Does the seemingly unending news of terrorism, senseless acts of violence, and the economy have you feeling off-kilter? Maybe, it’s not what’s happening in the world around you but all of the negative self-talk swirling inside of your head that makes you feel so blue.
The good news is; you can activate feel-good hormones when you are feeling down in the dumps.
It takes some practice, but it will be well worth the effort.
- Laugh More And Increase Your Well-Being
Robin Dunbar, a psychologist at Oxford, discovered that the simple muscular exertions involved in producing the familiar ha, ha, ha, of laughter triggers an increase in endorphins, the brain chemicals known for their feel-good effect.
It’s been observed that children laugh about 300 times a day, whereas adults laugh, on average, only about five times each day. That’s a pretty dismal statistic so make a point of creating more avenues for laughter and by doing this you will trigger the release of endorphins.
Instead of watching gory and depressing movies or TV shows, you could begin to watch more comedies. It’s also important to limit the amount of time you spend watching the news that sensationalizes tragedy and violence. Get a daily dose of laughter by visiting the Joke of The Day website, exchanging jokes with friends, or calling a friend that you can always have a good belly laugh with.
Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University in California, have researched the benefits of laughter and found amazing results. The major benefit of laughter is an increase in your overall sense of well-being. So begin laughing more frequently and increase your level of life satisfaction.
2. Eat Dark Chocolate And Improve Your Mood
You’ll be delighted to hear that dark chocolate contains chemicals that prompt the release of endorphins. All you need to do is to consume one small square two or three times a week – the heart benefits tend to disappear with the consumption of larger amounts.
3. Listen To Uplifting Music And Lift Your Spirits
Research proves that when you listen to music you like, your brain releases dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientist at McGill University, injected eight music lovers with a radioactive substance that binds to dopamine receptors after they listened to their favorite music. A PET scan showed that large amounts of dopamine were released, which biologically caused the participants to feel emotions like happiness, excitement, and joy.
So the next time you need an emotional boost, listen to your favorite tunes for 15 minutes. That’s all it takes to get a natural high!
4. Exercise To Release Endorphins
The best type of exercise for improving your mood is cardiovascular exercises and aerobics. This is because vigorous exercise helps to release the chemicals necessary for a mood-raising high. Yoga or traditional Pilates are also great as they reduce tension and stress while improving the mood.
Just fifteen to twenty minutes of moderate exercise daily is enough to improve your mood. It’s well worth the commitment to put exercise on your daily calendar. Your outlook on life can change in a short period of time!
5. Connect With Others And Up Your Mood
Researchers from Claremont University in California have done extensive research on the hormone oxytocin and its impact on women. Know as the “love hormone”, it seems to play a greater role in women’s physiology and happiness compared to men’s. There are many beneficial ways to release oxytocin. Here are just a few.
For starters, having great sex releases oxytocin. Even hugging others or using lingering handshakes produces this feel-good hormone.
If you love to dance then you are in luck. Dancing creates an instant atmosphere of natural euphoria- precisely what causes oxytocin release.
Forming close bonds with others, engaging in meaningful social activities, heartfelt conversations, and doing something kind for others all helps to release oxytocin.
6. Get A Good Night’s Sleep to Feel Upbeat
Lastly, a good night’s sleep is also a great way to regulate oxytocin release. There is a natural spike in oxytocin release five hours after falling asleep. This is why people feel upbeat and refreshed after getting seven to eight hours of continuous sleep.
As you can see, you don’t have to fall victim to melancholia, hopelessness, or powerless. You have the ability to activate feel-good hormones that can increase your life satisfaction. You’ll be amazed how your life will begin to unfold.
With that said, if you can not shake these feelings after trying these tips, it is time to seek support from a mental health professional.