Happiness Biohacks to Feel Your Best

You can trick your body to feel happier.

Sep 11, 2020

 (mavo / Shutterstock.com)

Happiness is a state of mind that depends on the complex interaction of chemicals in your brain. When you understand how your brain works to regulate your happiness, it's easy to take small steps to hack your brain and increase your happiness.

Since people are hardwired to seek pleasure and not pain according to Tony Robbins, happiness is actually a science. And it is controlled by your brain. Your brain releases certain chemicals in response to interactions with people and the environment. Chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, work together to make you feel good and whole. So, trick your body to feel your best with these happiness biohacks. 

Endorphins: The Natural Pain Killers 
When someone gets injured, the brain releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. This survival tactic has helped humans respond quickly in dangerous situations by handling pain better.

You don't have to hurt yourself to get your brain to release these endorphins. According to a study published in Sports Med, the body reacts in a similar way during exercise, because it is being  stressed. So, if you want to lift your mood, try throwing in a workout to get a hit of your body’s natural pain killers. 

Serotonin: The Happy Chemical 
Happiness has a lot to do with how much serotonin you have in your brain. A study published in Clinical Chemistry found that those who suffer from depression often have lower than average levels of serotonin. 

One simple way to hack your brain to release serotonin is to put on your shoes and head outside. Research published in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience showed that the brain releases serotonin when the skin absorbs sunlight. So, when you can, spend some time outdoors during a sunny day for a dose of the happy chemical.

If you live in a seasonal, rainy climate, you might not have the chance to get sunshine during the winter months. Fit in some meditation and breathing exercises for your serotonin fix. A study published in Ancient Science  showed that meditation triggers the brain to release serotonin; a biohack for treating stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Dopamine: The “Feel Good” Neurotransmitter 
You could call dopamine the “feel good” neurotransmitter because, when released in the brain, it automatically lifts your mood.

Your body uses dopamine to encourage good survival decisions. Going back thousands of years ago, let’s say one of your ancestors successfully foraged for food or hunted an animal. Boom: The brain releases dopamine. They feel good and want to do it again!

You can use dopamine to trick your brain to complete big goals. Research published in National Institutes of Health found that you experience dopamine when you complete a task. (There’s a reason why checking off an item on a to-do list feels so satisfying.) When you have a big project, break it down into smaller steps. You’ll get a hit of dopamine as you go, an excellent motivator to work toward big goals and feel your best.

Oxytocin: The Love Hormone 
Your brain produces oxytocin when you have positive social interactions with others. This “love hormone” or “cuddle hormone”, according to Live Science, makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you spend time with others. That means getting more oxytocin is as simple as hugging a friend, smiling at a stranger, or snuggling with a loved one. 

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ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.