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11 surprising hacks to increase endorphins, serotonin and dopamine

Did you know that we have certain “happiness chemicals” that are responsible for our good moods? Specifically, the main happy chemicals are serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins.

According to psychologist Dr. Joseph Cilona, “Happiness chemicals are the substances in our brains called neurotransmitters that influence things like mood, motivation, intimacy, productivity, feelings of wellbeing, trust, and connection with others.”

“These neurotransmitters have a huge impact on our overall feelings of wellbeing, pleasure, and mood. Low levels of these important substances in our brains are associated with things like low mood and depression, pain, loneliness, stress, anxiety, and difficulty feeling motivated.”

The good news is, all of these chemicals can be boosted using natural habits and activities.

Below we go over 11 surprising ways to get your brain to release more happiness chemicals.

1) Eat some dark chocolate

Dark chocolate help boost the production of “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins lead to feelings of euphoria, the exact same kind that joggers get from a “runner’s high”. They reduce pain and the effects of stress.

Consuming chocolate has also been found to increase dopamine levels, which is known for being crucial in motivation. Stick with dark chocolate at least 70 percent cocoa or higher, eat it regularly (about 2-3 times a week), and consume around 1.5 to 2 ounces for best results.

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2) Make music

Even if you don’t consider yourself a musician, making music, whether it’s simply tapping drum sounds on your desk, or singing your favorite tune, can help promote the release of endorphins, which can improve your positive mood and ability to deal with pain.

3) Create a checklist

Every time we achieve a goal, no matter how small, dopamine is released. By keeping a small to-do list you’ll release dopamine each time you check something off. You’ll also get more stuff done!

4) Look at old photos

Looking at old photos can remind of the happy times in your life, which can immediately increase serotonin levels. However, viewing photos that remind you of something negative has the opposite effect.

5) Stand up straight

Assuming a strong posture, even for as little as 2 minutes, has been shown to increase confidence levels and decrease stress hormones like cortisol, which works directly against neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

6) Eat some hot peppers


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Yes, spicy food actually gives you some type of rush. When you eat something hot, the body responds by thinking the heat is pain, and proceeds to send out a rush of endorphins to block the heat, which could give you a happiness rush, or even reduce feelings of pain in other areas of the body.

7) Take a walk outside

Sunlight, greenery, and water are all associated with significant increases in serotonin levels. If you’re walking, try to make it as vigorous as possible and do it for at least 20 minutes.

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8) Watch a funny video

Laughter helps to release endorphins. So when you’re feeling a bit down, put on something that you find funny!

9) Go to a museum

There’s a reason so many people fall in love with classic masterpieces. Viewing art that you find beautiful releases a surge of dopamine in the brain, increasing feelings of pleasure.

10) Massage

Massages don’t just make your body feel good, but studies have shown that they also help increase levels of dopamine and decrease the stress hormone cortisol.

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11) Do a group workout

Just doing exercise by itself is a great way to release endorphins as well as boot serontonin and dopamine. But you can benefit even more by doing a group workout. Research shows that people who worked out with others showed increase pain tolerance, which means more endorphins were released.

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NOW READ: Here are 7 ways you can increase dopamine levels in the brain without medication

NOW WATCH: How to be happy (in 5 unconventional steps)

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Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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