That feeling we call happiness is actually an elevation of primarily three neuro-chemicals – dopamine, seratonin and norepinephrine.
Dopamine naturally increases whenever we experience positive, good, upbeat events.
Dopamine increases motivation, creative thinking, memory, problem solving and enthusiasm.
Serotonin naturally increases whenever we are around people we love or care about and experience love, compassion, friendship, etc.
Serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer. it helps reduce depression, anxiety and chronic stress.
Norepinephrine naturally increases whenever you become excited about something.
Norepinephrine increases arousal and alertness, promotes persistence, also enhances memory, and increases your ability to focus.
The elevation occurs when these neuro-chemicals rise above a baseline.
Each individual has their own happiness baseline.
Leading experts on happiness have found that this happiness baseline is genetic, meaning hardwired into your DNA.
Some people, therefore, experience happiness easier than others, depending on their happiness baseline.
But what if you could be happy most of the time?
What if I told you that you could consistently elevate these happiness neuro-chemicals above your baseline and experience happiness more often?
The trick is to engage in daily habits which have the effect of increasing the daily production of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.
So, what habits boost these happiness neuro-chemicals?
- Daily Aerobic Exercise – Aerobic exercise is a happiness activity because it contributes to an overall feeling of well being. Aerobic exercise releases endorphins (form of norepinephrine), natural painkillers that promote an increased sense of well-being and make us feel “happier”.
- Daily Learning – Our brains are hardwired to learn. When we learn something the brain rewards you with specific neuro-chemicals, such as dopamine, serotonin and brain-derived neurotrophic factors, all of which make us feel happier.
- Relationship-Building Activities – The latest science on happiness (Harvard University Longitudinal Study on Happiness) indicates that the more close relationships you have, the happier you are. Volunteering, networking, team sports activities, club participation, mentoring and groups you participate in will help increase the number of close relationships you have.
- Practiced Positivity – Expressing gratitude daily, daily positive affirmations and reading something inspirational creates a positive mental outlook, which elevates serotonin.
- Meditation – Mediation helps increase the production of serotonin, calming the mind and reducing stress.
- Pursuing a Dream – Pursuing something meaningful or something you are passionate about is like hitting the trifecta – you elevate all three neuro-chemicals at once.
- Pursuing Goals – Like pursuing a dream, the pursuit of goals triggers the release of the three primary happiness neuro-chemicals.
- Spending Time With Family and Friends – Spending time with those you love or care about boosts serotonin and engaging in family or friend-related activities also boosts dopamine and norepinephrine.
- Engaging in a Hobby – Finding something you love doing will increase dopamine and norepinephrine.
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