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Daily Rituals to Boost Happiness

Harnessing the Power of Brain Chemicals

Before diving into my personal journey, it’s essential to understand the significant role played by key brain chemicals in our emotional well-being. These chemicals, often referred to as the “DOSE” – Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins, are crucial in shaping how we feel and respond to the world around us.

Understanding the “DOSE” of Happiness: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins
Dopamine: The Reward Chemical

What It Does: Dopamine is often called the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. It’s associated with pleasure, reward, and motivation. Activities that lead to a sense of accomplishment, even small ones, can trigger its release.

How to Boost It: Achieving goals, completing tasks, engaging in hobbies you love, exercising, and listening to music are great ways to increase dopamine levels naturally.

Oxytocin: The Love Hormone

What It Does: Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone” or “cuddle chemical” because it plays a key role in forming social bonds and trust. It’s released during hugs, social bonding, and moments of close connection.

How to Boost It: Spending quality time with loved ones, cuddling pets, acts of kindness, and physical touch are effective ways to increase oxytocin.

Serotonin: The Mood Stabilizer

What It Does: Serotonin regulates mood, happiness, and anxiety. It helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.

How to Boost It: Exposure to sunlight, exercise, a healthy diet, meditation, and engaging in positive activities can help enhance serotonin levels.

Endorphins: The Natural Painkillers

What It Does: Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. They are released in response to pain and stress and help alleviate anxiety and depression.

How to Boost It: Physical activities like exercise, especially running and high-intensity workouts, laughter, and even consuming dark chocolate can help trigger endorphin release.

Understanding these chemicals and how to naturally stimulate them has been a cornerstone of my journey toward better mental health. Now, let me take you through my day and share how I focus on activities that foster these essential neurotransmitters.

A Personal Journey to Boosting Brain Chemicals

Living with depression and loneliness can often feel like an uphill battle. However, I’ve discovered that by intentionally focusing on activities that naturally boost the “DOSE” chemicals in my brain I can significantly improve my mood and overall well-being. In this blog post, I’ll share my personal strategies for stimulating these crucial neurotransmitters, along with insights into how you can do the same. Let me walk you through my day as I intentionally focus on these activities to foster better mental health.

Morning Cuddles for Oxytocin

Every morning, I start my day by hugging my dogs and singing a cheerful “Good Morning” song. This simple act of affection releases Oxytocin, often called the “love hormone,” setting a positive tone for the rest of my day. I consciously avoid stressful interactions during this time to maintain a peaceful state of mind. Science tells us that Oxytocin lowers stress and anxiety levels, promoting feelings of calm and emotional bonding.

Sunlight and Serotonin

Morning walks with my dogs aren’t just a routine; they are my Serotonin boost. Serotonin, often called the happiness chemical, regulates mood and prevents depression. Sunlight is a natural Serotonin booster, and a brief walk in the morning sunshine can set a positive tone for the entire day.

A Clean Space for Dopamine

After my morning cuddles and my sunshine walk, I like to make my bed, pick up, and listen to uplifting classical music. Tidying up and organizing my space brings a sense of accomplishment, triggering the release of Dopamine, the ‘reward chemical’. This neurotransmitter boosts our motivation, attention, and learning. It’s amazing how small achievements like making your bed can bring a sense of well-being.

Additionally, setting and achieving small goals throughout my workday keeps the Dopamine flowing, maintaining my focus and motivation.

Exercise for Endorphins

Weightlifting is one of my favorite forms of physical exercise, followed by hiking, yin yoga, and free diving. Hitting the gym goes beyond physical health; it’s a key player in releasing Endorphins, our natural painkillers. Endorphins help alleviate stress and pain, bringing about feelings of euphoria. The sense of achievement post-workout is a powerful mood lifter.

Laughter and Endorphins

Playing with my dogs and watching their amusing antics provides me with hearty laughs throughout the day, which triggers the release of Endorphins. These natural painkillers also help regulate stress responses, making laughter a crucial part of my daily routine.

Afternoon Sunlight for Serotonin

I make it a point to spend some time on my balcony in the afternoon, soaking in more sunlight. This not only reinforces my Serotonin levels but also helps me take a break and refresh my mind.

Evening Wind-Down for Oxytocin and Serotonin

Before bedtime, I like taking a hot bubble bath with essential oils like eucalyptus or lavender with epsom salt. This relaxes me physically but also mentally, contributing to overall Serotonin production. Once I get into bed, it’s more cuddle time with my dogs which provides additional Oxytocin boosts. Those two bedtime rituals are a vibe for me, and I feel extremely calm and peaceful each night.

Coping with the Lows

Despite having a structured routine, there are days when loneliness and depression hit hard. On such days, it’s crucial to remember that these feelings are temporary. I remind myself of past experiences when I’ve felt this way and how those moments passed. It’s about taking one step at a time, finding joy in small achievements, and consistently applying these brain chemical hacks to lift my spirits.

Embracing the Full Spectrum of Emotions

In our pursuit of happiness, it’s crucial to remember that life isn’t about being perpetually joyful. Emotions like sadness and grief are natural, integral parts of the human experience. They are not signs of weakness, but rather indicators of our deep capacity for feeling and empathy.

When we find ourselves in the troughs of these emotions, the first step is to give ourselves grace. It’s okay to feel low, to cry, and to need rest. These moments don’t define our strength or our journey; they are mere chapters in a much larger story.

During these times, I turn inward to reflect on the origins of these feelings. Understanding where our emotions stem from is a powerful tool in self-awareness. It helps us recognize patterns, triggers, and even the hidden strengths we may not have acknowledged. Remember, allowing yourself to feel and process these emotions is a form of self-care.

So, when the waves of sadness or loneliness hit, let them come. Let them wash over you, but also let them pass. They are temporary, like clouds on a windy day. And in their passing, they often leave us with a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the world.

Remember, it’s okay to have off days. It’s okay not to be okay. What matters is how we respond to these feelings. By acknowledging them, we give ourselves the space to heal and grow. Always be gentle with yourself. Your feelings are valid, and so is your journey towards healing and happiness

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