How can you make yourself happy?
Let’s cut straight to the chase. You make, define and create your own happiness. Whether you have a family, are in a relationship or have a tight group of friends, at the end of the day no body is responsible for putting a smile on your face except yourself.
Our brain is filled with chemicals that make us react and feel certain ways when we’re put in different situations. Dr. Loretta Breuning explores the 4 different chemicals that create happy feelings - and ways to take control so that you can feel happier in your life.
Knowing about these chemicals gives you the chance to make you feel happy. Genuinely happy. In the next week, focus on one feel good chemical and try doing something that will trigger it.
What are these feel good chemicals and what can I do to get some of that in my brain?
1. Gimme some dopamine!
This chemical is all over your brain when you are about to get something you want. So when you’ve been waiting for 30 minutes to get your Uncle Tetsu cake, and you finally pull up to the cashier, your brain is going OFF with dopamine. It’ll be hard to walk away without a smile on your face.
To get this bad boy in your brain, make a short (1-3 items MAXIMUM) to do list for the week. Make it your priority to FINISH the list. Every time you check one off, EMBRACE that moment. Feel the glee you get from being productive, give yourself a pat on the back and keep going.
2. Oxytocin me up
This one is in your brain when we trust those around us. It’s most commonly known as the “love” chemical since it’s all over you after you are intimate with a lover or when you truly feel a gush of affection for someone.
Spend time with someone you truly enjoy hanging out with this week. Whether it’s dinner, a movie, a stroll in the park or even chatting on FaceTime, talk to someone that you trust, feel comfortable with and love unconditionally.
3. Serotonin, it’s your turn
This little guy is in your system when you feel important. When you show up and kill that presentation or you finally master a skill you’ve been practicing for so long, serotonin is by your side giving you a big pat on the back.
Do something that you’re good at or take time this week to practice a skill you’ve been trying to improve. It’ll be tough at first, but keep persevering and the reward will be well worth it.
4. More Endorphins, Please
We’ve heard about endorphins everywhere, but most don’t know what they really do. They help mask pain. When you’re skiing down a hill and you land really hard, you may not feel too much pain then because you’re brain is high on endorphins. They are key for our survival, but we don’t need much of it in our daily lives. You can get a little kick from these from laughing or moving your body.
Move. Your. Body. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Walk around. Explore your neighbourhood or city. And most importantly - have fun with it. If you’ve always wanted to dance, go take a dance class. That way when you’re done, not only have you faced your fear, but you also had fun doing it. What better way to spend an afternoon?
Try targeting a chemical and do different things to try and activate it. See how you feel. Keep readjusting as you go until you hit something that gets you going. Let us know what you’re doing and how it’s going for you in the comment section below! We’re in this together.
Want to learn more about Breuning and how to shape your brain to help you feel happy? Check our her book, “Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Oxytocin & Endorphin Levels”.