Yasmina Kouweik shares some tips on how to elevate your happiness in a time of despair.
We are all currently trying to survive in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. The issues that have come with this situation have added stress and fear to our daily routines. Almost everyone we encounter feels that their lives have changed tremendously since the outbreak, and that is a totally normal experience. However, we students need to feel stability and happiness in order to not only survive, but live healthily and achieve our academic goals without going insane. In this article, I explain the four happy chemicals that our body produces to keep us in a positive mood, as well as how to activate each of them in order to live stress and worry-free.
Hormones are chemicals produced by different glands in your body. They travel through the bloodstream, acting as messengers and play a big part in numerous bodily functions.
What is one of these important functions? Helping to promote positive feelings, including happiness and pleasure.
These “happy hormones” include: Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphin and Oxytocin. Let’s dig a little bit deeper into them and unravel their purposes and what you can do to activate each of them.
Serotonin is a mood stabilizer that also helps regulate your sleep, appetite, digestion, learning ability, and memory. This hormone is essential for all humans, but we students may need to activate it extra much because of its ability to enhance our memory and comprehension. Serotonin flows when you feel important or valuable. Loneliness and depression creeps in when your serotonin levels are very low. Reflecting on your past achievements makes it possible for your brain to relive the experience because your brain has trouble telling the difference between what's real and what's imagined, so it produces serotonin in both cases. Gratitude practices are popular for this reason, they are reminders and mental images of all the good things you've experienced. If you need a boost to serotonin during a stressful day, just try to remember your past victories or a memory that makes you happy.
Additional tips: Practicing meditation, Spending time in nature, getting sun exposure and exercising/being active.
Dopamine drives you to work towards your goals and makes your pleasure in achieving them greater. Procrastination and doubting yourself are outcomes of low dopamine levels.. We as students also need to concentrate extra much on activating our dopamine levels in order to achieve our goals comfortably. Break down your big goals into small realistic ones. Now, instead of letting your brain to celebrate when you reach the big goal, you can create a series of small finish lines for regular releases of dopamine. It is absolutely crucial to reward yourself, so go ahead and buy a bottle of wine, or splurge on that piece of clothing you have been eyeing when you achieve the small goal you have set.
Additional tips: Eating a good meal, Completing a task, taking time for self-care, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly.
Endorphins are produced in response to stress and pain and help to relieve anxiety. Comparable to morphine, it acts as an analgesic and pain killer, reducing your perception of pain. Aside from exercise, endorphin is also released when we laugh and are happy. Even if you are a busy student, making time to occasionally watch a funny movie or a comedy show is necessary for the production of endorphins in your body; which results in a recharge of energy. Regarching your energy from within will benefit your study process, so do not hesitate to forward that funny meme to a friend or to go on a fun adventure.
Additional tips: Game night with friends, volunteering and giving back, exercising and being active.
Oxytocin is typically referred to as the love hormone. When this hormone gets released, intimacy and trust get built in relationships. In other words, oxytocin is the glue that forms healthy bonds between people of any type of relationship. You do not have to be involved in a romantic relationship to be able to activate this hormone, as even an exercise will do just fine. As for physical contact, a simple hug will also benefit; so next time you are in social suurroundings, go for a hug instead of a hand-shake (if appropriate). Receiving a gift is also a way that gets your oxytocin levels flowing which is a proof that small gestures between people is a healthy way to strenghen relationsps/friendships.
Additional tips: Positive touching, creativity, self care and positive surroundings.
As a final note, you probably noticed that each individual hormone is triggered to form by a few specific actions but ALL four have exercising in common. We often think of exercise as something that will keep us looking fit but the reality is much deeper than that. However, exercising is definitely not the only or most important factor to a happy life, because all other tips mentioned above are just as important.