The Science behind Happiness
Let's be honest, I think most of us spend an exhaustive amount of energy and time seeking "happiness" but what *IS* happiness? Although such a subjective feeling, it's backed by hard science. While we might feel that joy is personal, it's also a cocktail of chemicals naturally released in our brains that ignites this feeling of contentment.
So, while we can't address Happiness in a spiritual perspective what we can do is help you understand how certain actions can improve the quality of your mental health by releasing 4 essential mood-boosting chemicals, and how these chemicals in our brain truly do help us develop a sense of contentment, happiness & joy.
Our minds natural stress-relievers or what I like to call my naturally occurring ANXIT. A "feel-good" chemical that is known to relieve pain & boost your levels of happiness.
How do we release endorphins in our body or boost the chemical production in our mind? Here are a few key actions to get those endorphins rolling.
Exercise: Gym, spin or a marathon. Endorphins cause the so-called “runner’s high,” a feeling of euphoria that happens after lengthy, vigorous physical activity. Yes, consensual sex releases endorphins too, leaving you with this hazy feeling of euphoria.
Giving: I didn't really think this would work till I analysed why my grand mum was always so damn happy, I mean is it possible to really be that positive & judgement free in life? I don't think there's anything that makes her unhappy and if something does she just looks for the best in that situation which is something I truly admire about her. So what induces this level of happiness in her? I recently learned that it's her generous personality, she's pretty young to be a grand mum but I can tell you from first-hand experience, I've never seen the woman unhappy and I do think that "giving" is her middle name. With an old-age home and an orphanage she supports and being the founding member of a school for the less fortunate has really shown me that when you give, unconditionally life gives back to you an abundance of "happiness" induced by "endorphins"
Spicy Food: Send me bags of chilli's and I'm the happiest woman in the world, a chilli plant would be even better. You know how they often compare pain with pleasure? The feeling of munching on a pepper causes this tingly yet painful sensation on our tongues which for *some* people can release endorphins, according to science.
Dark chocolate: If you don't already have a bar of dark chocolate by your bed side, what are you doing? A little nibble before bed and your partner will thank you very much
Dropping some of our favourite chocolate brands here: Mason & Co, Naviluna, All Things, and our current bedside bar is the Lavender & Dark chocolate bar recently launched by Zenscape.
responsible for your mood and feelings, Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilises our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. This hormone impacts your entire body. It enables brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with each other. Also prescribed in the form of pills by psychologists for people dealing with manic depression this chemical can be released naturally and here's how.
Feeling down & out? Get yourself some vitamin sunshine (D), a long walk, snuggling with your loved ones or simply taking a few moments out in your day to stretch and meditate. They say deep breaths calm you down, now you know why.
involved in reward, motivation, memory, attention and even regulating body movements, dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in our brain. Do you feel like the QUEEN/KING of the world when your hard-work is rewarded? Does that motivate you to do more, do better? That's the dopamine kicking in!
Here's how you can induce Dopamine levels in your brain:
Sleep: Okay, let's get this straight. There are so many of us who still don't manage to get the essential 8-10 hours of sleep every night and truth be told, this can significantly reduce the dopamine levels in our nervous system, making us dull & groggy. Sleep is essential for a healthy mind, the time you take off to rest gives your body & mind the space to rejuvenate.
Up that protein intake honey: I'll be honest with you, my personal protein intake is laughable, I barely eat meat since I've tried to become vegan over the past few years. So as much as I can, I do try and consume more protein. I've recently found a great natural solution by India Hemp & Co, their hemp protein powder in my morning drink keeps my protein levels fairly up through the day and I can feel that with my energy levels too. They say Whey is good, we say NoWhey!!
At the end of the day, a balanced diet that contains adequate protein, vitamins and minerals, probiotics and a moderate amount of saturated fat can help your body produce the dopamine it needs.
Last but not the least; Oxytocin!
It sounds like an illegal drug but it truly just is a natural chemical that's concocted in the complexities of our brain. What I like to call the "cuddle hormone" is released when nurturing deep bonds, snuggling with a child or your pet. Prominent in women, it was first noticed that a surge of this hormone was released during and after pregnancy. Stimulation releases Oxytocin too, so if you're feeling little down & out, share some love with people you admire & see your mood lift from zero to a 10 in just a few snuggles.
The science behind Happiness is pretty simple, if only feeling "Happiness" was as easy too. Try these tricks and let us know in the comments below if & how they've helped you.