Natural Happiness: How to Increase Your Happy Brain Chemicals

Do you want to know how to increase your happy brain chemicals?

One of the main issues that concern people right now is their decreasing amount of happiness or the lack thereof. This is very sad because this lack of happiness affects overall wellbeing and sometimes even lead to tragic incidents, such as suicide. For some, there are a lot of reasons to be happy. However, for some, happiness seems elusive. The good news is, there is actually a way to achieve natural happiness by increasing your happy brain chemicals.

Most of us have been conditioned to believe that it’s the experiences in our lives that either make us happy or break that happiness cycle. But I’m going to give you a few things to think about that might flip that notion on its head just a bit.

Let’s start by talking about the different chemicals in our brain that, in essence, signal to us that we are happy. These chemicals are more popularly known as our happy brain chemicals.

I’m going to use a little bit of a softer word and use the word ‘satisfaction’ rather than ‘happiness’ because we’re often thinking that happiness means we’re out in the field doing cartwheels and just brimming with overwhelming joy. That’s really not what we’re aiming for.

adventure dopamine happy brain chemicals

Sure, we’ll have moments of peak experiences where that might be a fleeting moment in our lives, but what we’re really looking for is a reliable sense of deep satisfaction that life is just full of one meaningful, satisfying experience after the next.

So, let’s consider our happy brain chemicals that signal to us that we’re experiencing happiness or satisfaction.

1. Dopamine

Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that gets triggered whenever you experience something new or novel.

One of the great ways to manufacture happiness through a dopamine rush is to plan a vacation. Especially to someplace new. Sometimes we think, “I’m not even going to bother planning that vacation because I don’t see how that’s going to happen in the next year.” But guess what? It’s going to trigger a dopamine rush even if we just allow ourselves to fantasize about taking that vacation. Isn’t that great?

So, just think, what’s on your bucket list? Where would you like to go? And then just start going around at it and do a little bit of work on planning it, and just dream into it. See if you don’t feel a little better. I’ll guarantee that you will get an immediate hit of dopamine if you do that.

2. Oxytocin

children oxytocin happy brain chemicalsOxytocin is one of our happy brain chemicals which is otherwise known as the relationship chemical. It’s the chemical that is most often equated to the mother and child sort of feeling. Ever wondered why we have such a strong, longing and desire to find that special someone? It’s because we get that oxytocin rush with our significant other.

Now, if any of you have been in a relationship for an extended period of time, you should know that oxytocin rush comes and goes. As we get into a mature relationship, a lot of times it’s gone more than it’s here. And sometimes, we tend to blame our partner. But that’s not our mate’s fault. That is actually the newness drug that is not coupling with the oxytocin to really give us that peak experience rush. So rather than expecting our partners to give that to us, let’s give that to ourselves and practice some self-care.

One of the best ways to get a quick oxytocin rush is to get a massage. The best here would be a hands-on massage. However, you can even come to the Delta Discovery Center and use one of our massage chairs and just feel that deep care happening. As you feel that deep movement in your muscles and tendons and fascia, you will experience some oxytocin rushing around in your brain. This will bring you a sense of satisfaction and happiness.

3. Endorphins

Endorphins are the happy brain chemicals that are naturally associated with exercise. Certainly, going out on a run can give you an endorphin rush, but many of us left our running days long behind us.

woman laughing endorphins happy brain chemicalsAn alternative to running is practicing yoga. We have Mindful MovementTM classes here at the Delta Discovery Center that will trigger every single one of these happy brain chemicals for you.

Now, if you’re just trying to get a quick dose of endorphins running around in your brain and you don’t want to put on your running shoes and hit the pavement, try looking around for something that will give you a good laugh.

But you know what’s interesting? You can also try to have a good cry. A good cry will tend to have a similar sort of reaction in our brain. You know how you feel like so much lighter, so much better after a good cry? Maybe you stuffed it down and you didn’t want to cry, and then finally you just let yourself do it. Well, that’s that endorphin rush that is making you feel better. That sense of satisfaction.

Another way to get a bit of an endorphin rush is to just celebrate something. Celebrate small victories. I am so guilty of this one saying, “Oh, I didn’t really accomplish that much today or this week.” And then I start thinking about it and I think, “Well, I did this and I did this and I did this and I’m like, you know, I accomplished a pretty darn lot this week and I’m really proud of myself.” In many cases, I got something done that was less than satisfying. Knowing, trusting that there would be satisfaction in knowing I got it done.

4. Serotonin

Serotonin is that last drug in our brain that is the most challenging because serotonin is related to self-respect. Typically with self-respect, we are gauging our respectability by how we are received by others. Now, that can be a bit challenging since we don’t have a whole lot of control over that.

memories serotonin happy brain chemicalsWhat you can do to get a serotonin rush is to go back through memories and think of places times in your life where you felt really good about yourself. Good about your accomplishment. Good about how you were received. And just again, allowing yourself to recall that memory fondly. That will give you a bit of a serotonin rush.

Are you ready to manufacture some natural happiness by increasing your happy brain chemicals?

So, we have discussed each of the four happy brain chemicals that will help us in achieving natural happiness.

One thing to remember about these chemicals is that they all work together. This means that they get even more powerful, they’re amped up, when we combine more than one together.

So, the next time you feel down and feel like happiness is just out of reach, try to get creative. Think of how you might manufacture some natural happiness in your life and turn up that satisfaction level by following the tips that we suggested earlier.


About the author

Dr. Gala Gorman is a licensed Acupuncturist, Naturopath, and Author who offers expert advice and programs to help people prevent disease. She uses advanced techniques that "reverse the clock" on aging. She founded the Delta Discovery Center with her partner, Charlie Frangos, to provide a place for self-discovery and healing on Hilton Head Island and beyond. Dr. Gala helps people learn to be their own health advocates.