Have you ever wished that you could turn up and turn on the natural happy compounds that your brain produces? Imagine how much easier it would make getting out of bed each morning, getting even the most tedious parts of your job done, and finding the energy to consistently show up as your best self for the people in your life. The quest for happiness and pleasure is as persistent and as the human need for survival. Everything we do has the potential expectation attached to it. Eating, sex, companionship, reading, and even making a list. Everything! As we plan we should take into account how the social and natural environment stimulates us and provide feedback for us. Feedback is associated with motivation, satisfaction, and feeling in harmony with the life we live in. This article will be asking you to consider how you are responding to what goes on in your life and how you might plan for that feedback.
Our life is dependent upon habits that become internalized and streamlined through conscious and unconscious interaction as we engage with a stimulus, response, and environmental distraction. Happy chemicals are turned on and intensified in your brain when you see a way to meet your needs and desires such as food, safety, or social support, but with the added complication that your conscious mind creates long chains of association based causes and effect expectations based on your early experiences of life. The feeling we call ‘happiness’ comes from four distinct brain hormones: dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin. These ‘happy chemicals’ turn on when your brain recognizes something good and desirable. Then they turn off, so they’re ready to activate again when something good crosses your path once again. Each happy chemical triggers a different good feeling. For example:
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards but to take action to move toward them. Dopamine gives you a feeling of excitement and a surge of energy when you find things that meet your needs. It provides the “Eureka! I got it!” feeling. But you don’t get its rush for needs that have already been met, so this means that you have to look for new and improved ways to pursue what is important for you, based on your past dopamine surges.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters, chemicals that pass along signals from one neuron to the next. Endorphins are produced as a response to certain stimuli, especially stress, fear or pain. They originate in various parts of your body -- the pituitary gland, your spinal cord and throughout other parts of your brain and nervous system -- and interact mainly with receptors in cells found in regions of the brain responsible for blocking pain and controlling emotion. There are at least 20 different kinds of endorphins, and one kind, beta-endorphins. Endorphins block pain, but they're also responsible for our feelings of pleasure. It's widely believed that these feelings of pleasure exist to let us know when we've had enough of a good thing -- like food, sex or even companionship -- and also to encourage us to go after that good thing in order to feel the associated pleasure. The majority of your emotions (and memories) are processed by your brain's limbic system, which includes the hypothalamus, the region that handles a range of functions from breathing and sexual satisfaction to hunger and emotional response. The limbic system is also rich with opioid receptors. When endorphins reach the opioid receptors of the highly emotional limbic system, and -- if everything is working normally -- you experience pleasure and a sense of satisfaction.
Oxytocin produces the feeling of being safe with others and helps you to connect with and trust others. It is also associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building. Beyond the warm and fuzzy feelings generated by oxytocin release during moments of intimacy, rising levels of oxytocin provide the rose-colored glasses with which most people view their romantic partners. Those in new relationships have higher levels of the hormone than do single individuals. This is why oxytocin is often called "the cuddle hormone" or "the love hormone." When present, it fuels our sense of belonging and attachment to groups, but when absent, it can leave us feeling lonely and isolated. Oxytocin also reduces your stress responses, including anxiety. Basic oxytocin levels within you are near zero without some stimulus to react to. People who release more oxytocin tend to be happier and have more satisfying relationships.
Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) is a monoamine neurotransmitter. It has a popular image as a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness, especially because its production increases when we’re exposed to natural sunlight. Serotonin’s actual biological function is complex and multifaceted, modulating cognition, reward, learning, memory, and numerous physiological processes Serotonin produces the feeling of being happy, fulfilled, and energized being which tends to be associated with respect from others and expressing a sense of pride. stress may interfere with serotonin. Prolonged periods of stress can deplete serotonin levels. Serious and systematic stress can have an impact on the body's ability to produce and synthesize serotonin. Find healthy ways to deal with stress once it comes your way and relive happy memories. Though it may sound corny, reliving happy times may be enough to give your brain a serotonin boost.
