How To Check Your Hormones For A Better Mood
Hormones are chemicals produced by different glands throughout your body. They travel through the bloodstream, acting as messengers and playing a role in many bodily processes.
One of these important functions? Helps regulate your mood.
Some hormones are known to help promote positive feelings, including happiness and contentment.
These "happy hormones" include:
Dopamine. Also known as the "feeling good" hormone, dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that is an important part of your brain's reward system. Dopamine is associated with pleasant sensations, along with learning, memory, motor system function and more.
Serotonin. This hormone (and neurotransmitter) helps regulate your mood, as well as sleep, appetite, digestion, learning ability, and memory.
Oxytocin. Often called the "love hormone", oxytocin is essential for childbirth, breastfeeding and strong parent-child bonding. This hormone can also help promote trust, sensitivity and bonding in relationships and oxytocin levels generally increase with physical affection like kissing, hugging and sex.
Endorphins. Endorphins are your body's natural pain reliever, which your body produces in response to stress or discomfort. Endorphin levels also tend to increase when you engage in reward-producing activities, such as eating, working out, or having sex.
Here is a look at how to get the most out of these natural mood stimulants.
Get out, spend time outside
Are you looking to increase your endorphin and serotonin levels? Spending time outdoors, in the sunlight, is a great way to do this.
According to the trusted source of 2008 research, exposure to sunlight can increase the production of serotonin and endorphins.
Start with at least 10 to 15 minutes out each day. If you are tired of the same old sights, try exploring a new neighborhood or park. (Just remember the sunscreen!)
Exercise has many physical health benefits. It can also have a positive impact on emotional well-being.
You may have already heard about the link between exercise and endorphin release.
But exercise does not only work on endorphins. Regular physical activity can also increase dopamine and serotonin levels, making it a great opportunity to boost your happy hormones.
Maximize your workout
To see even more benefits from the exercises: Include some friends. A small 2009 study of 12 men found evidence suggesting that group exercise offers more benefits than solo exercise.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at a time.
Laugh with a friend
Who has not heard the old saying, "Laughter is the best medicine"?
Of course, laughter will not address ongoing health issues. But it can help relieve feelings of anxiety or stress and improve a low mood by increasing dopamine and endorphin levels.
According to a small 2017 study in which 12 young people participated again, social laughter triggered the release of endorphins.
Cook and enjoy a favorite meal with a loved one
This advice could in theory boost all 4 of your happiness hormones. The pleasure you get from eating something tasty can trigger the release of dopamine along with endorphins. Sharing a meal with someone you love and bonding while preparing a meal can increase oxytocin levels.
Certain foods can also have an impact on hormone levels, so note the following when planning your meal for a happy hormone surge: Spicy foods, which can trigger the release of endorphins, yogurt, beans, eggs, meat low in fat and almonds, which are just some of the foods that are linked to dopamine release.
There are several supplements that can help increase your happiness hormone levels. Here are just a few to consider:
tyrosine (associated with dopamine production)
green tea and green tea extract (dopamine and serotonin)
probiotics (may increase serotonin and dopamine production)
Experts studying the effects of supplements have found varied results. Many studies involved only animals, so more research is needed to help support the benefits of supplements for humans.
Listen to music
Music can deliver more than one of your happy hormones.
Listening to instrumental music can increase the production of dopamine in your brain.
But if you like music, just listening to any music you like can help you get in a good mood.
If you are familiar with meditation, you may already know about its many health benefits from improving sleep to reducing stress.
A small 2002 study links many of the benefits of meditation to increased dopamine production during practice. Research from 2011 also suggests that meditation may promote endorphin release.
Pamper your dog
If you have a dog, giving love to your fluffy friend is a great way to increase oxytocin levels for you and your dog.
Get a good night's sleep
Poor sleep can affect your health in many ways.
It can contribute to an imbalance of hormones, especially dopamine, in your body. This can have a negative impact on your mood and your physical health.
Normally you can experience some stress from time to time. But living with regular stress or dealing with very stressful life events can cause a decrease in the production of dopamine and serotonin. This can negatively affect your health and mood, making it harder to cope with stress.
If you are under a lot of stress, the American Psychological Association recommends:
a short break from the source of stress
20 minutes for a walk, jog, bike ride, or other physical activity
Do a massage
If you like massage, here's one more reason to get one: massage can boost all 4 of your happy hormones.