Happiness is a complex human emotion. It’s a combination of both internal and external stimulants that create either positive or negative responses. While no one could begin to create a fool-proof cure for depression, there are several natural ways to help yourself create more happiness helpers. Rather than portraying this as an instant cure for melancholy, consider it a process, a technique that enhances what our bodies currently produce to be the best that we can be.
Let’s start out by identifying some of the chemical processes that create a feeling of happiness and then find out how to boost those chemical releases. The hormones that stimulate our happiness receptors to take bad days to good are:
You can trigger all of them by engaging in certain activities and eating certain foods. Curious? Good! Let’s dive right in.
According to the National Institute of Health’s Dr. Simon N. Young, increased serotonin levels can help with all sorts of disorders from seasonal depression, insomnia and mood swings. It’s actually fairly simple to up your serotonin levels. Want to know how?
Go outside! Yes, that’s right. Exposure to sunlight increases serotonin levels found in most people’s brains and can often lead to a general sense of well-being. It’s not just summer vacations that we believe makes people happy. The sun itself acts as a trigger for our serotonin levels, so step outside and soak up the sunshine.
If you don’t happen to enjoy the heat of outside, no problem. There are lights available for purchase that emit the same rays (minus the UV) to induce serotonin release. In fact, light therapy is rising among Scandinavian countries while light cafés—establishments that serve food and beverages under high-strength lighting—have already infiltrated the U.K. and some parts of the U.S. Check HealingRadius.com to see if there is a light cafe or light therapy center near you.
“Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” The famous line from the movie “Legally Blonde” isn’t far from the truth. Exercise releases many endorphins, easing aggression, releasing tension and increasing one’s sense of well-being.
Even for two minutes a day, getting your heart rate up and your blood flowing will help release endorphins and thus increase your happiness level. Out of shape, in shape or somewhere in between, everyone can benefit from moving their bodies.
Dopamine affects attention span, mood, creativity and the ability to learn, so it makes sense that you’d find natural ways to increase this happiness hormone. According to Dr. Oz, one way to naturally increase dopamine is to add specific food items to your diet while eliminating others.
What should you cut? Sugar, to reduce cravings, overeating, and the tolerance for that sweet and addicting food, as well as caffeine, to decrease the feeling of anxiety and the tightening of neural pathways. Instead, focus on foods rich L-tyrosine, as it helps increase energy, promote mental clarity and improve mood in a natural and safe way. Foods rich in L-tyrosine are:
The steps to increased dopamine levels are fairly simple, right? Try them out today!
Low levels of phenylethylamine, PEA for short, have been linked to depression, decreased brain performance and low energy. Luckily, this lovely little chemical is found in many of our favorite food, including chocolate (just make sure not to overindulge). High-protein foods are the highest containers of PEA, so we’ve made a list of some healthier sources to boost your mood:
Top round beef
Learn to Access Your Happiness Helpers
With more light exposure and simple changes to diet and exercise habits, you can dramatically affect your mood and lift yourself out of whatever negative downturn you may be experiencing. Walk around the block in the sunshine, grab a handful of almonds or sneak a bar of dark chocolate on break. Whatever you do, engage your happiness helpers!
Did you love learning about happiness helpers? Let us know how you feel in the comments below or email us your own blog to share!
The best thing you can do to help yourself is to heal yourself. Find and book an appointment with a wellness or fitness center through HealingRadius.com!