Does anybody remember laughter? (hint: It’s the noise that happy people make.)
Sadly, according to a recent CNN/Gallup poll, the number of happy people in America is declining. In fact, it’s reached an all-time low.
But happiness doesn’t have to be elusive. In fact, according to natural health educator Angela Arena of Kind Lab, attaining a happy, positive state-of-mind can be as easy as holding someone’s hand or doing a favor for someone you love.
“Happiness comes from internal and external sources. In our brains, it’s a series of neurochemicals that offer the feelings of happiness as well as reduce pain & anxiety and increase connection & satisfaction,” says Arena. “We can trigger the release of those chemical into our bloodstream through specific dietary and lifestyle behaviors such as:
- SNUGGLING WITH YOUR DOG will release OXYTOCIN, The Bonding Hormone, which is produced when we feel connected to people. In a 2003 study, oxytocin levels rose in both the dog and the owner after time spent “cuddling.” Also able to trigger the release of oxytocin are such activities as doing a favor for someone you love, hugging someone, and holding hands.
- ACHIEVING A SMALL GOAL will release DOPAMINE, The Feel-Good Hormone. Dopamine is also triggered when you listen to your favorite song, enjoy a sweet treat, or get a good night’s sleep.
- GETTING SOME SUNSHINE will release SEROTONIN, a Mood Stabilizing Hormone that increases happiness and reduces anxiety. Serotonin can also be triggered by walking briskly, practicing mindfulness, and meditation.
- TAKING A FREEZING SHOWER will release ENDORPHINS, The Brain’s Natural Painkiller, which help reduce stress & increase pleasure. Endorphins are also released by exercise, eating dark chocolate, and telling someone a joke.
“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all regimen when it comes to creating a neurochemical balance that correlates to a sense of happiness. Use this list of neurochemicals as a rudimentary checklist to take inventory of your daily habits and to keep your life balanced. By focusing on lifestyle choices that secrete each of these neurochemicals, you will increase your odds of happiness across the board.”
Be well, stay kind.