Surfing, skiing, hang-gliding… There’s a reason they’re called “thrill sports.” When we do daring things, it releases a generous flow of hormones. We get a rush. It makes us joyous. We smile, big time.
But you don’t need to be daring to feel happy hormones doing their thing! Even simple activities help boost the production of happiness hormones.
What are hormones, anyway? Hormones are natural chemicals produced by specific glands throughout the body. They travel throughout the bloodstream, playing important roles in our intricate bodily processes. Hormones and neurotransmitters help our brains to comprehend, evaluate and communicate what we experience. Each has a specific job, is activated in specific ways, stimulates certain areas of the brain, and signals certain emotions.
The hormones that signal happiness are dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. We like these.
DOPAMINE: Ahhh, the “feel-good” hormone… Give me more, give me more! Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (messenger) connected to your brain’s reward system. It’s associated with pleasurable sensations, as well as learning, memory and more. How cool is that? I think it’s pretty dope, I mean…
SEROTONIN: Hello mood balancer! This hormone and neurotransmitter is also integral to regulating sleep, appetite, digestion, learning and memory. It’s one of the messengers that carries signals to the brain. You may have heard of SSRIs, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, prescription drugs that treat depression by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.
OXYTOCIN: Some call it the “love hormone.” It helps promote trust, empathy and bonding in relationships and levels of this hormone tend to increase with physical affection. Hug safely, lovers! Oxytocin is also essential for childbirth, breastfeeding and establishing a strong, healthy parent-child bond.
ENDORPHINS: This miracle hormone is your body’s natural pain reliever. We produce endorphins in response to stress and discomfort. Endorphins also increase with reward-producing activities like eating food, exercising, or having sex.
Boost your mood by making more hormones!
GET OUTSIDE! Boost your serotonin levels by spending time outdoors in the sunshine. Safe, mindful exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can increase the production of serotonin. Try spending about 15 minutes outside at least a few times a week, but don’t forget sunscreen… Or clothes with built-in sun protection, like our TEKBIKA COLLECTION.
EXERCISE REGULARLY: In addition to multiple physical benefits, exercise has a positive impact on emotional wellbeing. The “runner’s high” is a rush that links exercise with endorphin release. But exercise (any kind appropriate for YOU), also increases dopamine and serotonin levels, creating a trifecta of happy hormones.
LAUGH WITH A FRIEND: There is no denying that laughter is the best medicine. It may not treat ongoing health issues, but it can help relieve stress of anxiety, and improve a low mood by boosting dopamine and endorphins. Watch a comedy special, preferably with a friend or partner. Why? Bonding over something hilarious with a loved one might even trigger oxytocin release. Boom.
COOK & ENJOY A DELICIOUS MEAL. The enjoyment you get from eating something delicious is known to trigger the release of dopamine and endorphins. Sharing a great meal with someone you love, and bonding over meal prep, can boost oxytocin levels, too. Go ahead, eat that dessert!
*Information gathered from multiple sources including Mayo Clinic and Healthline.com.