(First of all, a very warm welcome to all the new followers of One Happy Journey, as the title suggests, a happy journey is exactly what you have signed up for. It’s about our well-being: mind, body and spirit. Thank you very much for joining me. As always, please feel free to share your wonderful ideas in the comment section.)
What is happiness? What makes you happy?
In this post i will discuss happiness mainly from a scientific perspective, provide you not only general information, but also a few proven techniques to maximize your happiness now.
The techniques/tips will be mentioned in bold blue font.
If we ever have a feeling of joy, pride, love, fulfillment, achievement, etc., all these ‘happy’ feelings are in fact biochemically produced feelings, and they’re predominantly produced by 4 chemicals: Endorphin, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin. Our emotions are not as unpredictable or intangible as they may seem, so it gives us the very good news – we can manage and increase our good feelings!
Endorphin, produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland, is designed to do one thing – mask physical pain.
Therefore Endorphins are released in response to pain and stress (another form of pain perceived by our mind). Similar to morphine, Endorphins act as an analgesic and sedative, diminishing our perception of pain, and also help to alleviate anxiety and depression.
If you have heard of the colloquial term Runner’s High, which describes a sudden euphoric feeling or boost of energy experienced during prolonged strenuous exercise, such as running a marathon, Endorphins are responsible for this feeling. That’s why all the people who exercise regularly genuinely feel so good about doing their workout. However, if you are not a big fan of sweating in the gym or running on the beach, no worries! There are other tricks you could do to boost your Endorphin level.
Along with regular exercise, laughter is one of the easiest ways to induce endorphin release. Even the anticipation and expectation of laughter increases levels of Endorphins. So, congratulations if you are a funny person! Developing a good sense of humor, sharing that funny text or email, watching your favorite comedies, being friends with people who make good jokes are all great ways to keep the doctor away.
Aromatherapy: The smell of vanilla and lavender has been linked with the production of Endorphins.
Studies have also shown that dark chocolate (a.k.a. Cocoa) can lead the brain to release Endorphins too.
Meditation or controlled-breathing exercises – Tai Chi, Pilates and yoga are believed to induce Endorphins.
Eating Chili peppers — Capsaicin, which puts the burn in chilies, also triggers the body to release some fire-quenching Endorphins.
Bodywork – Both acupuncture and massage therapy allow you to rejoice with your inner drug dealer.
(More information about Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin will be covered in the next 2 posts. Stay connected!)