Natural ways to boost your brain chemicals
Looking for natural ways to boost your brain chemicals? You’re not alone. In today’s modern world, we’re conditioned to soothe every emotion with whatever is at hand – a phone to scroll when you’re bored, a coffee cup to slurp when you’re feeling tired, even CBD supplements and candies when you’re wired and want to relax. But this quick fix culture can get exhausting, and wear us down. After a while, the feel-good effects of our go-to tricks stop working so well, and we find ourselves just as bored, tired, or wired.
The truth is, we don’t need external stimulation to feel better. We actually have all the ingredients in our brains already. Soothing suffering is an inborn trick in human nature, and we’ve known how to do it since before the advent and mass-availability of SSRIs, alcohol and other intoxicating substances. As humans, it seems we’ve simply forgotten how to fix the unpleasant feelings that are natural in life. But that doesn’t mean we don’t still have all the tools, already inside of us.
Boost your brain chemicals, naturally
The brain chemicals responsible for happiness include dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphin. Together, these brain chemicals are responsible for the feel good feelings that we seek in life. You might recognize a few or all from modern marketing. The acronym commonly used to refer to anti-depressant medications, SSRI, stands for selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, for example. And the slang term “dope” comes from a drug user’s desire to up their dopamine levels. But did you know that there are regular life activities you can take part in to boost these chemicals without drugs?
Let’s break it down, brain chemical by brain chemical:
Dopamine is known as the reward chemical. Dopamine is heavily involved in how we feel pleasure. This neurotransmitter is responsible for how we think and plan to have a pleasurable life. Recent research has tied smartphone and social media use to dopamine levels, and classically, recreational drugs like marijuana (THC) have been used to simulate the feel good feeling that dopamine provides.
But there are other ways to naturally stimulate dopamine production in your brain, like:
Completing a task
Listen to music
Eating good food
Get enough sleep
Oxytocin is often referred to as the love chemical. These are the hormones that new moms are flooded with when a baby is born, helping the mama to bond with their new offspring. Oxytocin is also released during sexual activities, flooding our systems with pleasure.
But there are ways to naturally stimulate oxytocin production in your brain outside of childbirth and sex, like:
Playing with a dog
Giving a compliment
Playing with a baby
Gentle yoga poses
Time with friends
For a quick oxytocin boost, try my Feel Good Flow yoga sequence, available on YouTube
Serotonin is a mood stabilizer, and it impacts the whole body, aiding in our sleep, diet and digestion. Serotonin is the chemical that regulates happiness, anxiety and mood. When serotonin levels are low, we can experience depression and low moods. (Source: healthline.com)
While SSRIs are a modern medical miracle in treating clinical depression, there are natural ways to boost this brain chemical, too: