A DOSE of Happiness

4 Hormones that decide your happiness.

From the time I have started my journey in Neuro Linguistic Programming, at several occasions my trainers have mentioned the hormone release affecting our state of mind. As a coach, it is not mandatory to go deeper into the study of neurology; Yet I consider it as a great tool to understand people about their challenges, scientifically.

It will be a great help as this will provide you a basic understanding of your happiness mechanism, whose steering is in your hands. Lets keep it simple. To understand the names by taking the first letter of the 4 happy hormones which make it spell as

1. Dopamine
2. Oxytocin
3. Serotonin
4. Endorphins

Dopamine is produced in some part of the mid brain. It is often referred to as the ‘motivation molecule’, because it increases your drive, focus, and concentration. The levels naturally produced is more in the morning and then it reduces by the day. One can also say that is why we are fully charged for the day.

When you are appreciated for your work at office or at home, you feel accomplished and happy, which makes you do that task more. This also explains why most housewives are unhappy since they rarely get acknowledged or appreciated for their work.

Low Dopamine levels can make you lose pleasure in activities like eating, drinking, demotivated, lethargic and in the worst cases, depressed.

People have found an artificial way to boost their Dopamine levels. Drugs such as cocaine, heroin and nicotine cause massive boosts in Dopamine that prompts them to seek those drugs repeatedly. The feeling associated with that high can lead to drug abuse and eventually to addiction.

Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus. From there, it is transported to and secreted by the pituitary gland, at the base of the brain.

Studies suggests, healthy flow of Oxytocin results in intimacy, trust and social bonding. It is associated with sexual, maternal behaviours and social well being. Oxytocin was found to play a role in stimulating monogamy. There is a possibility of the hormone to decrease the likelihood of unfaithfulness in humans.

Dr. Paul Zak explains that inter-personal touch increases Oxytocin, reduces cardiovascular stress and improves the immune system. So, rather than just a hand shake, go in for the hug.

It is also believed that Oxytocin is released when you help others, unconditionally. The emotion of fulfillment without the selfish goal releases this generous hormone. It flows even when you truly hug a friend or family. The fascinating part is that the people who receive or watch the benevolent activities also get the benefit of Oxytocin release in their body.

Other benefits include the ability to solve problems, increase creativity, inhibit addiction and boost your immune system.

Serotonin is a chemical nerve cells produce. It sends signals between your nerve cells. Serotonin is mainly found in the digestive system, blood platelets and the central nervous system.

Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer. It impacts every part of your body, from your emotions to your motor skills. It helps with important function daily activities like sleeping, eating, and digesting.

Serotonin is also called ‘happy hormone’ because of its ability to generate positivity. Serotonin flows when you feel significant or important. Loneliness and depression emerge when serotonin is low. Remembering past victorious moments allows the brain to re-live the experience resulting in the production of Serotonin. This is because our brain cannot differentiate what is real and what is unreal. If you need a serotonin boost during a stressful day, take a few moments to reflect on a past achievements and victories.

Endorphins can be produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland. Stress and pain are the two most common factors leading to the release of Endorphins. It acts as a natural analgesic for diminishing your perception of pain.

For example: When we exercise, the body releases Endorphins. This hormone helps the body cope with the pain of exercising. We then enjoy exercising because these Endorphins will make us happy. Along with exercise, laughter is one of the easiest ways to induce endorphin release. Even the anticipation and expectation of laugher e.g. attending a comedy show, increases levels of endorphins. Taking your sense of humor to work, forwarding that funny email, and finding several things to laugh at during the day is a great way to keep your Endorphins flowing.

So in a nutshell:
Shop to release Dopamine.
Do charity or give a hug to your loved one to release Oxytocin.
Expose yourself to the sun for 20 minutes; promotes vitamin D and serotonin production.
Excersize to release Endorphins

True impact of these hormones is still being studied. The most general and easy to understand facts about these hormones are listed here that determines your well being.

In life, anything in moderation is best for us. The release of these hormones is a mechanism for our survival at optimum level. However, when unbalanced they can become very dangerous and destructive. Not 100%, but you do have some control over your hormones. Certain activities like; exercising, proper food, lesser screen time, and avoiding indulging activities can align these hormones to the benefit of your body, mind and soul.

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