I am going to discuss natural ways to stay on a Happy Feel-Good High. And of course, no drugs or alcohol and it’s free!
Are you ready?
Hormones that influence your mood, thinking and overall attitude are commonly called “happy hormones.”
The first hormone we are going to discuss is “Serotonin.” And what is Serotonin, it is the chemical that plays a role in you being happy.
For example, when you're attracted to another person, your brain releases dopamine, your serotonin levels increase, and oxytocin is produced. This causes you to feel a surge of positive emotions also known as “happy hormones or feel-good hormones. It’s a domino effect when brain chemicals are being released.
Have you ever experienced this hormone surge when you first met someone you were attracted to?
Another example is when you eat meats with low-fat content or almonds, yogurt, eggs, kimchi and other foods with probiotics, this stimulates the release of these feel-good hormones.
Why and how? Well foods that are high in tryptophan and low in fat increases your Serotonin levels. You may already know that you should never eat foods high in tryptophan before going to sleep. And this is because the Serotonin chemical is stimulated and can keep you from falling to sleep.
Have you ever had that turkey sandwich after a Thanksgiving dinner and found a surge of energy that kept you awake? Or have you ever heard that you should not eat turkey at least two to three hours before going to sleep?
Let’s look at spicy foods. These foods are believed to be sexual stimulants. There is some scientific truth that foods heavily spiced contain capsaicin and that’s the active ingredient in cayenne pepper.
Now what is it about capsaicin? This is the ingredient found in all chiles and causes a burning sensation in the mucous membranes. It also increases stimulation to the nerve endings in the skin.
Do you enjoy spicy foods? If so, have you had any personal experience with spicy foods becoming sexually stimulating?
It sounds like spicy foods could take the place of Viagra. This takes the saying “food is medicine” to another level.
We also know that Capsaicin can contribute to weight loss. How? Capsaicin increases your oxygen consumption and your body temperature. This leads to calories being burned. So, if you are not up to running just add some cayenne pepper to your meal and get your body temperature elevated.
What happens to your body when running? Your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin leaving less blood to be distributed to your muscles. Then in turn, your heart rate is increased with your body temperature elevated.
Do you see the correlation between Capsaicin and running?
Everything is about balance so like everything else in life, too much Capsaicin is not good. What I have presented is just to give you an understanding of Serotonin and how food stimulates the feel-good hormone.
Yes, a balance is needed in everything. Too much capsaicin can lead to irritation of the mouth, stomach, and intestines. You may have known someone who loved spicy foods and suddenly they can no longer eat these foods. This can be due to intestinal irritation. I want to discuss one more way to increase Serotonin. You probably did not see this one coming. It is a simple act of massaging the tips of your toes. Yes, when you are feeling a bit down, just gently massage the tip of your toes and see what happens. Through both scientific tests and statistics, a simple massage can increase the production of Serotonin by up to 28%. That’s a fast way to stimulate that feel-good hormone.
What do you think? If you have never massaged the tips of your toes, do you think you will try this the next time you need a fast lift me up mood?
This act of a massage increasing your feel-good hormone should not be a surprise. Why? Have you ever had a partner kiss your neck or massage your earlobe? What about when having a full body massage? Yes, it is stimulating the Serotonin hormone and you can even become sexually aroused without the spicy food.
I am going to now discuss another neurotransmitter. What are neurotransmitters? I am going to give you the meaning in the dictionary as I found it clear and precise.
“a chemical substance which is released at the end of a nerve fiber by the arrival of a nerve impulse …. effects the transfer of the impulse to another nerve fiber ….”
It is Dopamine. This is a feel-good hormone that is an important to your brain. You can see this chemical being release when you are rewarding yourself. Neurons release Dopamine which then contributes to your brain both learning and memory center. I guess you can say that Dopamine is the brain chemical that is enhanced with reward-related memories.
So, in simpler terms and for understanding the role of Dopamine and how it is a feel-good hormone, see it directly related to pleasure and reward.
When you are sexually satisfied, Dopamine is released. There is an immediate acknowledgment of both pleasure and reward. Dopamine is your friend who contributes to seeking out pleasurable experiences.
For example, when you achieve a goal, Dopamine is released. When you think back on an experience that brought pleasure, Dopamine is released.
Did you know that morning text from some special can release Dopamine?
Are you understanding how the feel-good Dopamine hormone plays out in your daily life?
Although both Serotonin and Dopamine are feel-good hormones, I want you to see the difference between the two.
