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How to Boost Your Happiness Hormones – Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphine

In the intricate symphony of human emotions, our brains orchestrate a complex interplay of neurochemicals that influence our perception of happiness and well-being. Among the many neurotransmitters at play, four primary happiness transmitters stand out as key architects of our emotional landscape. These neurotransmitters—dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins—serve as vital messengers within our brains, intricately woven into the fabric of our thoughts, behaviours, and experiences. Understanding the roles and mechanisms of these happiness transmitters offers profound insights into the intricate mechanisms underlying our emotional states and sheds light on pathways to cultivate greater happiness and fulfilment in our lives.

In this article, we are exploring the renowned neurochemicals linked to our happiness and methods to stimulate their engagement in our everyday experiences. 

When pondering what truly brings about happiness, many of us turn to possessions, relationships, or memorable experiences. Yet, genuine happiness transcends external circumstances—it’s an inner chemical phenomenon. Four primary neurochemicals, often termed hormones, play pivotal roles in orchestrating the emotions associated with happiness and fulfilment.

This revelation offers profound insights: true happiness isn’t tethered to external realities; it’s an internal chemical dance.

But how do we activate these happiness-inducing neurochemicals?


Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, often referred to as the “feel-good” hormone or the “reward molecule.” It plays a crucial role in various brain functions, including motivation, reward, pleasure, and movement control. Dopamine is synthesized in several areas of the brain and is involved in the regulation of mood, attention, learning, and emotional responses.

The body produces dopamine in response to various stimuli, particularly those associated with reward or pleasure. Activities that stimulate the production of dopamine include:

  1. Achieving Goals: Setting and accomplishing goals, whether they are big or small, triggers the release of dopamine. This can create a sense of satisfaction and motivation to pursue further goals.
  2. Experiencing Pleasure: Engaging in enjoyable activities such as eating delicious food, listening to music, or spending time with loved ones can stimulate dopamine release.
  3. Acts of Kindness: Performing acts of kindness towards others, such as helping someone in need or showing gratitude, can elevate dopamine levels. This reinforces prosocial behaviours and promotes social bonding.
  4. Exercise: Physical activity, particularly aerobic exercise, is known to increase dopamine levels in the brain. This may contribute to the “runner’s high” experienced by some individuals during or after vigorous exercise.
  5. Novelty and Exploration: Exploring new environments, trying new experiences, and seeking novelty can stimulate dopamine release. This encourages curiosity and drives exploration and discovery.
  6. Tyrosine-rich foods & Ferments

Recommended herbs : 

Mucuna – Mucuna Pruriens contains L-DOPA, a compound that may lead to heightened dopamine levels in the brain. This could result in enhanced mood and cognitive abilities.

For those with neurodivergent conditions, this natural supplement might provide support in alleviating symptoms linked to insufficient dopamine levels. Moreover, preliminary clinical studies suggest its potential in managing Parkinson’s disease, a severe condition characterized by decreased dopamine levels.

and Ginko, Ginseng


Serotonin is a neurotransmitter commonly referred to as the “happiness chemical” or the “feel-good” hormone. It is primarily synthesized in the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system and plays a vital role in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, and cognitive functions.

The body produces serotonin in response to various factors, including:

  1. Healthy Diet: Consuming foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid precursor to serotonin, can increase serotonin levels. 
  2. Sunlight Exposure: Exposure to natural sunlight triggers the release of serotonin in the brain. Sunlight exposure helps regulate the body’s internal clock and may improve mood and overall well-being.
  3. Exercise: Regular physical activity, particularly aerobic exercises like running, cycling, or swimming, can boost serotonin levels. Exercise also helps reduce stress and anxiety, further enhancing mood.
  4. Social Interaction: Positive social interactions, such as spending time with friends and loved ones or engaging in meaningful conversations, can elevate serotonin levels. Social support and connections contribute to emotional well-being.
  5. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga have been shown to increase serotonin production. These techniques promote relaxation, reduce stress levels, and enhance mood.
  6. Adequate Sleep: Quality sleep is essential for serotonin synthesis and regulation. Getting enough restful sleep each night supports overall mental and emotional health.
  7. Regular Physical Activity: Engaging in regular exercise and physical activity can help regulate serotonin levels. Exercise stimulates serotonin production and release, promoting feelings of well-being and happiness.

