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10 Tips To Boost Happy Hormones Naturally

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Medically reviewed by Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Happy Hormones in the Brain

We all want to be happy. Being happy is a beautiful sensation that can take over your mind and body, making you laugh or cry. Plus, happiness is contagious enough to spread to others. 

Often the reason we feel optimistic, chirpy, or joyful is due to highly intricate chemical interactions that occur within our bodies — also known as happy hormones.

Hormones are chemicals produced by the various glands throughout the body. They circulate in the bloodstream, acting as important messengers that contribute to different biological functions.

What Are The Happy Hormones in the Brain?

The hormones most commonly referred to as the “happy hormones” include:

Dopamine: A hormone and neurotransmitter that is an integral part of your brain’s reward system.  Dopamine is also known as the “feel-good” hormone. Pleasurable experiences, learning, memory, and motor system function are all linked to dopamine.

Serotonin: This hormone and neurotransmitter aids in the regulation of your mood, appetite, digestion, learning ability, and memory.

Oxytocin: Necessary for infant delivery, breastfeeding, and strong parent-child bonds, oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone.” Oxytocin levels tend to rise when engaging in physical acts of love such as kissing, snuggling, and intercourse.  It can also assist in fostering trust, empathy, and bonding in relationships.

Endorphins: Endorphins are a natural pain reliever produced by your body when reacting to stress or suffering. Endorphin levels tend to rise when a person engages in reward-producing activities like eating, working out, or having sex, and can increase feelings of overall well-being.

10 Ways To Naturally Boost Happy Hormones

One of these crucial functions that hormones assist with is helping to keep your mood in check. There are certain hormones that are known to promote good emotions, such as happiness and pleasure.

Read on for ten ways to increase your happy hormones:

  1. Stay hydrated
  2. Excercise
  3. Prioritize sleep
  4. Listen to music
  5. Eat something
  6. Get a hug
  7. Get some sun
  8. Laugh
  9. Meditation
  10. B Vitamins

Stay Hydrated 

Dehydration[1] can impair your body’s ability to deliver serotonin to the brain.  A common cause of low serotonin levels are linked to dehydration, which is quite frequent among Americans.

Instead of waiting until you’re thirsty to drink, drink plenty of water in between meals. 

Individual and environmental factors also influence how much water you require each day. For instance, when the weather is sweltering, during and after exercise, if you’re pregnant or nursing, and when you’re sick with a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, it’s critical to increase your water intake.

When you’ve had a stressful or traumatic event, it’s also crucial to drink plenty of extra water to flush out cortisol[2]. Our bodies create the stress hormone cortisol during stressful periods, and too much of this hormone is harmful to our health.

Exercise 

Daily exercise is the most effective approach to increase serotonin levels. Just 30 minutes of exercise per day is all that is needed to reap the mental benefits. 

Exercise also helps us sleep better, calm our minds, keep our hearts strong, and maintain a healthy weight.

According to research[3], frequent exercise directly increases serotonin levels, which raises your heart rate and improves your brain function. Exercise also increases dopamine, another happy hormone, so you receive a double dosage of feel-good hormones just by getting up and moving. 

Your endorphins also kick in when you race or truly feel the burn.

Prioritize Sleep 

Sleep deprivation has several negative consequences for your health.

For starters, it may cause an imbalance of hormones[4] in your body, particularly dopamine, which can negatively impact both your mental and physical well-being.

Setting aside 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night can help restore hormone balance in your body to make you feel better.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, try creating a calm, restful environment by reducing light, noise, and screens. Head to bed and get up at the same time each day to create a routine for your body. It’s also helpful to reduce caffeine use, especially in the afternoon and evening.

Listen to Music 

Both singing and listening to music can cause oxytocin[5], the love hormone, to be released. One study found that patients suffering from open-heart surgery recovered faster after listening to calming music on a regular basis. They owed this recovery to the reduction in pain, stress, and anxiety produced by the increase in oxytocin.

Listening to music is an excellent strategy to increase dopamine levels as well. McGill University researchers[6] found in a 2011 study that listening to music you enjoy (especially if it gives you “chills”) causes a rise in feel-good dopamine. 

Eat Something 

Carbohydrates[7] boost serotonin levels, which helps to explain why we prefer sweet, starchy foods when we’re sad. Choose nutritious, high-fiber carbs like dense whole grain bread or quinoa for the best mood boost with the least negative impact.

It is also recommended that you eat mussels, spinach, asparagus, eggs, salmon, dark chocolate, legumes and nuts, avocado, and take a probiotic to boost your progesterone levels, which are linked to estrogen levels. 

Consuming spicy foods can also help to release more happy endorphins.

Get a Hug 

All it takes is a short embrace[8] from someone you trust to light up your happy hormones. For the hug to be successful in boosting your mood, it should last for at least 30 seconds, and ideally with full body contact. 

Get Some Sun 

Getting in more sun exposure can help the body form more happy brain chemicals such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine. This is primarily because you are being exposed to vitamin D[9], which is required to form these brain chemicals. 

Your body creates Vitamin D upon exposure to sunshine, but you can also get in some vitamin D through your diet.. Fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, and fortified dairy and grain products are all good sources. 

However, natural sunlight is the best source. 

Begin by spending at least 10 to 15 minutes each day outside, even if it’s a little chilly out. Try exploring a different area or park if you’re weary of the same old views. Remember to still apply sunscreen, however, to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays.

Laugh  

Laughter is the best medicine. It can help alleviate anxiety and tension and improve a bad mood by increasing dopamine[10] and endorphin levels.

Laughter reduces stress, boosts immunity, and generally makes you feel better. Laughter therapy has been approved as therapy to treat anxiety and depression in patients.

So, share that humorous video with a buddy or partner, dust out your joke book, or watch a comedy show. The release of oxytocin may be triggered by bonding over something amusing with a loved one.

Meditation 

Meditation offers numerous advantages, including relaxing and focusing the mind. This activity is also advantageous as it helps to release happy hormones, including endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin.

Meditation[11] and mindfulness are beneficial to mental health and happiness. Meditation stimulates the pituitary gland to release endorphins, which promote relaxation, self-healing, and overall well-being. 

Anxiety, despair, pain, focus, and the physical impacts of stress can all be improved by practicing meditation.

Take just ten minutes per day to focus on your breath to reap the advantages of meditation. If your mind wanders, gently and compassionately bring it back to your breath.

B Vitamins

The creation of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, is dependent on adequate B vitamin[12] intake.

Irritability, short attention spans, and short-term memory loss are all symptoms of vitamin B6 insufficiency. Brown rice, legumes, whole grains, and meats are all high in vitamin B6. 

Another brain-boosting nutrient is vitamin B12[13], often known as cyanocobalamin. B-vitamins can also be found in leafy greens of many kinds, such as kale, spinach, broccoli, and rocket.

Sometimes You May Need Even More Help

It’s normal to feel everyone feels low from time to time. But if you’re feeling down often, you may want to consult with your healthcare provider. They can help to determine if you are suffering from depression or need medical treatment to get your mood in a better place again.


+ 13 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

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Medically reviewed by:

Dara is a full-time freelance writer with experience in several fields including politics, travel, and ophthalmology. When she isn't sitting at her computer, you can find her dabbling in filmmaking and acting.

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