What is happiness, really?
Biologically, the feeling of happiness is created by the unique chemical hormonal reactions in your brain. There are 4 main chemicals responsible for our happiness:
Dopamine — the pleasure hormone
Oxytocin — the love hormone
Endorphins — the feel-good hormone
Serotonin — the happy hormone
Watch this video to learn more about these chemicals responsible for our mood:
Luckily, we aren't just passengers in this hormonal process.
In fact, it IS possible to hack these chemicals in our brains in order to improve mood.
1: Get some exercise
Exercise is one surefire way to hack the chemicals in your brain to increaseyour mood. Regular exercise is scientifically proven to release at least two of the major chemical hormones responsible for mood, dopamine, and endorphins, as well as promoting the production of serotonin.
Youdon't need to engage in rigorous activity tostimulate the releaseand production of these chemicals. Find a physical activity that you love and get moving! You'll find your mood improvingin no time.
How can a busy college student use exercise to quickly hack their brain chemicals?
2: Laugh often
Laughter really is the best medicine. It's also an easy way to stimulate the release of endorphins. Laughter increases your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating your heart, lungs, and muscles.
Attend a comedy show, spend time with friends, or put on your favorite sitcom and watch your mood improve.
3: Spend time with a pet
Anyone with a pet knows just how beneficial being in their presence can be. Research has shown that interacting with pets decreases a person's level of cortisol, a stress-related chemical.
Spending time with a pet can create a bonding experience,which stimulates the release of oxytocin. If you aren't ready for the responsibility of a pet, consider volunteering at an animal shelter to help animals in need and get the oxytocin-boost you crave.
4: Get a daily dose of sunshine
Regular sunshine does wonders for your mood. Our skin absorbs ultraviolet radiation (UV rays), which stimulates the production of serotonin in the body.
UV rays can lead to negative health effects, such as skin cancer, so be sure to liberallyapply sunscreen and try to limit exposure to the sun to under 20 minutes.
5: Hug your loved ones
Giving and receiving hugs (especially from loved ones) releases oxytocin to the brain, leading to a feeling of happiness and calm.
Hold your loved ones tight and let this powerful hormone work its magic!
6: Just relax
In today's hectic society, relaxation can be hard to come by. Not only is relaxation crucial for our physical and mental well-being, but it can also trigger the brain to release serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine.
Try engaging in a hobby, meditation, aromatherapy, journaling, yoga, massage, or being in nature. For more ways to relax, check out this resource.
Start hacking your brain chemicals and improve your mood.