10 Ways To Boost Your Brain’s Happy Chemicals

Our brain is wired to feel a volley of emotions – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Out of all these emotions, the ones that really “stick” are the negative ones. This tendency of the brain is a part of our survival mechanism, designed to recognize and alert us to any potential dangers or threats. This is what’s managed to keep our ancestors alive, so we can’t really complain!

But, if everyday pressures or setbacks are bogging you down, help your brain produce the happy hormones: dopamine, endorphin, serotonin, and oxytocin. These neurotransmitters counteract the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone, and make you feel positive. So if you want your mojo back, try these easy tips and get your happy hormones flowing.1


1. Celebrate The Small Stuff

Cherish the small things to make you happy

You may not have won an Academy Award or bought a house today, but there are plenty of little wins you have to give yourself credit for. Maybe you woke up early, chose a fruit over a cookie, or you aced that presentation at work. Celebrating these daily victories, big and small, can actually motivate you to do more and do better. The more the motivation, the more dopamine is released by your brain and vice versa! Make it a habit to jot down at least two achievements per day and give yourself a good pat on the back.2


2. Chow Down The Right Foods

Eating the right foods makes you relaxed and happy

You can boost your happy hormones by eating the right foods. The building block of dopamine is the amino acid tyrosine, which is found in food such as fish, grass-fed meat, seeds, nuts, and legumes. These foods are also rich in another amino acid, tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin. Other foods that help include bananas and fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut.3 4 5


3. Work Up A Sweat

Exercising releases endorphins

Exercising stimulates the brain to release endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. This is why getting a good aerobic workout is just what you need when you are down in the dumps. Try swimming, cycling, or running. Even practicing yoga can help by improving circulation and blood flow to the brain, increasing serotonin levels, and fighting stress hormones.6 7 8


4. Give Your Brain A Workout

Learning a new thing or a skill will make you feel loads better

Learning something new, whether it’s a new language or a skill, gives you a sense of accomplishment and makes you feel good about yourself. This feeling of accomplishment is linked to the production of dopamine. Time to enroll in those cooking or carpentry classes.9


5. Laugh As Much As You Can

Laughing can help relax and happy

No, don’t just chuckle but laugh out loud! Moments of good laughter get the endorphins going in your brain. These endorphins, in turn, improve your ability to deal with pain and reduce stress. A good belly laugh can even create a sense of well-being and improve your blood circulation. Watch a funny movie, join a laughter club, or giggle away at some corny jokes. Or how about some laughter yoga, combining the benefits of laughter with those of deep, rhythmic breathing?10 11


6. Relive Happy Memories

Happy memories will make you happy again

Go through old pictures or a journal, listen to a favorite record, reminisce about the good old days, or look up an old friend or colleague. Recollecting happy memories or past achievements stimulate serotonin activity in the brain.12


7. Shed Those Tears When You Are Sad

Crying releases endorphins to your body

Have you noticed that you always feel better after a good cry? It’s because tears, like laughter, could cause your brain to release endorphins, reducing pain and improving your mood.13

8. Get Your Daily Dose Of Sunshine

Sunshine increases the serotonin levels in your body

Ever wondered why a sunny day makes you happy while a bleak, cloudy day brings the blues? That’s the power of sunshine. Sunshine activates the production of serotonin in our body, thus regulating our mood. Step out into the sun for a walk or stroll every day to bid the blues goodbye.14

9. Show Your Brain Some Love

Expressing love can do a world of good to your health

Love makes your happy hormones happy! Whether it’s with family, friends, or pets, expressing your love can trigger the release of oxytocin in your brain. Incidentally, this hormone is often dubbed the love hormone! A warm hug, some cuddle time with your baby, passionate sex can all do the trick. These also lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, inducing a sense of well-being.15

10. Stop To Smell The Roses (Or Essential Oils)

Smelling essential oils can trigger all the happy hormones

Essential oils such as rose, chamomile, lavender, wild orange, and bergamot have a calming effect on your brain. They trigger the release of serotonin and endorphin, which improve your mood and make you feel happy and content. Simply add a few drops of these essential oils to a diffuser and let them work their magic.16

There are many ways to keep the happy chemicals going in your brain. Sometimes, all it takes is a little shift in perspective, a lot of love, some exercise, and a good laugh!