How to train your brain to release more happy chemicals

Would you ever want to incorporate the happy chemicals in your brain? Imagine how easy it would be to get out of bed every morning, do even the most tedious parts of your work and find energy to constantly show yourself as the best person for the people you care about the most. But is it really possible – not to mention that it is desirable – to try to train our brain for greater happiness?

“The pursuit of good feelings is the engine of nature’s survival,” explained Professor Loretta Broyning, founder of the Institute of Inner Mammals, when I recently interviewed her. “For example, animals seek food to reduce the unpleasant feeling of hunger. They tend to heat in order to alleviate a bad feeling of cold. And happy chemicals begin to arrive even before the mammal even eats or heats up, because the brain turns them on as soon as it finds a way to satisfy the need. ”

The same thing applies to people. Happy chemicals are included in your brain when you see a way to satisfy the need for survival, such as food, safety or social support, but with the added complication that your cortex – the thinking part of your brain – creates long chains of associations on based on your early life experience.

“The feeling we call“ happiness ”comes from four special brain chemicals: dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin,” Loretta explained. “These“ happy chemicals ”turn on when your brain sees something good for your survival. Then they turn off, so they are ready to reactivate when something good crosses your path. “

Every happy chemical evokes different good feelings. For instance:

  • dopamine gives you a sense of excitement and a surge of energy when you find things that suit your needs. It provides “Eureka! I understood! “Feeling. But you do not get it to meet the needs that have already been met, so this means that you need to look for new and improved ways to achieve what is important to you based on your previous dopamine emissions.
  • Endorphins cause a feeling of euphoria that can help mask your pain in a short time so that you can avoid harm when injured. Like runners after hard training, it is caused by physical pain, as well as laughter and crying, and this may explain some people’s tolerance for painful relationships.
  • Oxytocin creates a sense of security with others and helps you communicate with and trust others. When it is present, it fuels our sense of belonging and attachment to groups, but when it is absent, it can leave us alone and alone.
  • Serotonin produces a sense of respect from others and a sense of pride. Despite our best intentions regarding cooperation and altruism, it can also harbor a “sense of unity” over others and is one of the reasons we often strive for social comparisons.

“The reality is that everyone is happy with the lower levels of chemicals, so everyone is looking for ways to stimulate more,” Loretta explained. “The problem is that instant good feelings are impossible at any moment and are often accompanied by unintended side effects. However, by creating happy habits for the brain, you can find useful ways to raise these chemicals so that they are useful to you and others. ”

Loretta suggested trying:

  • The introduction of dopamine in goal setting – When you are simply focused on achieving results, whether it is completing a project, getting the advertising you want, or turning into a superstar in your industry, the end result may seem so far away that it is difficult for you to see the progress you have made. ” does again. This means that you are refusing dopamine rewards. Instead, try to develop smaller goals so that you can actually see how you are approaching your final goal, and enjoy the neurological reward.
  • Taking an endorphin break – Short, regular movements can turn on your endorphins if you work long hours where you sit. Challenge yourself to move for at least five minutes every two hours. This can be walking up and down the stairs for meetings or walking during breaks. And listening to the audiobook that you enjoy while driving may seem like a fun break.
  • Release of oxytocin by building confidence – While oxytocin is included in trust, sometimes we may try our best to let other people close enough to us to maintain that trust, because we want to avoid disappointments or betrayals of the past. In the end, it can be difficult to gain confidence when you feel that a predator is going to get you because you feel isolated. It’s important not to make gigantic overtures that make you feel threatened, but to build trust in small incremental steps. Try making a small overture to one person on the same day, and then a small overture the next day to another person and continue to do so. Although the world cannot change overnight, you will get small oxytocin emissions and create your own oxytocin regimen.
  • Taking your inner mammal – Know that we all have times of insecurity when our status feels threatened. Understanding how your mammalian brain works can help you notice when you humiliate yourself, and also avoid humiliating others if you walk alone. If you feel that your status is at risk in one area, you can compensate for this by reminding yourself that you still have status in other areas. And when you realize what you are doing, you can internally remind yourself of all your strengths, and you do not need to beat other people on the head with your strengths.

What can you do to include more of your chemicals of happiness?

This article was originally posted on Michelle McQuade’s blog.

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