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Simple Lifestyle Changes to Boost Happy Hormones

Updated: May 12, 2023




There are many ways to support your mind, body and spirit daily. The trick is to practise certain acts regularly and consistently - this will promote long-term regulation and change. These acts will mean a change in lifestyle and being at peace with creating healthier habits. For example, if you are feeling low on energy, demotivated and frustrated regularly, something in your lifestyle needs to be fixed. In my experience with self and client work, most of these low energy and limiting patterns mean you are not effectively regulating the mind, body and spirit; some unhealthy lifestyle habits and self-limiting sabotage notions may be at play here.


The good news is that there are many ways to build better coherence and flowing energy into the mind-body and, therefore, into your whole self and perception.

Below are some suggestions to get you on the way; use your instincts on this, and naturally go towards the changes that are more appropriate to you now. But first, give yourself the commitment you deserve. As such, think about the level of commitment you give to relationships, work and achievements - bring that energy here and direct it towards yourself. In turn, make sure you follow through with the goal you have set for yourself. Doing this alone activates the reward chemical called Dopamine that is associated with the satisfaction we feel when we tick an item off our to-do list.


DOPAMINE REWARD

Dopamine is the reward chemical associated with our satisfaction when ticking an item from our to-do list. In addition, it is associated with memory, learning, and motivation.


Setting daily/weekly tasks

Completing a task is an excellent way to reward dopamine pathways; start with small doable tasks weekly that you want to stop procrastinating on. Then, please write it down and follow through to complete it.

After each success, remember to pat yourself on the back for your achievement instead of grimly ploughing on to the next task. Celebrate your wins as much as possible, whether yours or someone else’s in the family.


Music

Dopamine’s positive powers can also be harnessed by listening to instrumental music or binaural beats, while the mood-boosting effect of music, in general, can lift your serotonin levels too.


BALANCING SEROTONIN

Serotonin stabilises our moods when we feel off. It keeps your sleep, digestion, appetite, memory, and ability to learn in balance so we can be effective daily. If serotonin is low in stock, so to speak, you will feel the impacts of anxiety and fleeting low moods. There are a couple of ways to boost and maintain serotonin stocks.


Nature

Deep breaths of fresh air, time in nature, and focusing on healthy, calming self-care will help regulate your serotonin levels. Birdwatching, green things, and walking with friends outdoors or alone are good habits to bring into your weekly routine. They are the easy ways to regenerate serotonin in your body.


Mindfulness

Meditation is a great way to increase serotonin; regular 10mins every other day of focused relaxation, either with relaxation breathing or guided meditations, are significant fixes towards serotonin balance. Add this habit to your routine 2-3 times a week; you only need 10 minutes - this is achievable.


Foods

Serotonin is synthesised through an amino acid called tryptophan. Low supplies of tryptophan are associated with mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Research is ongoing, but it is considered that consuming foods high in tryptophan may help boost your serotonin stocks. Plant-based sources include dark leafy greens, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, soy products, quinoa, beans, and more. In addition, take a look at tryptophan supplements.


FEEL GOOD ENDORPHINS

Endorphins are nature’s painkillers, which your body releases into your bloodstream in response to stress or discomfort, supporting us.


Diversity

They also get boosted when you engage in rewarding activities such as working out, eating, having sex, or laughing. Make more time in your week for "something new". Mixing things up can boost feel-good endorphins.


Exercise

Running, walking, and HITT exercises outdoors will aim to give you a boost of endorphins and serotonin at the same time and get some friends involved for added benefits. Aim for at least 30 minutes 2-3 times weekly to bring about that mood-elevating endorphin surge.


Music

While listening to music helps elevate some of your other mood-boosting hormones, dancing and creating or performing music causes endorphins to be released. So put on your tracks, be present and enjoy the moment of sound. Do this 1-2 a week - you only need 15-20mins minimum to feel the benefits.



LOVING OXYTOCIN

Adding to the mix is oxytocin which is our brain’s love potion. Oxytocin is involved in bonding experiences with both people and animals. “When we connect with someone,


Connection

Make time to connect with loved ones, friends or furry pets. Whether that be with someone we love, cuddling our dog, seeing our kids coming home from school happy and excited, or hugging someone if we haven’t seen them for a while – oxytocin is released at those times is associated with those warm, prosocial feelings. So try to savour these moments more throughout your week.


Giving out

Other activities that bring on the positive effects of oxytocin include simply spending time with someone you’re close to, sharing a meal, and giving compliments.



In summary

While it’s helpful to understand these four main happiness chemicals and increase your engagement in activities that activate them, please don’t stress yourself out in pursuit of the perfect balance of these behaviours; these are suggestions, and although essential to support yourself, trying too hard could be counterproductive. Sometimes it’s best to keep things straightforward.




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