I’ve recently learned more about the teachings of Simon Sinek and had the opportunity to view one of his recent lectures on communities and safety. He discussed how crucial a strong culture is to the growth of any community or work environment. Being in an environment where we feel safe, especially in stressful events, allows us to achieve our highest potential; it gives individuals the opportunity to live passionately and happily without fear.
In his talk, Sinek took a few minutes to discuss happiness. As human beings move through our environment, we experience different emotions as our bodies react to certain chemical processes going on within us. No one chemical is better than another as each has its own side effects. It’s finding a balance of them that helps us to live our lives to the fullest.
In this post, I’ve decided to share some of the information Sinek expressed during his lecture, delving deeper into each of the following happiness chemicals: endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. This will help us further understand where these happy hormones come from and how they impact our lives.
Everyone’s probably heard of endorphins and how we might experience a “runner’s high" after taking a brisk jog. This short-lived chemical reaction usually comes after exercise and masks pain in our bodies. When life gets crazy around us, endorphins are a natural pain and stress relief method.
Dopamine should come with a warning label. Although this chemical helps you to accomplish your goals, it can be highly addictive. The feeling of a dopamine rush is a brief window of pleasure. When people struggle with addictions to gambling, sex, drugs, or alcohol, they may be overdosing on that dopamine feeling.
In smaller, more manageable doses, dopamine can provide a wholesome feeling, like what happens when we fall in love or become passionate about a new hobby.
Serotonin helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep, and is also a big contributor to our overall feeling of wellness. Our levels of this chemical can also impact our social behavior, digestion, and memory. Serotonin is considered a “leadership chemical” as it’s attributed to feelings of pride, status, and self-confidence.
A deficit of serotonin, however, can lead to depression, insomnia, reduced libido, and general agitation, but there is hope. In recent studies, meditation, self-induced changes in mood, exposure to bright light, and exercise can help boost levels of this happiness chemical.
Known as the “love” hormone, oxytocin emits feelings of trust and friendship. This chemical coincides with cooperation and loyalty. When a person performs an act of kindness, they are emitting oxytocin. Simultaneously, the person receiving the kindness and anyone who witnessed it are having a parallel chemical reaction. This is why we feel good after seeing a story of love or selflessness on the news, even if we don't know the people involved. Happy hormones are shared.
Oxytocin makes us better problem solvers and helps us live longer. There’s no overdosing on love, which makes this chemical longer-lasting. Take a minute to think about a funny memory with a friend or a time you helped a family member work through something challenging. Reliving positive moments of human connection can help you feel happier, even after the moment is long gone.
All four of these hormones can reduce depression and anxiety, help with stress relief, and boost your overall mood. Understanding where these chemical reactions come from and how we can access them is a valuable tool in your wellness arsenal.
Ready to bring more genuine happiness back into your life? Schedule a complimentary breakthrough call with me today. We'll identify the areas where you're feeling stuck and uninspired and get you on a path toward a more joyful, engaging life.