Dopamine works with your mood and plays an important role in your brain’s pleasure and reward system.
Serotonin regulates your mood, sleep and even digestion.
These are two feel-good hormones with different roles.
Dopamine has a biological connection to your motivation to achieve. This means that you can increase your Dopamine with positive feedback. You can also increase Dopamine by accomplishing goals and even creating lifestyle healthy habits. There are foods that can also increase Dopamine.
Here are just some foods that result in the production of Dopamine.
- Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt
- Unprocessed meats such as beef, chicken and turkey
- Omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and mackerel.
- Fruit and vegetables, in particular bananas
- Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
- Dark chocolate
How many of these foods are in your diet?
Now let’s see how foods release the feel-good Dopamine chemical. Your brain knows when you are eating, and your brain reads that you are doing something right, so it releases feel-good chemicals in the reward system. Your brain interprets that you’re eating is pleasure. The brain is hardwired to seek out behaviors that release Dopamine in the reward system.
You now have your computer processor or brain using software or actions that create positive thoughts and emotions.
There are studies that show the loss of cells that use Dopamine can impair the function in your brain that creates new memories. Here is one way to increase Dopamine and it is one that has been practiced for years. It is also a way you can retrain your brain.
Every morning when you awake and before getting out of bed, think of 3 things you are thankful for in life. You may write these down or just think on these 3 things. These can be repeated. For example, if you have trouble sleeping and you have had three consecutive nights of good sleep, you are thankful for sleep on 3 mornings.
It is said that when you practice this ritual for 21 days, you are retraining your brain. How does this increase your Dopamine? Well, you are creating positive feedback. You are creating a “mental” lifestyle habit.
Have you ever done this? This practice is also encouraged when you want to increase mindfulness.
What happens when Dopamine degenerates? Well, you now know how Dopamine allows the neurons in your brain to communicate. So, when you are not producing Dopamine, you can become depressed. And then you experience the symptoms that are related to depression.
One of the unfortunate things that can happen is the manifestation of Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s is one type of neuron that has steadily degenerated. Why? The brain no longer can send signals, so the body makes less Dopamine. The chemical imbalance is what causes the physical symptoms. Interesting fact and I learned this fact in a documentary.
Okay, now we are going to talk about endorphins and how its levels influence you. Ahhh, yes, we so often hear the word “endorphins” and relate to it as a feel-good chemical. Are endorphins overrated? No, not at all because it is the endorphins that are chemically produced by your nervous system to cope with both pain and stress in your life. Endorphins are what Ibuprofen is to many because endorphins act as pain relievers and give you a shot of happiness. I cannot put it any other way but to say it is a booster chemical that gives you the happiness you need.
How are endorphins produced? When you practice meditation and/or yoga, you are releasing endorphins. Both meditation and yoga are stress relievers with long lasting relaxing effects. The effects are as a result of an endorphin release. You know the many breathing techniques release endorphins as you are sending a calming message to your brain.
What is your go-to ways in creating a calmness after a busy day?
When life gives you more than planned, you can produce endorphins just taking time for a massage or a walk outdoors.
I am sure there are many activities or hobbies that you enjoy. Regular exercise promotes stress reduction and giving to others are known feel-good things we do that help make you healthier and happier in life. And the bonus comes when you make these acts a part of your lifestyle, the endorphins are always at a good level.
So, I guess we can say without exaggeration that endorphins are what opioids are to some. It is sad that so many must rely on medication to keep them from feeling depressed.
What happens when your endorphin levels are low? Well, low endorphin levels give birth to depression and even headaches. And when your endorphins are low, your health can be negatively affected and ongoing.
You know it is said that when you are feeling down, go and do something good for someone. And this is how the manifestation of the feel-good endorphins are created.
I want you to remember that you can “hack” these feel-good hormones anytime. They are there to serve you and to be at your beckon call.
SEROTONIN: Yes, that mood stabilizer so you do not need to become Sybil. Serotonin is released with mindfulness, meditation, sun exposure and when you are spending time with nature.
DOPAMINE: That rewarding chemical is released with certain foods, when you achieve a goal, complete a task or do something special for you.
ENDORPHINS: You do not need to grab a pain killer! Endorphins are called “Pain Killers.” Endorphins are released when you exercise, listen to music, watch a movie and especially through laughter.
OXYTOCIN: It is sometimes called the “love” hormone because when released, you experience feelings of connection and bonding after organism. Then at the right time, Dopamine shows up connecting the reward part of your brain to the experience.