DOSE of Happiness

Four tips to live a happier life in Kenya and how to trigger your DOSE for happiness.

What makes you happy? Some would give examples like money, a loving relationship, children, a pet, that well-paying job or a scoop of ice-cream. A 2015 survey revealed that Kenya ranked the 125th happiest country out of 158 countries sampled in the global ranking of happiness survey; so we aren’t that happy.

However, happiness has been known to be in our control thanks to neurochemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters, generated in the brain which are fundamentally responsible for creating the sensations and emotions that make us happy.

They are Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins making up the perfect DOSE of happiness.

1.  Dopamine

This is a neurotransmitter also known as the “reward chemical’.  When you score a goal, hit a target, or accomplish a task, you receive a pleasurable hit of dopamine in your brain that tells you you’ve done a good job. This can also be achieved through conducting acts of kindness.

Tip: Spare some time to volunteer towards a worthy cause. Volunteering has been shown to increase dopamine as well as have other long-term health benefits. Moreover, some research has even found that it only takes thoughts of loving kindness to bring on the dopamine high.

2.  Oxytocin

Oxytocin is primarily associated with a loving touch and close relationships.

This hormone provides a warm fuzzy feeling, by stimulating Dopamine and Serotonin, while reducing anxiety.

Tip: To get your hit of oxytocin, give someone you love a cuddle. Even a pet will do.

3.  Serotonin

Serotonin may be the best-known happiness chemical because it’s the one that antidepressant medication primarily addresses. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is naturally triggered by several things we can do each day.

Tip: Exposure to bright light such as sunshine, is one way to increase serotonin. Exercise and happy thoughts also stimulate production of this chemical.

4.  Endorphins

Endorphins are opioid neuropeptides, which means they are produced by the central nervous system to help us deal with physical pain. They also make us feel lightheaded, and even giddy at times.

Tip: One way to induce endorphins is exercise. As little as 30 minutes of exercise will do the trick.

Next time you feel a little low, these tips are sure to help you bring back those happy vibes. As they say, the best things in life are free. Remember, to share these tips with a friend, family member and spread the happiness bug!!

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