Hacking Your Happy Chemicals
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Did you know that the body releases hormones called happy chemicals to make us feel good? Happiness is an abstract feeling. It can be the feeling of contentment, optimism, or hope. When one thinks of happiness, it is instinctive to think of it as just a mood or a state of being.

However, it is brain chemistry that plays a huge role in emotions. These happy chemicals are actually neurotransmitters and hormones. They assist the brain in interpreting what you are experiencing, coming in the form of reacting and eventually, feeling emotions.

Harnessing these happy chemicals is an easy thing. Read on to find out more and use them for a new you this 2023.


Serotonin is the body’s natural “feel good” chemical, regulating mood in the brain. This chemical also plays a key role in the body’s functions such as:

  • Digestion: The majority of the body’s serotonin is in the gastrointestinal tract, helping control bowel function while protecting the gut. The gut can increase serotonin to speed up digestion, ridding the body of irritating food or toxic products. Additionally, serotonin assists in reducing appetite while eating.
  • Healing Wounds: Platelets in the blood release serotonin to help heal wounds. Serotonin causes the small blood vessels to constrict, thus, slowing the blood flow. This promotes clot formation, which is an important process in wound healing.
  • Mood: On optimal levels, people feel focused, emotionally stable, calmer, and happier. Depression is often associated with having low levels of serotonin. Therefore, medications used to treat mood disorders aim to increase the level of serotonin in the brain.
  • Sexual Health: Serotonin and dopamine play a role in a person’s desire for sex.
  • Sleep: Working in tandem with dopamine, serotonin helps improve the quality of your sleep. Moreover, the brain uses serotonin to create melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

Hack these happy chemicals by:

  • Getting more exercise – Mood disorders and heart health are helped by getting exercise. Therefore, thirty minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week will improve both at the same time.
  • Getting more sunlight – low exposure to sunlight can lead to seasonal affective disorder. Therefore, getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight daily to increase serotonin and Vitamin D levels. Additionally, spending more time in nature allows you to breathe in fresh air. Doing so raises the oxygen levels in the brain, increasing serotonin levels.
  • Including more tryptophan-containing food in your diet: the body uses tryptophan to create melatonin and serotonin. The following food items below are useful sources of tryptophan:
    • Salmon
    • Eggs
    • Cheese
    • Turkey
    • Tofu
    • Pineapples
    • Nuts, oats, and seeds
  • Practicing meditation – Meditation reduces stress, slowing down the brain’s activity to reach a particularly calming effect. This reduces the concentration of gray matter in the amygdala, thus helping the production of serotonin.


Endorphins promote feelings of pleasure. Also known as endogenous opioids, are the body’s natural pain relievers. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland controls and releases endorphins into the body.

The body releases endorphins during painful instances or injuries like spraining an ankle. While this is the case, pleasurable events such as eating chocolate or having sex also release endorphins.

Releasing endorphins have the following benefits:

  • Attenuating inflammation
  • Boosting self-esteem
  • Improving mood
  • Increasing pleasure
  • Reducing pain and discomfort
  • Reducing stress, depression, and anxiety
  • Supporting a healthy immune system
  • Supporting memory and cognitive function

Hack these happy chemicals by:

  • Eating dark chocolate – Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids trigger the brain to release endorphins. Dark chocolate is a reliable source of caffeine which helps boost mood.
  • Getting acupuncture treatments – Acupuncture has gotten a long way from starting in China to receiving a wider acceptance in western medicine. Acupuncture needles stimulate the central nervous system through the insertion of needles in specific points in the body. This then releases many chemicals into the body, endorphins included.
  • Getting more exercise – Mood disorders and heart health are helped by getting exercise. Therefore, thirty minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week will improve both at the same time.
  • Have sex – Sex increases the release of all four happy chemicals while improving heart rate and stamina.
  • Laughing – The body releases feel-good hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine when we laugh. This suppresses stress hormones to improve mood, reduce pain, lower blood pressure, and support a stronger immune system.
  • Listening to music – Music promotes mild pain-reducing effects by releasing endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine.


Dopamine shows a lot of similarities to serotonin. Finishing a task or reaching a big goal releases dopamine, therefore playing a role in motivation, reward, and pleasure. It plays a big part in thinking and planning, helping people focus and become productive.

Apart from making you feel good, dopamine also has the following functions:

  • Blood flow
  • Digestion
  • Executive function
  • Heart and kidney function
  • Memory and focus
  • Mood and emotions
  • Motor control
  • Pain processing
  • Pancreatic function and insulin regulation
  • Sleep
  • Stress response

Hack these happy chemicals by:

  • Including more tyrosine-rich food in your diet – Tyrosine aids in producing melanin, the pigment responsible for skin and hair color. Additionally, it helps in the function of organs such as the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands. Tyrosine-rich food include:
    • Cheese
    • Meat
    • Dairy
    • Fish
    • Soy
    • Seeds, nuts, and beans
  • Increasing magnesium intake – Magnesium helps in the production of protein, bone, and DNA.
  • Optimizing sleep hygiene – Dopamine is released in large amounts in the morning, when it is time to wake up, and falls naturally in the evening when it is time to sleep.  Lack of sleep disrupts this natural rhythm.  Hence, in order for one to have a balanced level of dopamine and be more alert and functional during the day, it is recommended to have at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults.  Sleep hygiene can also be improved by sleeping and waking up at the same time each day, reducing noise in the bedroom and avoiding caffeine in the evening.


Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that facilitates childbirth. In females, oxytocin helps during the contraction of the womb during labor. In males, it plays a part in ejaculation, pushing the sperm & semen forward for ejection. Oxytocin is linked to connectedness and trust, which is why it is often called the “love hormone” or the “cuddle chemical”.

Lower levels of oxytocin in the body have been linked to causing depression, especially post-partum depression.

Hack these happy chemicals by:

  • Getting more exercise – Mood disorders and heart health are helped by getting exercise. Therefore, thirty minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week will improve both at the same time.
  • Listening to music – It improves one’s mood, focus and motivation.  This also improves one’s ability to create social bonds. 
  • Receiving physical contact – Simply getting a hug, cuddling, or having sex gives the body a boost in oxytocin.

It always pays to be informed.  

Reach your goals better with these hacks for your happy chemicals. Remember, health is your number one resource, therefore, along with your goals, it is important that you take care of yourself too. Call a specialist doctor when you feel anything out of the ordinary.

Make your consultations easier. Download the Medgate app today via Appstore or Google Play, chat with us on Facebook Messenger, or call us through the following numbers:  

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2023 | Fitness and Wellness | Hormones | Lifestyle | Nutrition