I am always fascinated by the many elements that influence how we feel and how we perceive life. As someone who is very driven to constantly grow to the next level and embody my highest self, a healthy lifestyle, mindset and self-love are essential to me.
Hormones are some of my favorite subjects as they have such a profound impact on pretty much all aspects of our well-being.
A special category are happy hormones: chemical messengers and neurotransmitters that are primarily released in your brain and directly impact your mood and feelings.
Happy hormones are responsible for many important functions to keep your body and mind functioning well, but are best known for their ability to make you experience happiness, well-being, joy, pleasure and focus.
The way your hormones function is closely related to your lifestyle and how you take care of yourself. Nutrition, sleep, exercise, relationships, environment and stress levels all affect your hormones and they in turn affect the way you experience life.
Serotonin for example is produced for 90% in your gut. This means that you can directly impact how you feel mentally, emotionally and physically by consciously choosing the food you eat.
A happy gut is a happy mind and that works both ways!
The four most important happy hormones are Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphins. These are their proporties and this is how you can maximize them:
How to optimize your happy hormones?
Dopamine -the reward hormone
Motivation, impulses, pleasure, concentration, movement
How to elevate it:
Listening and dancing to your favorite music
Completing a task or goal (no matter how small)
Celebrating yourself and your wins
Breath work such as the Wim Hof Method
Cold showers / ice baths
50% of Dopamine is produced in the gut a.k.a. the second brain.
Take care of your gut microbiome with plenty of probiotic, fermented foods such as coconut yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi and pickled vegetables. Also activated (soaked) nuts and seeds, chickpeas, coconut, carrots, garlic and leafy green vegetables.
Maintain healthy levels of Dopamine by eating enough foods that contain the amino acid L-Tyrosine. You can find it in foods such as avocados, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, peanuts, bananas, yogurt and cheese.
L-theanine an amino acid found in green and white tea contributes to the production of Dopamine.
Serotonin - the love hormone
Mood, wellbeing, happiness, anxiety reduction, sleep, digestion
90% of Serotonin is produced in the gut.
Eat foods rich in the amino acid Tryptophan a building block for Serotonin - tomatoes, bananas, pineapple, oats, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, plums, quinoa and spirulina.
Also prebiotic foods such as beetroot, garlic, mushrooms, apples, blackberries and citrus fruits are important.
Oxytocin - the cuddle hormone
Trust, bonding, love, stress reduction, self-esteem
How to elevate it:
Hugging a loved one
Connecting with friends
Playing with children or animals
Kindness and generosity
Romance and intimacy
Eating probiotic foods such as kefir, kimchi, tempeh, coconut yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and apple cider vinegar is beneficial.
Endorphins - pain relief hormone
Pain relief, relaxation, “runner’s high”, pleasure, euphoria, stress reduction
Getting a massage
Cacao stimulates the release of endorphins. But go for good quality chocolate!
I like combining very pure chocolate with Medjoul dates. Inspired by a friend, I sometimes eat 100% pure chocolate this way, but if that's too intense for you, 80% or 90% also works great.
Here is the recipe for Medjool dates with adaptogenic chocolate with a crunchy layer of adaptogenic chocolate.
So you see that in addition to your usual self-care, you can consciously and simply impact how you feel by paying attention to your happiness hormones.
Life is beautiful, enjoy it!