Here’s an insight into the naturally occurring, mood-boosting hormones that run through our body.
With the winter blues kicking in and the gloom of lockdown still among us, it’s never been more important to identify what can scientifically make us happy and shake off the seasonal slump.
The medical name for winter depression is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and if you suffer from it, you’re definitely not alone. Here’s an insight into the naturally occurring, mood-boosting hormones that run through our body, and what we can do to trigger a spike in their production and instantly feel better.
Serotonin is a key hormone in the body for stabilising our mood, allowing our body and brain to communicate and generally keeping us calm and relaxed. It is a chemical that transmits messages between our nerve cells, also known as the ‘happy’ hormone, due to it often being prescribed as an antidepressant in the form of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). But you don’t always have to turn to your GP to boost your serotonin levels. Here are the best ways to naturally stimulate the production of this hormone:
Taking a few minutes each day to practice your breathing, stretch your body, and perhaps even meditate can help your body to relax and your mood to regulate.
Whether it’s in the form of a walk outside (which, even in the winter, will have a great effect on your mood) or in the shape of a supplement, Vitamin D is essential to the healthy production of serotonin in the body. Track down a local park or walking route, tune into a feel-good podcast or put on a mood-boosting playlist and walk your troubles away.
Dopamine is one of those fantastic neurotransmitters that our nervous system uses to send messages around the body. It plays a huge role in our ability to think and plan, and more importantly, feel pleasure. For an instant spike of Dopamine, try:
Praising yourself when you win and soothing yourself when you lose are essential habits to incorporate daily. Whether it’s in front of a mirror or for a few minutes away from your desk, remind yourself of what you have accomplished, while also self-soothing when things don’t go your way.
If there’s one thing we cherish, it’s selfcare – and lots of it! Get your hands on one of our most recommended sheet masks, move your butt into a bubble bath, and relax. When it comes to selfcare, its completely personal, make it your own and you can never get enough of it!
Otherwise known as the ‘love drug’, oxytocin is the hormone that is to thank (or to blame) for how we respond to individuals we find attractive and form a bond with. It plays a key role in our social interactions, and influences how we behave in our romantic relationships, during pregnancy, and after we give birth. If you really want to feel the love, follow these simple steps:
If there’s one thing we’ve really missed since the start of the pandemic, it’s a good old-fashioned hug. For those of you who are in a bubble with friends and family, don’t be afraid to ask them for a cuddle once in a while. If you live alone and are a proud dog mom, the same effect can be achieved through stroking your pet.
The way to everyone’s heart is through their stomach, and the most indulgent way to boost everyone’s mood, including your own, is through preparing and sharing delicious food. Don’t misinterpret this as a fast-food binge – this might feel good in the short term, but in the long-term you’ll feel more sluggish than you did at the beginning. Instead, prepare a healthy and hearty meal to warm you up from the inside out.
Endorphins are our body’s natural way of responding to pain and stress as a survival technique. They produce a feeling of euphoria, but they don’t always require something unpleasant to be stimulated.
Physical exercise is the quickest way to send a rush of endorphins pumping around your body, while assisting other bodily functions such as your heart rate, digestion, mood and feelings. If a Joe Wicks HIIT class doesn’t appeal to you, then sex is often a favourable alternative to hitting the gym!
If there’s one positive thing that has come out of lockdown, it’s the surge in creativity that has occurred as people have more free time on their hands. From candle-making to bread-baking, there are plenty of ways to channel your energy and boost those endorphins from the comfort of your own home.