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How to Boost Your Happy Hormones?

Jul 11, 2022

Happy Hormones

Hormones and neurotransmitters regulate many essential processes that are constantly occurring inside your body, like your heart rate and digestion. But did you know they could affect your mood and feelings also? Well, yes! Some of these chemical messengers of the body are popular for their power to enable people to bond, experience happiness, and feel pleasure.

Some of these famously happy hormones include serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. They are known to promote positive feelings like satisfaction, joy, and even love. Understanding the significance of these happy chemicals in the brain and body and their influence on mental health means you can actively take steps to improve their levels naturally. In other words, happiness hormones result in a happy you!


What are Happy Hormones?

  • Hormones are chemicals released by various glands in the human body whose main function is to enable communication between two glands or between a gland and an organ.
  • The levels of hormones in your body increase and decrease throughout the day. For example, an increase in cortisol in the morning wakes you up, while another hormone called melatonin makes you fall asleep in the evening. And then there are the hormones that make you hungry, full, happy, and sad.
  • A specific body system regulates the making and exit of hormones into the blood, and it is known as the endocrine system. It is a network of glands that occurs throughout the body, with each gland releasing at least one hormone that is regulated by the pituitary gland in the brain.
  • Some hormones are involved in the regulation of temperament, satisfaction, affection, and even relief from pain. But that’s not all there is to them. These chemicals are essential components of your health, like growth, development, metabolism, and reproduction.
  • These hormones are sometimes called neurotransmitters. There is very little difference between neurotransmitters and hormones except where they act. Happy hormones navigate through blood routes and act on different cells and organs.
  • At the same time, neurotransmitters are present only in the brain and central nervous system, where they communicate directly through neurons.

What Chemical makes you Happy?

The body contains many feel-good hormones that enhance mood and promote general well-being in many ways. Some can alleviate anxiety and prevent symptoms of depression, while others trigger pleasure, happiness, bonding, and trust. Given below are the major happy chemicals in your body:

ChemicalMood function
SerotoninMood stabiliser, well-being, happiness
DopamineInduces pleasure and plays a motivational role in the brain’s reward system
OxytocinPromotes bonding, love, and trust
EndorphinsPain relief, runner’s high, and relaxation

Serotonin: the feel-good Happy Hormones

The happiness hormone serotonin is essential for regulating mood, digestion, sleep, cognitive function, and circadian rhythm. Funnily enough, around 90% of your body’s total serotonin is formed in the gut, where it can act in two ways:

  • The serotonin in the gut is produced under the influence of gut bacteria, which can stimulate the cells that produce serotonin.
  • Another factor that impacts serotonin production is the availability of its precursor, tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning your body relies on your diet for its availability as it cannot make it.

Dopamine, the Hormone that Motivates

Dopamine is also responsible for making you feel pleasure and excitement while ensuring you are alive and active. It acts in a diverse range of body functions, and several extreme medical conditions are associated with its dysfunction. Given are a few systems it’s implicated in:

  • Movement control and brain function
  • The motivational and reward method of the brain
  • The capacity of making decisions and impulse control
  • Memory and attention
  • Maternal and reproductive behaviours
  • It is also part and parcel of the reward system of the brain. It is what gives you feelings of pleasure and keeps you yearning for more. Dopamine is considered to be the motivational agent in this system, and it is naturally released when you consume your favourite foods or when someone has sex.
  • Around 50% of dopamine is produced in the gut. Some studies were performed while researching Parkinson’s disease, suggesting that the gut microbiome may somehow be involved. Therefore, the gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in long-term health.
  • Some researchers even see the trillions of bacterial cells in your colon as a “new organ” rather than an alien colony.
  • Caring for your gut microbiome maintains your mental well-being and longevity as there is a “second brain” in your gut— the enteric nervous system, which is nearly as important as your actual brain when it comes to releasing the chemicals that make you happy and keep you healthy.

