Serotonin; it’s the clever little hormone that’s responsible for feelings of wellbeing and happiness – that’s certainly something we want served up! But this little multi-tasker is also known to help regulate appetite, improve sleep patterns, as well as promote learning and memory. To get your fix, pack in any exercise that will get your heart rate pumping, swimming, biking, jogging, or soaking up some sun.
Fake it till you make it
If you’re looking for an inspiring talk to watch, check out Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on body language. She’ll quickly teach you to ‘fake it till you become it’ – such is the power of body language. Science has also shown us that body language can make you happier; the act of slapping a smile on your dial actually tricks your body into producing more of those happy hormones.
Speaking of happy hormones, dopamine is another favourite; this one is tied up with your brain’s reward system. When dopamine is released, it sets off a clever little chain reaction that registers in your brain as a reward and results in a sense of pleasure. To regulate your natural dopamine levels, make sure you’re getting enough shut eye and getting plenty of exercise. Dopamine’s greatest threat is stress, so make sure you avoid it to keep those levels high.
Entertain the endorphins
Endorphins are another happy hormone to entertain. This one acts on the opiate receptors in our brains, reducing pain and boosting pleasure, resulting in a feeling of wellbeing. Much like serotonin and dopamine, there are certain things you can do to increase your level of endorphins, such as eating good foods, exercising or any other ‘rewarding’ activities.
Eat your way there
We’re well versed in the importance of sleep for wellness – and consequently, happiness – but did you know you can eat your way to a good night’s sleep? A balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat proteins that are rich in B vitamins, like fish, poultry, meat, eggs and dairy is believed to help regulate melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating your sleep cycles.
Magic of meditation
Numerous studies have proven the benefits of regular meditation. These can include decreased stress, improved concentration, lower blood pressure and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, just to name a few. So how does it make you happier? By lowering the levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — helping you feel more relaxed.
When we relax, the flow of blood increases around our body, which actually gives us more energy. Relaxation not only slows our heart rate, reduces our blood pressure and relieves tension, it also aids digestion, as we absorb essential nutrients more efficiently when relaxed, which helps to fight off disease and infection. For an even more powerful punch, breathe from your diaphragm for some added benefits.
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