Recommended herbs : 

Ashwagandha – this adaptogenic herb has been shown to modulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and reduce cortisol levels, the body’s primary stress hormone. By regulating the stress response, ashwagandha indirectly influences serotonin levels in the brain. Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels can deplete serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation and emotional well-being. Through its stress-reducing effects, ashwagandha may help maintain optimal serotonin levels by mitigating the negative impact of stress on serotonin synthesis and utilization pathways. However, further research is needed to elucidate the precise mechanisms by which ashwagandha affects serotonin production and activity in the brain.

and St John’s wort, Green tea, Turmeric


Oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone” or the “bonding hormone,” is a neurotransmitter produced in the hypothalamus and released by the pituitary gland. It plays a crucial role in social bonding, emotional connections, trust, and overall well-being.

The body produces oxytocin in response to various stimuli, including:

  1. Physical Touch: Affectionate physical touch, such as hugging, holding hands, cuddling, or massage, triggers the release of oxytocin. These acts of intimacy promote feelings of warmth, connection, and security.
  2. Positive Social Interactions: Meaningful social interactions and emotional connections with friends, family members, and romantic partners stimulate oxytocin production. Sharing experiences, expressing affection, and offering support contribute to increased oxytocin levels.
  3. Childbirth and Breastfeeding: Oxytocin plays a significant role in childbirth and breastfeeding. During labour, oxytocin helps facilitate contractions and promotes the bonding between mother and child. Breastfeeding also triggers the release of oxytocin in both mother and baby, fostering emotional attachment.
  4. Acts of Kindness: Engaging in acts of kindness, generosity, and compassion toward others can elevate oxytocin levels. Helping someone in need, expressing gratitude, or performing altruistic deeds fosters feelings of empathy and connection.
  5. Positive Emotional Experiences: Enjoyable and rewarding experiences, such as laughter, joyful moments, and shared experiences, stimulate oxytocin release. Participating in activities that bring happiness and fulfilment can boost oxytocin levels and strengthen social bonds.
  6. Pet Interactions: Interacting with pets, such as petting a dog or playing with a cat, can increase oxytocin levels in both humans and animals. The companionship and unconditional love provided by pets promote feelings of comfort and attachment.
  7. Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practices that promote relaxation, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga, can stimulate oxytocin release. These techniques help reduce stress, and anxiety, and promote emotional well-being.

Recommended herbs:

Blue Lotus – Traditionally, Blue Lotus has been employed in various forms such as tea, bath additives, smoking blends, incense, or potpourri. Its chemical composition includes non-toxic alkaloids like nuciferine, nornuciferine, roemerine, and potentially apomorphine (though sources vary on this or a similar compound, aporphine). These alkaloids are known to interact with dopamine D2 receptors, potentially boosting oxytocin levels. As a result, Blue Lotus is often sought after for its reputed ability to alleviate pain, induce muscle relaxation, evoke mild euphoria, and serve as an aphrodisiac or aid for impotence.

and rose, chamomile


Endorphins, often referred to as the body’s natural painkillers, are neurotransmitters produced by the central nervous system and the pituitary gland. They play a crucial role in regulating pain perception, mood, and overall well-being.

The body releases endorphins in response to various stimuli, including:

