Everyone wants to be happy. It is one of the highest goals that consummates our reason for living, along with other ideals like peace and love. But, what does it mean to be happy?
Well, that is up to you to define.
For some, happiness means achieving their goals or becoming wildly successful. For others, it is something as simple as enjoying good food or a nice cup of tea. [transition: } Regardless of whether you plan to find happiness in the future or a looking to enjoy some if in the present, here are six things guaranteed to make you feel a bit happy.
- Get some hugs
Hugs are a popular form of communicating love and trust. However, hugs serve more than just saying “I care for you,” hugs serve to reinforce bonds between two people via the secretion of oxytocin. Oxytocin is one of the three happiness hormones, along with dopamine and endorphins.
Oxytocin mainly functions as a prosocial hormone– intended to promote social acceptance and friendship–but it also other benefits, like reducing levels of cortisol and lowering blood pressure. Other physiological functions of oxytocin relate to the stimulation of lactation and labor.
But, oxytocin is also responsible for the feel-good feeling that you experience whenever you hold hands with a lover or have a cuddle. Given the current circumstance, I understand if you do not want to go around hugging others. However, there are other ways to boost your oxytocin levels, such as playing with a pet or getting a massage.
- Helping others out
Oxytocin is not only released when you hug someone. It is also released when you something kind to someone.
Have you ever experienced that feeling of warmth and contentment whenever you do something nice for a person? That is oxytocin! The great thing about it is that it is contagious. Not only do you get a surge of oxytocin whenever you do something kind, but so does the person on the receiving end. Oxytocin encourages us to be empathetic because empathy helps us create and maintain social bonds.
A 2009 study published the results of an experiment designed to measure the correlation of acts of kindness on life satisfaction. They found that participants who practiced random acts of kindness reported higher levels of life satisfaction.
Acts of kindness do not need to be grand. Being kind can be as simple as holding the door for someone, donating clothes, or saying thank you (and meaning it) when you get your food order.
- Get some sun
Summer is finally here, which means that sunbathing might help you feel a bit happier. Vitamin D plays a role in the synthesis and creation of serotonin in the brain. A 2018 study concluded that an increase in vitamin D maintained the concentration of extracellular fluid serotonin in the brain, which impacted the development and improvement of neuropsychiatric disorders like depression.
- Laugh out loud
Laughing can also be a great way to increase your happiness. Laughing not only involves your face, but it also involves your whole body. There are a series of processes happening when you laugh. Your brain works faster, muscles tighten, and throat closes up, and much more. However, the most interesting thing that happens, is that your pain tolerance goes up. The increase in pain tolerance is due to a spike in endorphins.
Endorphins are not only responsible for pain tolerance, but they also help promote social bonds.
Laughter is miraculous in the sense that you also get a dose of dopamine whenever you laugh. Dopamine is the reward hormone. When we laugh, dopamine creates a euphoric feeling which encourages us to laugh again.
Another great to make yourself feel happier is by exercising. We all know that exercising increases your endorphins, but it also increases your levels of dopamine. Both hormones help reduce anxiety, cortisol and allow you to feel more at ease, which can consequently make you feel better.
If you are suffering an injury, some great options are yoga or meditation since these two activities cans also increase your dopamine levels.
So, no matter how you choose to find your happiness, just remember that it is feasible simply by putting into practice one of these five points.
Leave a comment below letting us know what other things have made you feel happy!
Bourg Carter , S. (2011, November 22). The Natural High of Laughter. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/high-octane-women/201111/the-natural-high-laughter.
Cirino, E. (2018, April 11). Why You Should Get (and Give) More Hugs. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/hugging-benefits#3.-Hugs-may-boost-your-heart-health.
Julson, E. (2018, May 10). 10 Best Ways to Increase Dopamine Levels Naturally. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-increase-dopamine#TOC_TITLE_HDR_9.
Kaviani, M., Nikooyeh, B., Zand, H., Yaghmaei, P., & Neyestani, T. R. (2020, March 13). Effects of vitamin D supplementation on depression and some involved neurotransmitters. Journal of Affective Disorders. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032719333713?dgcid=rss_sd_all.
Krishnakumar, D., Hamblin, M. R., & Lakshmanan, S. (2015). Meditation and Yoga can Modulate Brain Mechanisms that affect Behavior and Anxiety-A Modern Scientific Perspective. Ancient science, 2(1), 13–19. https://doi.org/10.14259/as.v2i1.171
Raypole, C. (2019, September 30). Happy Hormones: What They Are and How to Boost Them. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/happy-hormone#affection.