• Sandra Jojo

The Happy Brain Chemicals: 40 Scientifically Proven Ways to Improve your Mood

What daily activities can we do to improve our mood?

Hey guys! I can’t believe it’s already the end of February. In a couple of days, we will welcome Spring and hopefully some positives changes in our life during global pandemic of Covid-19. It’s been almost a year since the first lockdown in the UK. Constant restrictions have increased anxiety for many of us, especially the ones working from home and having no social contact. What simple daily activities can we do to improve our mood?

This blog post will give you ideas how to naturally tap into the happy brain chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphin. Their positive effect to our wellbeing is scientifically proven and confirms the statement that we do have some power over our brain. I will provide you with a list of different activities you can do daily to produce the happy hormones in your brain and get through these challenging times.

How can we release more of the happy chemicals?

Dopamine – The Reward Chemical

Eggs, omega-3 fish, avocados increase Dopamine

It enables motivation, learning and pleasure. Dopamine gives us determination to accomplish goals.

Activities to increase Dopamine:

  1. Completing a task. Make a daily to-do list and create long-term goals (each time you tick off a task or goal you increase dopamine levels).

  2. Eating nutritious foods that are rich in L-Tyrosine (avocados, fish, eggs, cheese, banana, pumpkin seeds).

  3. Celebrating accomplishments, no matter how big or small they are.

  4. Self-care activities, such as relaxing bubble bath, home spa or enjoying a refreshing face mask.

  5. Creative activities such as writing, music, art, and crafts.

  6. Practicing meditation.

  7. Exercising regularly.

  8. Doing a puzzle.

  9. Getting enough sleep.

  10. Discovering and learning new things.

Serotonin – The Mood Stabiliser

Taking a walk in the nature increases Serotonin

This chemical regulates our sleep, memory, and sexual desire.

Activities to increase Serotonin:

  1. Going for a run.

  2. Taking a walk in the nature.

  3. Participating in a virtual yoga class.

  4. Practising meditation.

  5. Sun exposure (10-15 minutes of sunlight a day can increase serotonin and vitamin D).

  6. Cycling.

  7. Having a cold shower.

  8. Eating foods such as banana, eggs, omega-3 fish, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, and probiotics.

  9. Remembering positive events.

  10. Playing in the dirt (scientists have found that a type of friendly bacteria found in soil may influence brain cells to produced serotonin).

Oxytocin – The Love Hormone

Meditation practice increase our happiness hormones

This chemical gives us a feeling of trust, motivates us to build and sustain relationships.

Activities to increase Oxytocin:

  1. Playing with your pet.

  2. Paying someone a compliment.

  3. Playing with a baby.

  4. Hugging your partner or holding hands.

  5. Listening to music has a calming effect on the brain, slow-tempo music has also been shown to increase oxytocin.

  6. Getting a massage.

  7. Having a cold shower.

  8. Socializing (connecting or talking with friends and family over Zoom, phone call or texts could be a great option during current restrictions).

  9. Practising meditation.

  10. Eating nutritious foods that are high in Vitamin D, Magnesium and Vitamin C.

Endorphin – The Pain Killer

Scented candles at home can increase Endorphin levels

This hormone responds to pain and stress to alleviate anxiety and depression.

Activities to increase Endorphins:

  1. Eating dark chocolate.

  2. Watching a comedy.

  3. Aromatherapy – aromatics scents in your surroundings such as scented candles, essential oils.

  4. Exercising and stretching.

  5. Eating spicy foods.

  6. Creative activities such as writing, music, art, and crafts.

  7. High-intensity interval training.

  8. Practicing meditation.

  9. Having sex.

  10. Getting a massage.

What makes you happy?

These are just some of the many ways you can get your daily happy hormones. Make sure you choose activities that don’t all focus on one aspect only. Try to pick a few that can contribute to different aspects so you can reap the full benefits of the happiness chemicals. You have probably noticed that some activities, such as practising meditation, exercising, getting a massage or having a cold shower increase a few of the happiness hormones. You may try to incorporate these activities in your daily routine and see your mood and energy improve in no time!

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