Balance | Thrive #Do
Continuing from January’s theme and mantra; “be” and commit – “start where you are, use what you have and do what you can”, the focus this month is on Happy Chemicals (known as DOSE). In this newsletter, we share a little insight on the what, the why and the how of DOSE.
Dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins are happy chemicals that promote positive feelings like pleasure, happiness and love. Understanding the importance of these happy chemicals in the brain and body, as well as their impact on health, enables you to take intentional steps to support your “be” for 2022.
What are happy chemicals?
Happy chemicals are, sometimes, called hormones and neurotransmitters. Some claim that hormones and neurotransmitters are exactly the same due to their similar roles as messengers in the body. Also, these chemicals significantly influence behaviour. However, they are different entities which facilitate several specific physiological processes. Some of the distinguishing factors that clarify the confusion between the two are; both hormones and neurotransmitters act as chemical messengers in the body. The organ system of hormones is the endocrine system while that of neurotransmitters is the nervous system. The big difference
between hormones and neurotransmitters are the way they act. Happy hormones travel through the bloodstream while happy neurotransmitters only occur in the brain and central nervous system.
The big 4 known as DOSE
- Dopamine. Also known as the “feel-good” hormone, dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that’s an important part of your brain’s reward system. Dopamine is associated with pleasurable sensations.
- Oxytocin. Often called the “love hormone”. This hormone can also help promote trust, empathy,
and bonding in relationships, and oxytocin levels generally increase with physical affection like kissing, cuddling, and sex.
- Serotonin. This hormone and neurotransmitter helps regulate your mood as well as your sleep,
appetite, digestion, learning ability, and memory.
- Endorphins.Are your body’s natural pain reliever, which your body produces in response to stress or discomfort. Endorphin levels also tend to increase when you engage in reward-producing activities, such as eating, and working out.
How to make the most of these natural mood-boosters?
Below are a few ideas and a share of some personal examples at FAB.
- Listen to music
- Laughing with a friend
Increasing DOSE at FAB – Early February during our breakaway Michael was up and about before the crack of dawn enjoying his morning walk. Exercise has multiple physical health benefits. It also has a positive impact on emotional well-being. Exercise doesn’t just work on endorphins. Regular physical activity also increases your dopamine and serotonin level. We also learned that Jenny is committed to adult ballet at least once a week. Giving her the opportunity to be in a space to connect, be and express. Conrad loves playing guitar. Music gives more than one of our happy hormones a boost. Listening to music, increases dopamine. Musicians also experience an endorphin release when creating music. For Milena and I , as the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Needless to say, laughter does not treat ongoing health issues. It helps relieve feelings of stress and improves a low mood by boosting dopamine and endorphin levels. Sharing that funny or watching a comedy, creates an added bonus. Bonding over something hilarious even triggers oxytocin releases. Pictures of activities in the FAB sox have been shared ranging from Cape Town to Surrey in England. People deliberately increasing DOSE by doing a chosen activity.
The Bottom Line
Happy chemicals influences our mood and feelings of reward and motivation. Although levels are generally well regulated by the body, there are lifestyle changes we can make to boost our levels naturally. Lifestyle choices are important. Happiness hormones are a reflection of your environment, relationships, diet, exercise regime, and, in some cases, even your gut. That’s right, you have the power
to be by the choices you make every day.
What will you be doing to increase your DOSE?