Oxytocin, the Cuddle Hormone

  • The oxytocin hormone promotes bonding and trust. It is particularly increased during childbirth, where it is responsible for stimulating uterine contractions.
  • Its lesser-known but equally important function is that it acts as a neurotransmitter and helps regulate stress responses, and calms the nervous system.
  • It is associated with human bonding, generosity, and trust establishment. Some other studies reveal that oxytocin might be what makes some romantic relationships work. Higher blood oxytocin levels have been associated with greater perceived love and satisfaction in couples.
  • Oxytocin secretion occurs in response to certain stimuli sensed by the CNS. Your brain carefully monitors your environment for threats and safety signs using your sense organs like ears, eyes, tongue, skin, and nose.
  • Oxytocin is produced in response to touch and even the right kind of eye contact. It is also produced when you are stressed to counterbalance the effects of cortisol.

Endorphins: the Happy Hormones

  • Endorphins are responsible for making you feel joy, but not as we normally assume. These hormones act as painkillers. They decrease pain signal propagation in the CNS by combining with certain receptors ( natural morphine of the body).
  • Often dopamine and endorphin are thought of as the same because both are chemicals that make you feel joy in the general sense of the term. They are in many ways connected because once endorphins attach to the CNS receptors, dopamine (the pleasure hormone) is released.
  • Happy endorphins did not primarily rise to fame as they stop pain signals but because they induce euphoria. That is right! The ubiquitous “runner’s high” is initiated by a big rush of endorphins. 

Boosting Happy Hormones

  • Research has revealed that spending time outdoors, in sunlight, increases the levels of serotonin and endorphins in the body. You can start by spending at least 10-15 minutes of your day outdoors.
  • Regular physical activity increases serotonin and dopamine levels, besides its other health benefits. 
  • Laughing aloud more often is an effective way to boost endorphin and dopamine levels. Of course, laughter can’t cure your ongoing health issues, but it helps alleviate feelings of anxiety and stress. Based on a 2017 study, social laughter triggers endorphin release. Another study from 2011 supports this finding.
  • Certain foods are believed to increase the levels of happiness hormones. For example, green tea boosts serotonin and dopamine levels, spicy foods are believed to trigger endorphin release, foods containing high tryptophan content increase serotonin levels, and probiotics such as yoghurt and kimchi can influence the release of certain happy hormones.
  • In addition, beans, eggs, low-fat meats, and almonds are a few other foods linked to dopamine release. 
  • Music, especially instrumental music, is believed to increase dopamine levels in the brain. If you enjoy music, listening to any music you prefer may help you put you in a good mood and increase serotonin production. 
  • Meditation has diverse benefits, including increasing dopamine levels and spurring endorphin release. 
  • Getting a good night’s sleep is important to maintain a balance of happy hormones in your body. 


After going through the above discussion, you might have gotten answers to many questions lying at the back of your brain, including why certain people and activities make you feel calm, happy, and joyful and what is the happy hormones?


Your positive connections and experiences of awe and wonder create chemical reactions in your brain via none other than your happy hormones. So, happiness, to some extent, is within your control. If you naturally tend to be more down than up, you can resort to certain choices that will help you experience a better, brighter life.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the happy hormones dopamine, and which foods increase its levels?

The decrease in dopamine that occurs with age has led humans to research how to increase its levels. Dopamine can not be found in food, so it cannot be eaten directly, which is why scientists looked to its precursor molecules for answers.


The body can change tyrosine into dopamine via a series of reactions. Tyrosine is prescribed in the form of medication if the dopamine levels are extremely low. It is even found in certain foods.

2. What are the activities that boost happiness hormones?

Cuddling with a loved one, working out, getting a massage, listening to good music, meditating, taking a nap, spending time outdoors, and watching comedy movies are some of the activities that boost happy hormones levels in your body.


3. What are the factors that contribute to happiness?

  • You are doing things you love to do and having the freedom to make your own life choices.
  • Maintaining positive relationships with the people around you.
  • Feeling satisfied with your situation and not constantly comparing yourself to others.
  • Achieving your goals and staying positive throughout the whole journey of trying to achieve them.
  • Stay mentally and physically fit.


Happy Hormones


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