Well… quite consistently!
My coaches have frequently mentioned certain hormones that affect our state of mind since I began my journey in Neuro Linguistic Programming. Obviously, as a non-medical practitioner, it is not necessary to delve deeper into the study of neurology, but a basic understanding is required to better understand our clients and facilitate our therapies.
Furthermore, I believe that each of us should have a basic understanding of our human body and its functions so that we can take care of it before we develop serious health problems. This article will provide you with a fascinating look at your happiness mechanism and how you can influence it for your mental and physical well-being.
There are a few confusing terms in this article that I’d like to explain ahead of time so you can understand how it works.
What is the difference between hormones and neurotransmitters?
Hormones are chemical signals secreted into the circulatory system by the endocrine glands that carry regulatory messages throughout the body. Neurotransmitters, on the other hand, are brain chemicals that relay information in the brain and throughout the central nervous system via neurons.
What are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks that combine to form proteins. When proteins are digested or broken down, amino acids are left. There are three types of Amino Acids:
- Essential Amino Acids
- Nonessential Amino Acids
- Conditional Amino Acids (Not discussed in this article)
Essential Amino Acids: The body cannot produce essential amino acids. As a result, they must be derived from food.
Non-Essential Amino Acids: Nonessential refers to the fact that our bodies can produce the amino acid even if we do not get it from the food we eat. Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that will be discussed in this article.
What is D.O.S.E.?
In general, a Dose is a small amount of medicine that is prescribed for any ailment or health purpose. In a Neurological sense, DOSE is an anagram of the first letter of each of the hormones we’ll be discussing in this article.
Our moods and feelings are highly dependent on these hormones.
Despite the fact that these are four distinct hormones with distinct functions, the distinctions between them are frequently blurred. They are deeply intertwined and work as a team, interacting with and influencing one another in order to maintain a careful balance within the body.
Understanding the value of these happy chemicals in the brain and body, as well as their effect on mental health, allows you to take active steps to naturally increase their levels. To put it another way, happy hormones equal a happy you!
Hormone #1, Dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and a hormone that occurs naturally in the human body. It is produced in the midbrain and is known as the “motivation molecule” because it enhances drive, focus, and concentration. It is an important chemical messenger that controls a person’s motor skills as well as their emotional responses. A healthy dopamine balance is essential for both physical and mental well-being.
Dopamine is synthesized from tyrosine, a non-essential amino acid, and phenylalanine, an essential amino acid. That is, tyrosine can be found in the foods we eat. When these amino acids are produced in sufficient quantities, we feel a rush of dopamine when we engage in pleasurable activities or when others compliment us.
When you are recognized and appreciated for your work at the office or at home, you feel accomplished and happy. This may also be the source of most housewives’ dissatisfaction, as they are rarely recognized or appreciated for their efforts. This hormone’s secretion is highest in the morning and gradually decreases throughout the day. That’s one of the reasons we’re so energized in the mornings.
When a large amount of dopamine is released, it produces feelings of pleasure and reward, which motivates you to repeat a specific behavior. Drugs like cocaine, heroin, and nicotine cause massive Dopamine spikes, prompting them to seek them out again and again. The high-feeling sensation can lead to drug abuse and, eventually, addiction.
Low dopamine levels, on the other hand, are associated with decreased motivation and enthusiasm for activities that most people find enjoyable, such as eating, meeting new people, or performing routine chores. A lack of dopamine may be linked to a variety of medical conditions, including depression and Parkinson’s disease.
Although Dopamine is prescribed in certain medical conditions, there are natural ways to increase Dopamine levels.
Consume foods high in Tyrosine, such as soybeans, beef, lamb, fish, chicken, nuts, eggs, dairy, beans, and whole grains. Additionally, get yourself up and do some rewarding things that make you feel good about yourself, such as going out to eat your favorite food, shopping, or even taking a vacation.
Hormone #2, Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the hypothalamus. It is then transported to the pituitary gland and secreted at the base of the brain.
According to research, a healthy flow of Oxytocin leads to intimacy, trust, and social bonding. It is also known as a love hormone because it is linked to sexual and maternal behaviors as well as social well-being. Oxytocin was discovered to play a role in the stimulation of monogamy. There is a possibility that this hormone can reduce the likelihood of human infidelity.
