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What are Feel-Good Chemicals?

Updated: Apr 7

Two woman friends laughing

What are Feel-Good Chemicals?

To better remember this, you may wish to think of the word D.O.S.E.




Endorphins Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins are like the "mood managers" in your brain. They work together to help regulate your emotions, control your pain, and make you feel good.

In this article, we will break each one down and show you how you can create more of these happy chemicals in your brain allowing you to feel better each and every day.

Man listening to music with a smile outdoors

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is sometimes referred to as the "reward" chemical because it's released when we experience something good or pleasurable, such as eating delicious food, playing video games, or listening to music we love.

What are Some Natural Ways to Increase Dopamine?

  • Sleep

  • Sunlight

  • Meditation

  • Social interaction

  • Laughing

  • Listening to music

  • Eating healthy food

  • Learning new things

  • Practicing gratitude

  • Exercise

Think of dopamine as a virtual reward system in your brain. Every time you do something you enjoy, your brain gets a hit of dopamine, which makes you feel good and motivated to do it again. This is why you might feel like you want to keep playing a video game or listening to a certain song over and over.

three female friends hugging

What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin is the social butterfly within you. It is a hormone that's released in our bodies and it's known as the "feel-good" hormone. It helps us feel more connected to others and gives us a sense of happiness and well-being when we're with people we care about.

Think of it as a sort of emotional boost. When we spend time with loved ones, hug someone, or engage in other activities that make us feel good, our bodies release oxytocin. This release can lead to feelings of happiness, relaxation, and a stronger bond with the people around us.

What are Some Natural Ways to Increase Oxytocin?

  • Cuddling

  • Sex

  • Giving/receiving hugs

  • Social support

  • Meditation/Prayer

  • Warmth (e.g. sun exposure)

  • Massage

  • Spending time with pets

  • Physical Touch

So, the next time you feel that warm and fuzzy feeling after spending time with friends or loved ones, know that it's partly thanks to oxytocin!

Man and Woman walking a white dog

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a chemical in our brain that helps regulate our moods and emotions. It's often referred to as the "feel-good" chemical because it can contribute to feelings of happiness, well-being, and contentment.

Think of serotonin as the thermostat for our mood. It helps keep our emotions balanced and stable. When we have enough serotonin in our brains, we tend to feel happy, confident, and relaxed. However, when we don't have enough, we may feel sad, anxious, or irritable.

What are Some Natural Ways to Increase Serotonin?

  • Exercising

  • Bright light exposure

  • Good nutrition

  • Sleep

  • Mindfulness

  • Social support

  • Time in nature

  • Humor and laughter

  • Reducing stress

  • Supplementation (e.g. omega-3 fatty acids)

So, in a way, serotonin helps us feel emotionally stable and helps us handle stress and challenges in life in a more positive way.

husband and wife in bed having coffee laughing

What are Endorphins?

Endorphins are natural pain-fighters, they help relieve pain and stress, and make you feel good by giving you a happiness boost.

So, these chemicals are like your own personal happiness squad, working together to help you feel your best and tackle life's challenges with positivity and energy. They're released when we exercise, laugh, or experience any other type of pleasure, and they help us feel good and reduce stress. That's why you might feel a rush of happiness or a "runner's high" after a long run or a workout.

What are Some Natural Ways to Increase Endorphins?

  • Laughter

  • Eating spicy food

  • Interval training

  • Massage

  • Sun exposure

  • Sex

  • Sauna

  • Acupuncture

  • Hot baths/showers

In a way, endorphins are like your body's own happiness prescription. They help you feel better, reduce pain, and boost your mood, so you can tackle life's challenges with more energy and positivity.

So, now that you have the ultimate guide on how to feel good, start adding some of these examples to your day and see the difference it will make in your daily life.

Note from Author, Jennifer Wood
Book a Consultation with Jennifer Wood

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