
12. Try Doing Something Mildly Stressful
Activities that are moderately stressful and done with one or more other people raise oxytocin.
Try being a single rider on a roller coaster and you’ll experience an immediate bond with the person next to you. Trying new things in a group situation that is mildly stressful can raise your oxytocin. Apparently doing a tandem skydive can give you a 200% oxytocin spike but maybe you don’t need to go that far!
Boost your hormones for increased happiness and health.
This is intended as information and not medical advice. Everyone is different so please consult your medical professional.