If you can increase the production of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and opiate endorphins in your body on a regular basis by using a few easy natural changes in your life, then you will feel happier, more positive and fulfilled in your daily life.
- Exercise on a regular basis.
Going to the gym, running, and so many other ways of exercising raise your endorphin levels. ‘Runners high,’ my favourite feeling in the world is linked to increased endorphin levels. Meditation and yoga can also increase endorphin levels and so can a brisk walk, especially with friends. The principal function of endorphins is to inhibit the communication of pain signals; they may also produce a feeling of euphoria very similar to that provided by other opioids.
- Eat a healthily
Eating a healthy diet can contribute to your happiness and confidence so much so that I highly recommend you try the following foods:
- Antioxidant-rich foods can combat mental illness-inducing free radicals that can damage cells in your body. There are other benefits too; however, antioxidant dietary supplements do not improve health nor are they useful in preventing diseases. Recommended antioxidant foods include leafy greens, sweet potato, squash, citrus (vitamin C), berries, alfalfa sprouts, and broccoli, etc.
- Healthy fats contain essential fatty acids that increase the production of endorphin promoting hormones called eicosanoids. These include caught salmon, sardines, coconut and olive oils, nuts, seeds. I’ve taken cod liver oil every day since I was 12-years of age and I can highly recommend it for its health benefits.
- One of the most potent superfoods is avocados. They contain monounsaturated fats that help to nourish your skin, hair, and nails. They also contain lutein, which helps to prevent eye disease. Avocados are very high in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, keeping you less stressed.
- Eat protein to promote serotonin levels. Serotonin is thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. Serotonin, produced in the gastrointestinal tract and when in balance helps you maintain regular and healthy bowel movements.
- Avoid processed foods as they can interfere with brain chemistry and increase body fat.
- Eat amino-rich foods like seeds, nuts, beans, lentils, sprouts, and grains. Eat veggies like broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower. Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine that can also upset the natural balance of happy chemicals in your body, as well as reducing motivation for exercise.
- Have a good old laugh
Laugh more and have fun because when you do endorphin production is increased. Remember the time when you laughed about the silliest things? Get into the habit of doing it again – you might live longer too. Studies show that laughter elevates pain threshold. Watch the video I have selected at the end of this article. It will make you feel good.
- Be sociable.
Connecting with friends and family and generally leaving people better than you find them increases the production of the happy hormones. Giving without expecting anything back and volunteering also makes you feel good. The Dalai Lama says ‘that to find true happiness; you have to make other people happy first.’ Finding your purpose, achieving your goals and having a healthy relationship can also make you happy. Being around like-minded individuals can reinforce positive thoughts for you both because your brains synchronize and ‘fire-off’ brain signals simultaneously when you are both happy with the conversation. You will eventually become your narrative, so speaking positively in your life will ultimately become your behaviour.
- Become task orientated
Setting goals, making and achieving your daily list of activities, taking on responsibilities and learning a new skill, will all contribute to your happiness. Every task or goal completed however small will give you a dopamine release that will reinforce this behaviour. It will make you feel good and make you want to get to the next level of achievement.
Your life will improve because of your actions, you will become more confident, and other people will want to connect with you because of your success. When others see your behaviour, they will also give you opportunities, and the cycle continues. Challenge yourself regularly, don’t shy away from taking on challenging tasks that can end up being rewarding long term.
- Treat yourself
Treating yourself for your hard work and commitment to a better life is one of the best things you can do to boost your happiness. Incorporate soothing tastes, smells and essential oils. Aromatherapy is linked to endorphin release; dark chocolate can release ‘comfort’ compounds and short-breaks with friends all reward you with happy hormone releases.
- Connect with nature
Spend time outdoors and putting down your electronic devices is so healthy for your body and brain. Kids want to be outside, and when they see you out, they will want to join you. Have times in your life when you leave the mobile phone at home. Your life is not going to crumble because you can’t see the latest news on social media. In fact, finish this article here! Put down your phone, close your laptop and go outside for some fresh air J.
Sunlight helps your skin absorb UV rays and produce Vit D which is essential for your mood. Sunshine and nature also help regulate the release of neurochemicals like serotonin and melatonin. Spend time looking at nature. Give yourself time to observe animal behaviour, look closely at the plants, flowers, and trees. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the outdoors and smell nature. You will be struck by the pure peace of what is around you. We are made up of the same elements. Humans have lost many of these simple natural pleasures that allowed us to connect with nature and one another.
- Learn from the best
One of the absolute best things I ever did to make me maintain my confidence, enthusiasm and the general feeling of wellbeing was to learn from other experts and understand the chemistry behind how we felt. Inspired by others motivated me to write this blog page, to share the knowledge and experience I have gained – to help others without any expectation of getting anything back apart from a great sense of satisfaction and achievement. It is normal to have fluctuations in how you feel because we are animals at the end of the day. I started viewing motivational videos, listened to motivational podcasts and read blogs like this one. It helped me massively understand the chemistry behind my feelings, and that makes me feel normal, just like you.
It’s time to reclaim your place in that ecosystem. It is not worth the worry. The things running around in your head that you think are so important are not worth the stress.
Let’s get some good old endorphin secretion