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During these winter months, it can be easy to start feeling less joy. After the holiday feelings crash, sometimes your left wondering how you can feel that happiness again. When we think of happiness, we typically start thinking of ways to stay positive,  like seeing friends or family, having fun, etc. What makes up that actual joy and happiness feelings are brain chemicals! Seratonin, Dopamine, Endorphin, and Oxytocin are the four primary  ‘happy chemicals’ that make you feel positive emotions. 

In order to best understand ourselves, what we need, and what we need to work on to feel happier, we must know about each of these chemicals. The more we know about them and how to achieve them, the easier it will be to ‘feel happier.’

Seratonin- The Social Chemical

  • When we feel recognition or accomplishments from others, often related to pride and status
    • When someone compliments how you’ve decorated your home
    • When you graduate college and walk across to get your diploma
    • When you score a winning goal in soccer and your team and audience cheers

Dopamine- The Reward Chemical

  • It gives you a short temporary ‘natural high’ to motivate you for future long term goals
    • When you finish another semester of college are one step closer to graduating
    • When you post on Instagram and start seeing a  bunch of ‘likes’ on your post
    • When you check another box off your to-do list

Endorphins- The Pain Killer Chemical

  • They are released in response to your body being in pain, helps push you out of your comfort zone, and not quit
    • When you go for a long run
    • When you laugh really hard at something
    • Getting a deep tissue massage to rub out knots

Oxytocin- The Love Chemical

  • It is when you feel love, friendship, and deep connections
    • When you open up emotionally
    • When you give a compliment
    • When you give a long hug