  1. Exercise: Physical activity, particularly aerobic exercises like running, cycling, or swimming, triggers the release of endorphins. Exercise-induced endorphins contribute to the “runner’s high,” a feeling of euphoria and well-being experienced during and after vigorous workouts.
  2. Laughter: Laughter is known to stimulate endorphin release and promote feelings of happiness and relaxation. Watching a funny movie, sharing jokes with friends, or engaging in humorous activities can elevate endorphin levels and alleviate stress.
  3. Chocolate Consumption: Dark chocolate contains compounds that can stimulate endorphin production. Consuming moderate amounts of dark chocolate may lead to feelings of pleasure and contentment due to its interaction with the brain’s opioid receptors.
  4. Spicy Foods: Eating spicy foods, such as chilli peppers, can trigger the release of endorphins. The sensation of heat and spice activates the body’s natural pain-relieving mechanisms, leading to a temporary boost in endorphin levels.
  5. Social Bonding: Positive social interactions and emotional connections with others can promote endorphin release. Spending quality time with friends, family members, or loved ones, engaging in meaningful conversations, and receiving social support contribute to elevated endorphin levels.
  6. Meditation and Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness meditation and relaxation techniques can stimulate endorphin production. Mindful breathing, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance mood by releasing endorphins.
  7. Music and Dance: Listening to music or engaging in rhythmic activities like dancing can trigger the release of endorphins. Music therapy and dance movements stimulate the brain’s reward pathways, leading to feelings of pleasure and well-being.

Recommended herbs: 

Rhodiola rosea – it has been suggested to indirectly influence endorphin production in the body. As an adaptogen, Rhodiola helps regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which plays a crucial role in stress response and pain modulation. By modulating the HPA axis, Rhodiola may help reduce stress and alleviate feelings of anxiety and tension, which can contribute to the release of endorphins. 

Cacao, Ginseng 

As we strive for happiness, it’s easy to ignore or downplay negative emotions and see them as something that we have to get rid of. However, these feelings are not only unavoidable but they can play a key role in our psychological well-being.

When we feel undervalued or when we are mistreated anger arises. This feeling may prevent us from being exploited.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Ghent University examined the daily routines of 100 creative professionals, who were asked to assess their emotional states at the start and end of each day. Surprisingly, the study revealed that individuals who began their days with negative emotions but ended on a positive note demonstrated the highest levels of creativity. According to a report by 99U, these individuals channelled their initial negativity into their work, resulting in their most productive days.


Shame, characterised by feelings of humiliation or distress when we believe that we are somehow deficient, often drives us to avoid meaningful connections with others, fearing they may uncover our hidden flaws. However, amidst its challenges, shame offers an opportunity for growth and connection. By confronting and overcoming shame, we can forge deeper connections with others and cultivate greater compassion for ourselves and those around us.


It is a very human thing to compare ourselves to others and envy can trigger us to feel that who we are and what we have is in some way lacking.
Once we acknowledge that others may not possess everything we desire, the next step is to understand what truly matters to us.
Do you envy your friend’s marriage or yearn for a sense of belonging and connection? Do you envy your sister’s new job or seek a feeling of accomplishment?
Pinpointing our unique aspirations and acknowledging that they may vary from others, we can attain fulfilment in every aspect of life.
Comparing ourselves with another individual can have destructive consequences, presenting a combination of shame, resentment and hostility. But it can be used as a creative force and work to become a version of ourselves that we aspire to be while accepting it may look different for each and every one of us.


Fear response serves as the body’s innate alert mechanism. When we perceive threats, whether physical or psychological, various regions of the brain swiftly engage and exchange signals with one another.

Fear serves as a crucial guide in our lives, helping us navigate risks and make informed decisions. While it can sometimes prevent us from taking unnecessary risks, it can also be detrimental, causing us to act impulsively without considering the potential consequences.

Understanding how we respond to fear, learning to navigate it, and even using it to our advantage are key aspects of personal growth. Instead of letting fear control us and impede our progress, we should recognize when it serves as a protective instinct and when it holds us back.


Sadness often signals a lack of nourishment for the body, mind, and spirit. When we ignore the sadness and grief after a trauma of loss by dissociating to pain it manifests itself into chronic illness or emotional crisis.
Sadness slows down metabolism and conserves our energies, often manifests itself in tears.
Tears itself can release stress and harmful physiological reactions associated with it and start to change the chemistry and begin the restoration.

It can sometimes take grief to feel grateful for what we still have and
become a powerful catalyst for deep, life-affirming gratitude.

Avoiding or ignoring negative emotions, and disconnecting from the richness of human emotions can hinder our ability to develop and rob an opportunity for personal growth.
Be open to embracing and acknowledging these emotions without judgement or resistance and deepen your human experience.

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