Contributed by Beth Rush
Everyone could use a happiness boost every once in a while. You could call your best friend or watch a funny movie, but those things may only provide short-term joy. Learn how to cheat happy hormones to feel better and supercharge your productivity at work. You’ll avoid feeling burned out, leading to greater satisfaction at home and your job.
Your body naturally produces hormones, but you can also influence how much it makes. You only need to learn how to hack your hormones. The process involves understanding which ones you need to accomplish your goals, like feeling happier.
Once you know this, you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
Happiness occurs when your body produces enough hormones to stimulate the feeling in your brain. Numerous organs contribute to this production because the four happy hormones originate in various places. They include:
Each hormone contributes to your positive mood differently. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates your moods to prevent depressive episodes. It appears in many antidepressant medications for that reason.
Dopamine activates your pleasure reward center to make you want to do happy activities again. You enjoy the benefits of dopamine after smelling your favorite meal simmering on the stove or buying something just for fun.
Oxytocin comes from the pituitary gland and activates its own continual release of happiness when you’re around someone you love. People most often experience this hormone when they’re in the middle of a long hug or doing pleasurable sexual activities with their partner.
Endorphins make you feel better by minimizing physical pain, which requires signaling the brain to release more oxytocin. When you laugh or exercise, your body releases endorphins to aid itself and make you feel better.
Your happy hormones aren’t just good at influencing your mood. They can also help you become more productive. Check out a few easy ways to boost your emotional state with these ideas that increase hormone production.
1. Get More Cardio
Recent research shows regular cardio-focused exercise routines increase serotonin production by activating the central part of the brain more directly. Adding two or three cardio workouts to your weekly routine could make you feel more positive each day.
Exercise also makes people more productive. The cardio activating your brain sharpens your cognitive skills while reducing or eliminating your sadness. You’ll make decisions more quickly and effectively, leading to greater productivity and better time management.
2. Change Your Diet
You don’t need to overhaul your diet to feel better. Small changes can make a big difference as you learn how to hack happy hormones.
Consider eating a small amount of dark chocolate. It contains phenylalanine, which boosts endorphin secretion while directing more blood flow to the brain.
You could also eat more soy products. Soybeans enhance vasodilation and blood flow, making it easier for the brain to function optimally. Your body will also gain more energy since soy features magnesium and zinc and is a complete protein.
You’ll become much more productive when your body has the nutrients it needs to remain energized and happy. Staying on top of your to-do list won’t feel exhausting because your body starts each day in an optimally nutritional place.
3. Sit in the Sun
Whether at home, work or out in town, try getting more sunlight in your daily routine. It contains vitamin D, a prohormone that strengthens the endocrine system in charge of making your hormones.
Remember — too much sunshine can cause UV damage, leading to burns and skin cancer. If you’ll be in the sun for more than a few minutes, apply sunscreen to protect your health.
4. Try Self-Care Activities
You may not be as productive as you’d like because your stress levels are too high. Feeling stressed can make your energy drop, leading to less focus and a sour mood.
Self-care activities provide healthy outlets for your stress and boost your happy hormones. Go for a walk with someone you love to increase your oxytocin levels. Read a book while diffusing citrus essential oils and you’ll create more endorphins that elevate your mood.
If you’re unsure where to start, reflect on your past hobbies. Which activities did you enjoy most and why? Exploring your interests could provide the stress relief you need to feel better and ramp up your productivity.
5. Socialize More Often With Loved Ones
Being around people you love improves your oxytocin production. You don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to enjoy this happiness hormone hack. Visit your friends or family. Spend time on video chat or schedule a coffee date to catch up. You’ll have fun and instantly make more oxytocin naturally.
You can hack your hormones with simple lifestyle changes. Consider making these adjustments to target the specific hormones you think you’re not getting enough of daily. Whether you socialize, change your diet or relieve stress with new hobbies, you’ll feel better and channel your boosted energy into your productivity.
by Beth Rush • Managing Editor at Body+Mind