The reality is that everyone’s hormones modulate, go high, and dip at times. This is why everyone looks for ways to stimulate their responses and change their state. An always on good or bad feeling is not healthy or sustainable biologically, and when it does happen it often comes with unintended side effects. This is why seeking to discover and streamline your responses encourages you to learn how to come back into balance. By building happy and mindful habits, you can find healthy ways to intensify and fortify these hormones in ways that serve you instead of depleting you. As we design plans for action and establish habits to achieve goals that sustain lifestyles you might consider the following.
Build dopamine opportunities into your goal-setting. When you’re just focused on achieving outcomes, whether it’s completing a project, getting that promotion you’ve been wanting, or perfecting a superstar skill in your industry, the end result can seem so far away that it’s difficult to see the progress you’re making. This means that you forgo the rewards of dopamine from recognizing achievement and appreciating the excitement of improvement. Ensure you design smaller goals so that you can actually see yourself approaching your end goal and enjoy the neurological rewards along the way. Check down to see the progress your making towards your intended outcomes and make a habit of celebrating your success.
Your body is designed to move so take activity breaks. Short regular movements can turn your endorphins on if you’re doing a job where you sit for long periods. Challenge yourself to move at least for five minutes or more every hour. It might be walking up and downstairs to meetings, or taking a walk during your breaks. Movement stimulates our body to react to the conditions of our environment and can be a reward in itself. The movement also helps circulation, metabolism, attention, and energy. Be sure to work with your body instead of against it. Seek to establish this as a habit and you’ll find you are doing it without thought.
Engage with others and build relationships. Take care of yourself and others through communicating, shared appreciation, and explore. Seek out your tribe and develop yourself with your interests. Build trust, touch, and engage in behaviors that allow you to build your own oxytocin circuit. It gets better when we have good people to share our experience and ourselves with. As social creatures, we crave touch and to touch. Sharing ideas, getting massages, getting outdoors to exercise, and discovering new settings all take us out of the personal bubble all of us tend to develop. Appreciate the best that your life offers and share in the appreciation and opportunities that the world around you offers also. Each of us will be drawn to different people and elements in our world. Explore and challenge your comfort zone to develop skills, character, and appreciation of all that is expressed and offered.
Observe and take action on what your body is saying. Know when you need sleep and act on it. Discover where your diet may be too strict or lacking essential food groups. Make time for your whole self or make time for your illness. When your body doesn’t need to make certain hormones you may not feel the deep natural instincts pushing and pulling you towards engaging in progesterone-producing social activities as well as oxytocin- and estrogen-producing nurturing and interdependent relationships. Different activities demand diverse and shifting responses from us. We all need similar elements to be healthy and to thrive we express our individuality through purposeful and chance expressions of style and exploit. The tastes we indulge in food, sex, and cognitive stimulation will be as varied as the discovered stimulation and responses that lit us up. There is a world of experiences out there so while your building and maintaining your life remember that there’s much more outside the familiar. Be open to leaving the comfort zone and your house. Plan to optimize and indulge in living well. Even this moment has an expiration but without you, the energy and experience on your path can’t happen. Our stories are not only lived experiences but also ways of living. How might you use what you read here in designing your life and updating your goals?
Goals are the things one wants to get done and the things one wants to see happen. Goals could be related to wellness, fitness, relationships, finance, spirituality, travel, life balance, learning a new skill, attempting a new sport, studying a new language, starting a new business, or achieving any dream. It sounds a lot like a story. Perhaps an adventure. Goal setting involves identifying pathways for moving from the present situation to the future possibility. Once goals are established then plans are created for reaching the goals. Goal setting includes deciding what goals to set, gaining the commitment of those responsible for achieving them, and communicating them to all those with an interest in their achievement to work together. The quality of goal setting cannot be separated from the quality of relationships we are part of. On this journey, you will discover goals that have real juice for you and you will have an opportunity to create a map to the treasure of responses that this goal of inquiry represents. Create goals but use the stories you are part of to guide them towards success. Establish habits that are good for you and build upon the direction of journey and character. Seek harmony in the experience of your life and discover all the ways your body, mind, and spirit can sing with joy. To discover more on these topics please seek out Instruction of The Hypno Dom and The Tao of Relationship Maintenance for Mind Controllers. You will find the links to these publications below.
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