Did you know you can naturally increase your body's "FEEL GOOD" hormones?!
Whether it's been a downer of a day, a rough week, or you could just use a boost, learning way to increase YOUR feel-good hormones can go a long way in improving your mood and even help in reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.
Let's jump into exactly what hormones are + ways you can utilize yours to feel your best!
What are Hormones?
Hormones are considered the "chemical messengers" of the body. They are produced and released by the glands of the endocrine system, which includes the hypothalamus, pineal gland, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, thymus gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, as well as the ovary glands in females and testes in males. As a whole, the endocrine system sends hormones directly through the blood to virtually all body cells.
Hormones play pivotal roles in processes such as:
Regulating metabolism and energy balance
Influencing smooth muscle (such as in the stomach) & cardiac muscle secretions
Regulating the chemical composition + volume of extracellular fluid
Allowing proper growth and development of body tissue
Regulating certain activities of the immune system
Contributing to reproductive processes including embryo nourishment + childbirth
Regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.
Establishing the circadian rhythms
Regulating mood balance
What Are the "Feel-Good Hormones"?
Of the 50+ hormones found in the human body, there is a specific group commonly known as the "feel-good hormones" due to the happy (and sometimes euphoric) feelings they produce. These hormones include serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin.
You may also often hear these hormones referred to as neurotransmitters, as they can further carry messages between the cell spaces of the nervous system.
How to Naturally Increase Your "Feel-Good" Hormones
One of greatest "life hacks" we can incorporate into our daily routine includes utilizing certain activities, life practices, and even foods to directly promote an INCREASE of these happy hormones!
Find the 4 "Feel-Good" hormones, what they do + ways to naturally increase them below!
Officially nick-named the "feel-good hormone", serotonin plays an important role in regulating mood and emotions, as well as helping prevent both anxiety and depression. Serotonin also aids in regulating important processes such as appetite, digestion, sleep-wake cycles, wound healing, bone health and libido.
How to increase Serotonin: eating tryptophan-rich foods (i.e., turkey, salmon, eggs, cheese, pineapple, pumpkin seeds), partaking in exercise, getting 15-30 minutes of sunlight, promoting a healthy gut microbiome, sleeping 7-9 hours per night, and reducing stress levels as best as possible.
Considered the "reward hormone", dopamine is involved with feelings of reward and motivation. It also plays a role in learning, memory, cognition and emotion, and is released when we do anything pleasurable.
How to increase Dopamine: eating tyrosine-rich foods (i.e., bananas, yogurt, poultry, beef, fish, eggs, milk, sesame seeds, almonds), enjoying a delicious meal, relaxing, listening to your favorite music, completing a task, exercising, meditating, and partaking in "sexy activities".
Endorphins are neurotransmitters which produce feelings of euphoria and are capable of minimizing discomfort + maximizing pleasure. They are most commonly linked with exercise such as the "runner's high" experienced after cardiovascular exertion, and are even considered the body's "natural pain killer".
How to increase Endorphins: exercising, dancing, watching a funny movie (laughing), eating dark chocolate or spicy foods, being creative, and using essential oils such as lavender, rosemary, orange, lemon, grapefruit or bergamot.
Dubbed the "love hormone", oxytocin plays a role in feelings of bonding and attachment. While most commonly known for its high release in women during childbirth (which stimulates contractions), milk let down and breastfeeding, this hormone can be felt by anyone at any time with feelings of intimacy or love.
How to increase Oxytocin: increasing your intake of Vitamins C & D + magnesium, hugging or cuddling, holding a baby (or puppy!), giving a compliment, having meaningful conversations, and expressing your love or gratitude towards someone.
The next time you're feeling low, try experimenting with these different ways YOU can release YOUR "feel-good" hormones for the ultimate a mood boost!
Disclaimer: While supplementation is typically available for these hormones (or their precursors), it's important to note they are often NOT necessary and can have unwanted and serious side effects in certain cases. It's always recommended to consult your doctor, primary care physician, or naturopathic doctor before beginning use of any supplementation.