Happy chemicals in your brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, are released through simple activities, exercise, laughter, and even the food you eat. They can boost your mood and energy levels and are often released completely naturally. Here are some things to know about these happy hormones and how to boost them naturally.
Different Types of Happy Hormones
Before you can talk about how to boost them, you must know exactly what feel-good chemicals you are focusing on. Here are some of the most common ones to consider:
- Serotonin – Some of the happy hormones, including serotonin, relieve stress and anxiety. If you struggle with insomnia or high levels of anxiety, then outdoor activities and exercise can help boost your serotonin levels.
- Dopamine – Dopamine is the hormone that is responsible for your feelings of pleasure. Simple things like a tasty meal, sex, or watching a good movie connect to the reward system in your brain, and give you an instant boost of happiness thanks to a release of dopamine.
- Endorphins – Released by exercise, endorphins give you a boost of energy and happy feelings, often maximizing pleasure.
Get Enough Exercise
Move your body! Getting exercise is going to be a great way to get those happy hormones naturally. This, of course, includes endorphins, but it can release dopamine and serotonin as well. The great thing is that it doesn’t have to be any specific type of exercise. While it is often referred to as the “runner’s high”, you don’t have to go running to release endorphins. Dance, swim, and move your body in any way that you find enjoyable.
If you have never meditated before, now is a great time to start. Meditation really helps you to de-stress and reduce anxiety, find more gratitude for the good things in your life, and set some intentions. It might surprise you to find that you feel more spiritual and energized when you meditate. It is great for releasing serotonin.
Participate in Activities You Love
Anything that you love to do and that brings pure joy and pleasure into your life from cooking and eating with friends, watching something funny on TV, to cuddling or playing with dogs can boost the release of your happy brain chemicals.
Eat Mood Boosting Foods
Give your brain and body the nutrients it craves to help you function at optimum levels. These 5 foods are known mood-boosters that can positively impact your daily life.
- Quinoa – It’s no wonder quinoa is touted as a superfood: it’s considered a complete protein as well as a complete carb. It can help regulate blood sugar levels and keep you from feeling sluggish and irritable. This versatile, ancient grain comes in various colors and can be incorporated into many different recipes ranging from breakfast to lunch to dinner. You can even hide it in desserts!
- Asparagus – Serotonin is increased by tryptophan which is in abundance in asparagus. Serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep and even memory. Asparagus is also high in folate which is an important mood booster. With so many ways to prepare and enjoy asparagus, it should be in your diet rotation regularly.
- Avocado – Avocados are considered natural hormone balancers, which directly affect brain chemicals. Your brain needs vitamins C, E, K, as well as B vitamins to function properly and avocados can provide those. This makes avocados a mood-boosting food that’s not only delicious, but extremely versatile. Avocados are mild enough in flavor that they’re easily hidden in sweet as well as savory foods
- Bananas – High in B vitamins, bananas contribute to increased serotonin levels which act on mood receptors. In addition, bananas are rich in potassium, which is an important electrolyte that supports your heart and muscles. It’s easy to grab and eat a ripe banana, but if you’re looking for other ways to consume it, keeping bags of peeled bananas in your freezer to include in smoothies is a tasty way to go.
- Salmon – Opt for wild-caught salmon to give you a healthy dose of vitamin B12 as well as Omega 3 fatty acids, both of which play a crucial role in brain health. Research has shown that they are directly linked to mood as they provide the brain and other organs with needed nutrients. Luckily, there’s no shortage of delectable salmon recipes, so be sure and try to incorporate this fish into your diet on a regular basis.