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  • Writer's pictureSarah M.

Happiness Chemicals

I don’t know about you but it’s good to have a thing or a hobby that can instantly cheer you up when you feel sad or disappointed.

For instance, whenever I feel stressed out – which is not very often these days – I treat myself to my favorite meal or buy a good book or a cute lipstick for myself. This may seem like such a little thing but it relaxes me and reminds me that I should enjoy life more.

Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins are the quartet responsible for our happiness. Many events can trigger these neurotransmitters, but rather than being in the passenger seat, science has proven, without a doubt, that you can take control of your brain and hack into your happy neurochemicals. Let's dive in.

Happiness can be found in the seemingly insignificant, mundane things you do every day. These give your brain a boost of feel-good chemicals and keeps them flowing. Your brain is a positive feedback system, meaning that being happy often leads to more happiness.

Ok, Imma try to keep this sweet and simple.

Dopamine; The Reward Chemical

Dopamine motivates us to take action toward goals, desires, and needs. It gives a surge of reinforcing pleasure when achieving them. Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are linked with low levels of dopamine.


Complete a task (i.e. make your bed every morning)

Do self-care actives

Listen to some great music

Celebrate (even the small victories [there's always something])

Create small goals in between your bigger goals to make it easier to have those smaller victories.

Serotonin; The Mood Stabilizer

Serotonin flows when you feel significant or important. Loneliness and depression appears when serotonin is absent. It's perhaps one reason why people fall into gang and criminal activity - the culture brings experiences that facilitate serotonin release.


Exercise (a walk or jog outside)

Meditate (visualizing a happy moment from your memory)

Sun exposure /Vitamin D

Get a massage

Oxytocin; The Love Hormone

Oxytocin creates intimacy, trust, and builds healthy relationships. It's released by men and women during orgasm, and when people snuggle up or bond socially. Even playing with your dog can cause an oxytocin surge.


Play with a kid or dog

Cuddle up on the couch

Give a compliment to someone

Hug a friend

Cook (and eat) with someone you care about

Endorphins; The Pain Killer

Endorphins are released in response to pain and stress, and they help to alleviate anxiety and depression. For instance the surging euphoric "runners high" during and after a vigorous run are a result of endorphins. Similar to morphine, it acts as an pain-relieving sedative, diminishing our perception of pain.

Along with regular exercise, laughter is one of the easiest ways to induce endorphin release.


Watch a comedy

Workout (break a sweat)

Dark chocolate

Attend a comedy show

Spicy food

By understanding the role these hormones have, you can better understand how they are affecting you in everyday situations. This is such great news, it means that you don’t have to wait for good things to happen to make you happy.

I'd love to hear about the things that you do for you that activate these neurochemicals in you, leave a comment below or connect in Instagram.


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