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Happy Hormones

Four of the hormones our bodies produce, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins, are known as the happy hormones. Part of their role is to make us feel good and reduce stress on our minds and bodies. When they are in short supply, we feel miserable, worn out and hopeless.

Humans are naturally social creatures and research shows that social isolation causes the brain to have similar activity to someone in physical pain. Here are some ways to increase your daily supply of happy hormones, whether you are spending lockdown alone or with others. Chocolate included. Dopamine

This is involved in reward, motivation, memory, attention and even regulating body movements. When you work hard for something and achieve your goal, Dopamine gives you that “Yeah!” feeling. If your Dopamine levels are low you might feel unmotivated, find it hard to concentrate or be uninterested in things that you used to enjoy.

Here’s how to increase your supply:

· Complete a task and celebrate a small victory

· Exercise - check the sports page

· Try a self-care activity to reduce stress

· Eat foods rich in the amino acid Tyrosine

· Get plenty of sleep


Serotonin

This mood stabilizing chemical also helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting. Low levels of the chemical have been associated with Depression and Anxiety.

Here’s how to increase your supply:

· Meditate

· Exercise

· Sunshine

· Walk in nature

· Eat foods rich in Tryptophan (Although Serotonin is made in the brain, about 90% is stored in your gut)


Oxytocin

Often called the Love-hormone, this can help with bonding in relationships. Low levels of Oxytocin can leave you feeling disconnected from others, negatively affect your self-esteem and cause an increase in Cortisol, which makes you feel anxious.

Here’s how to increase your supply:

· Playing with a dog

· Hugging and holding hands

· Random acts of kindness

· Bonding with friends- this can be online

· Listening to happy music


Endorphins

These play an important part in your body’s ability to manage pain and experience pleasure. Low levels of Endorphins can lead to aches and pains, mood swings, Depression and Anxiety.

These are the easiest to produce. Here’s how:

· Laughing - even a fake laugh will trigger a burst of endorphins

· Dark chocolate and Wine

· Exercise

· Random acts of kindness

· Hot baths

· Listening to music

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