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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Andersen, LISW

D.O.S.E.: A Guide to Your Brain's Happy Chemicals

Keep your brain's happy chemicals going for a good day.

When someone asks if you're getting your "daily dose" they could be talking about any number of things — sunshine, chocolate, or vitamins. But, when we talk about getting your daily D.O.S.E. we're talking about your brain's feel-good chemicals: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.

Exploring the brain's happy chemicals

These special chemicals are called neurotransmitters and they help us feel joy, happiness, and satisfaction throughout the day. Let's explore what each of these chemicals can do for us and how we can boost our levels for a happier day!

Dopamine: The Reward Chemical

Dopamine is often referred to as "the reward chemical" because it is released when we achieve something we've set our sights on. This includes finishing a big project or winning a race. It's kind of like the brain's way of giving us a high-five for accomplishing our goals. To increase dopamine naturally, try to set small, achievable goals and celebrate each time you reach them. Other methods include meditation, exercise and being creative.

Dopamine is a great cure for:

  • Procrastination

  • Low self-esteem

  • Inability to focus

  • Mood swings

Oxytocin: The Love Hormone

Oxytocin is responsible for our connections with others. It's released during hugs, kisses, and when we feel close to someone. Oxytocin helps to strengthen relationships and bond with others, such as a friend or a team. Get more oxytocin in your day by giving more hugs, spending time with friends, getting a massage or cuddling with a pet.

Oxytocin is a great cure for:

  • Loneliness

  • Stress

  • Disconnection

  • Insomnia

Serotonin: The Mood Stabilizer

Serotonin plays a key part in keeping our moods balanced throughout the day. Sometimes compared to sunshine, serotonin prevents us from getting too down at times. Boost your serotonin levels by spending time outdoors, exercising, taking a cold shower or getting a massage.

Serotonin is a great cure for:

  • Anxiety

  • Panic attacks

  • Hyper-sensitivity

  • Social phobias

Endorphins: The Pain Relievers

Endorphins come out when our body is in need of some natural pain relief. Have you ever heard of a "runner's high"? That's simply endorphins at work! Endorphins help us push through discomfort to find joy in the things we do. Release endorphins naturally by laughing, exercising, and eating dark chocolate.

Endorphins are a great cure for:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Aches and pains

  • Impulsive behaviors

So, now you know how to get your daily D.O.S.E. of the brain's happy chemicals! Each day, try to take small steps to boosting your mood for better overall wellness. Whether it's setting small goals, spending time in the sunshine, connecting with others, or enjoying a good laugh, there are many ways to help our brains stay feeling great.


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