Recently I got an instagram message from an unknown, “Are you content with what you have”
That simple question was thought provoking actually. I was trying to read it in this way “Am I happy now?”. (Well, I know, the query can be read in a different way too, but for the time being I would like to talk on the feeling of simple ‘happiness’.)
I am surrounded by my love (with occasional fights obviously). Have an atm card with not so bad bank balance and a reliable body. Have a sweet home with roses and butterflies in my balcony. So I have to be happy if these are the conditions for happiness.
They say, you have everything you needed in hand, so obviously you have to be happy.
What about you. Are you happy? Ask yourself? What’s the response from your inner self?
Since the question made me ponder about, obviously there is something daunting in mind. Or else I would have easily ignored that. Years back I had a brain which was good enough to handle all these thoughts on its own. Never had it burdened me with such queries. Or maybe it was my immaturity, as didn’t think much on mind controlling ‘the self’ or ‘the self’ controlling the mind. Now, thinking loud, it implies that I am a bit more matured, and hence started to bother about all these.
So what could make you unhappy? There needs to be biological answer for the same as mood swings are all controlled by certain hormones within the body. yes, you read it right. Mood swings are controlled by your physical brain. So instead of exploring the negative hormones, I started to look for the positive ones to find the chemistry behind happiness.
Imbalance of happiness hormones actually take you to the depths of depression. So obviously certain lifestyle changes are required to for the balance. No one can prepare a recipe for a balanced life. But definitely certain ingredients can add a little color in your habits. Once we understand how this happiness hormones work, won’t it be a bit easier to trigger them?
More often we have an inherent leaning towards negative emotions or stressful times. So why not impart a little training to our brain to generate positive emotions? So let’s learn how to intentionally cause them flow.
Fundamentally, there are four hormones: the reward hormone, the love hormone, the pain killing hormone and the soothing serotonin, mostly made out of different chemical combinations of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen in the brain.
Dopamine or ‘the reward hormone: The pleasure seeking attribute of Dopamine makes you set goals and work for achievements. After all who can be there disliking acknowledgements and appreciations?
Have a realistic goal set and achieve it. There is a dopamine rush in your body.
Think about making a to-do list and feel the satisfaction when you complete an item even if it being a simpler one. And don’t stop there, add more to your list before completing the existing items. Feels a bit awkward..? Don’t worry, as adding entries ensures a pattern in your routine and forces to work for the continual satisfaction.
And maybe that’s the reason behind unhappiness of most housewives as they rarely get acknowledged or appreciated for their job. (Ah! sad indeed)
Oxytocin or ‘the love hormone’: It’s released via skin to skin contact and intimacy.
Oxytocin is released into the bloodstream during physical contacts such as hugging, giggling, sex etc. So what are you still waiting for? Just go and hug your loved one.
Oxytocin stimulates mother-babe bonding as it is produced in abundance during pregnancy and breast feeding.
Living in a digital world means you are lacking this hormone.
It is said that a lack of physical contact between couples reduces the oxytocin level, which pushes the longing for re-bonding with the same person.
Endorphin or ‘the pain-killing hormone’: It’s released during vigorous physical activities, orgasm or sexual intercourse.
The pain sends a message to the brain which in turn releases endorphins and gives you immense pleasure. Couple of weeks back I had a rock climbing and when I reached at the top, I felt something strange in my stomach, it was nothing but a state of overwhelming ecstasy created by these hormones.
This is exactly why regular sex life is recommended – to keep the endorphins level high.
Push yourself to your true potential and feel the runner’s high. But don’t make your health at risk while boosting endorphins. So obviously exercising is one not so painful way to release endorphin.
Even laughter is said to be the easiest way to release endorphin. So laugh until it hurts your stomach.
Serotonin: It plays multiples roles in our body and most importantly it regulate our mood swings. When there is sense of belonging, this hormone flows.
Make yourself feel significant by reminding yourself about the good old times. Challenge yourself on regular basis and strive for your dreams. Well, have a ‘Gratitude journal’ if you prefer. Act in a way that benefit others and enjoy the sense of purpose in your life
Between unhealthy attention-seeking syndrome is said to be a by-product of lack of serotonin.
Exposure to sunlight induces serotonin levels, of course not harmful rays.
You are happy now, doesn’t imply you are challenge free. But you have a happy mind to face the challenges and work for your dreams.
But never stop at your own happiness. Make others too feel it.. so now it’s your turn to make others feel the magical hormonal effects.. Make them too happy.
- Appreciate others, let them feel good. Spread that dopamine- hit to everyone around you
- Hug your kid or mom or lover or even a stranger (if you are safe) and feel the increased oxytocin level at both ends.
- Take your loved ones to the heights of ecstasy though any physical activity and let them feel the endogenous morphine effect.
- Show your empathy and feel for others. Hold their hands and make them feel important with an abundance of serotonin secreted.