According to Dr. Paul Zak, inter-personal touch boosts Oxytocin, reduces cardiovascular stress, and boosts the immune system. So, instead of a handshake, go for the hug.
It is also believed that Oxytocin is released when you unconditionally help others. This generous hormone is released by the emotion of fulfillment in the absence of a selfish goal. It comes out even when you truly hug a friend or family member. The fascinating part is that people who receive or witness benevolent activities benefit from Oxytocin release in their bodies.
Other advantages include the ability to solve problems, increased creativity, the prevention of addiction, and the enhancement of your immune system.
Hormone #3, Serotonin
Serotonin functions as both a neurotransmitter and a hormone. Although serotonin is produced in the brain, where it is primarily used, 90 percent of the serotonin supply is found in the digestive tract and blood platelets.
Serotonin is released when you feel significant or important, and it is depleted when you are lonely or depressed. Loneliness and depression are still being studied to see if it is caused by low serotonin levels or if it is caused by high cortisol levels in the blood, which creates a cascading effect of decreasing serotonin. High cortisol levels in the blood, which cause anxiety or depression, are inhibited by healthy levels of serotonin.
Serotonin is widely distributed in our bodies and is thought to influence a wide range of psychological and physiological functions. This includes brain cells involved in mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some forms of social behavior such as friendliness, empathy, and happiness.
As a result of its ability to generate positivity, it is also known as the “happy hormone.” Remembering past triumphs allows the brain to relive the experience, resulting in Serotonin production. This is due to our brain’s inability to distinguish between what is real and what is not. If you need a serotonin boost during a stressful day, think about your past accomplishments and victories.
Serotonin is produced in the body by a protein called Tryptophan (an essential amino acid). Having said that, there are some foods that can help you get more tryptophan.
Tryptophan is found in a variety of foods, but high levels are found in dairy and non-vegetarian foods. A helpful tip: Although all vitamins are necessary for the body, getting enough vitamin B-6 influences how quickly tryptophan is converted to serotonin.
Foods high in vitamin B6 include:
- Ricotta Cheese
- Chicken liver
- Green peas
- Sweet potato
Finally, regular exercise (not necessarily a strenuous one) and exposure to sunlight (for vitamin D) can both increase Serotonin levels.
Hormone #4, Endorphins
Endorphins are produced primarily in the pituitary gland and the central nervous system. They function not only as neurotransmitters in the central nervous system but also as hormones released into the circulatory system. They are morphine-like chemicals released by the body during physical activity, laughter, or excitement.
There are numerous things that can put a strain on our bodies. Stress and pain are the two most common triggers for Endorphin release. It functions as a natural analgesic, reducing your perception of pain. For example, when we exercise, our bodies produce Endorphins. They reduce discomfort and pain while triggering positive feelings. This enables us to continue functioning in the face of injury or stress.
Research shows exercise isn’t the only way to release endorphins. You can also boost endorphins through:
- Massage therapy
- Eating spicy foods
- Strenuous hobbies like Gardening
Laughter, like exercise, is one of the simplest ways to induce endorphin release. Even the anticipation and expectation of laughter, such as attending a comedy show, raises endorphin levels. Bringing your sense of humor to work, forwarding that funny email, and finding multiple things to laugh about throughout the day are all great ways to keep your Endorphins flowing.
Endorphins should not be confused with dopamine, which is also associated with happiness. Dopamine, in general, causes happiness after a person has achieved a goal. Endorphins are pain relievers.
So, in a nutshell:
- Take a vacation or Shop to release Dopamine
- Do charity or give a hug to your loved one to release Oxytocin
- Eat healthily, bask in the sunlight and socialize to release Serotonin
- Exercise or laugh to release Endorphins
The true effect of these hormones is still being researched. The most general and simple facts about these hormones are listed here, which can help you align these hormones for a healthy body, mind, and soul.
Anything in moderation is best for us in life. The release of these hormones is a survival mechanism that allows us to live at our best. When they are out of balance, there can be destructive health issues. You don’t have complete control over your hormones, but you do have some.