Serotonin & Dopamine

Yippee, I feel so happy...

Happiness is a state of mind and lots of factors can impact on our ability to feel happy. Ask yourself, when are the times you felt true happiness. What was around you, who were you with, where were you and which of these was the most important factor.


Sometimes, we are full of joy and we didn't expect to feel this way and sometimes, we aren't and again, we didn't expect to feel this way.

There are loads of things that makes us feel happy, mainly things we describe as life. We can nearly control our level of happiness, we can focus and reflect on the moments that generate 'happy' and load up our big bag of life full of these, making sure they are regular and appreciated. It takes time, practice and patience to find and enhance these techniques and behaviours in ourselves.

We naturally seek pleasure and avoid discomfort and the wiring in our brain is preset to help with this. Lots more chemicals than those we are discussing impact our ability to be happy, let's keep it simple though and concentrate on dopamine, and serotonin. These vary from person to person. They aren't the 'be all and end all', however they can influence our moods and provide us with 'happy'.


Serotonin

Throughout the central nervous system and circulated all around the body is a neurotransmitter called serotonin. It's linked to digestion and more, most importantly the way we feel, i.e. our mood.

It's low levels is one of the factors when considering someone experiencing depression. When we have higher levels available we can often associate this with the feeling happy, hence it's common title, 'the happiness chemical'.

As humans we love people and embracing people and belonging to something bigger, being around others in a group, generally being social. This can help to maintain the higher amounts of serotonin, enabling us to feel joy. A hug that is loving and long-lasting achieves a natural boost your levels. Exercise, sunshine, saying thank you and a gorgeous healthy meal can also increase the levels.


Dopamine

Imagine jumping into your favourite swimming pool in the world for the first time in a long time. Dopamine has been released in the brain and is being transported around the various pathways in the body. It affects your bodily functions, your blood flow, sickness, pain, kidney function, brain output and loads more.

Dopamine is your reward system, your 'pat on the back', your sense of achievement, your focus on a goal, your high after sex and the feeling you get when you achieve a like on Facebook. Small things count too, fixing that leaky tap, receiving that surprise letter from a friend, your manager telling you can tick that item off your 'to do list'.

When you shout "YIPPEE", it's probably a lot to do with your dopamine. Lowered levels of dopamine can impact depression and deminish our abililty to focus, take risks and feel energised.

Boost your levels via exercising, eating well, having enough sleep, listening to your favourite music and avoiding acute stress and not over-indulging in processed foods.


Go get some happy...

We can influence our mood, do some of the below and impact your mood whenever possible:


1. Move Go for a brisk stroll or do some exercise, do a workout, walk to the shop instead of driving. If it releases endorphines, it's highly likely to improve your mood. 2. Say thank you To yourself and others, be grateful, appreciate the things that people do for you. Write down the 10 things you take for granted and stick the list on your fridge. 3. Read a book Education will always be helpful, mix up your reading, fiction, non-fiction, autobiographies and self-help. 4. Supplement your wellbeing Wellbeing is all about being a well being, do anything you can to boost this, small steps lead to amazing amounts of change. 5. Be around happy Utilise anyone and everyone who when you are in their company, they make you feel good and if you can be you, it's a good sign.


Your brain is pre-wired and your genetics play a huge part in how you feel day-to-day. You do have the ability to influence and impact some of the biological factors.


Not always though, it ok not to be ok and if you feel overwhelmed or at a point in your life where you need support, please seek professional help. You are allowed to ask for help. No one feels happy 100% of the time and that is 100% ok. Wherever possible, not for too long.


Join us on a Mental Health course, we would love to see you.

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