I LOVE the science behind happiness. When we do things, especially activities that make us happy, chemicals are released that influence our emotions. The Huffington Post published an article on October 20, 2014 entitled “Hacking Into Your Happiness Chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins and Oxytocin,” by Thai Nguyen. This article states that we can intentionally cause these chemicals to flow by engaging in activities that bring us happiness. Here are the benefits:
- When we let Dopamine flood our system, we are motivated to achieve goals, and it brings us great pleasure in the process, and at the finish line. When we have low levels of Dopamine, that negative self chatter increases, and procrastination gets a firm hold on us.
- We know Serotonin has been released when we feel relevant or noteworthy. Just the opposite happens when this chemical is lacking.
- Nguyen states that Oxytocin creates healthy relationships, which includes intimacy and trust. This chemical has also been referred to as the cuddle hormone, and can be simply activated by giving someone a hug.
- Endorphins are usually released after a rigorous workout, and can also alleviate anxiety and depression. Aroma therapies (e.g., vanilla and lavender) are known to trigger endorphins, and so does laughter.
It’s up to us to engage in activities that will help to sustain our happiness. Set some goals, surround ourselves with people who think we are relevant, hug friends often, and laugh regularly. Happiness will become addicting because it feels so good!