Happiness Chemicals and How to Hack Them Without Medication

Updated: Jan 12


frankie's Guide on Happiness Chemicals and How to Hack Them Without Medication

If your Happiness is lacking in some way, a little bit of attention and focus on Chemicals in your body may help. While external factors are involved in Happiness, and it cannot be reduced to Chemicals, [1] your body has Chemicals that are related to Happiness, your mental health, and wellness.


What Chemicals Make You Happy?


The 4 happiness chemicals and hormones that are responsible for various mood functions: [2]

  • Serotonin. A mood stabiliser; it regulates wellbeing and happiness

  • Dopamine. Provides pleasure and motivation within the brain’s reward system.

  • Oxytocin. Helps in bonding, love, and trust.

  • Endorphins. Kill pain and provide relaxation, euphoria.

Your physical activity, diet, even gut microbes, environment, and relationship all play a part in producing these chemicals. [3] You need this every day. Do not give in to the desire for comfort and arrogance. The count drops to 0 every day.


How to Hack Happiness Chemicals?


Serotonin – the Mood Stabiliser

Sun exposure and walking in nature helps, at the very least get sunlight from your home. Sunlight is important for vitamin D and low levels of nutrients will not help in creating happiness!


Perhaps the second easiest thing to do in the pursuit of serotonin is meditation. While some may think that this requires sitting still, you can train towards meditating all the time. This requires mindfulness meditation. [4]


You may know that balanced whole foods, and fiber-rich plant foods with moderate meat and fat are healthy diet, and it helps in producing serotonin.


Gut microbes aid in production, which makes it our interest to take care of them. We can do so with prebiotic food such as apples, berries, citrus, mushrooms, oats, wheat, pasta, legumes and more. [5]


A substance known as Tryptophan helps, but it is not naturally occurring within the body. Again, oats, wheat, and the legume soyabean contain it, but milk, cheese, eggs, potatoes, and some fish and meat have it too. [6]


This does not mean obsessing over having these in your diet, be obsessed with avoiding unhealthy food like sugar and refined carbohydrates instead which will boost your mental health in the long term. [7]


Also, regular exercise can stimulate tryptophan and serotonin itself. Running, cycling, and swimming are some specific exercises. You may do these under the sun and pair them with walking in nature.


If you’re not a ‘cardio person’, walking or jogging are better than nothing! Use it to work your way into these or find a cardio workout that you can tolerate the most. This is not a definitive guide; every person is different.


Oxytocin, the Lover, Cuddler

Again gut microbes stimulate production of Oxytocin. Giving compliments, being involved in caring relationships and loving communities (even digital!) factor in production. [8] Playing with a dog, pets, perhaps any animal, soft and friendly touches help.


There is nasal spray for Oxytocin, but it is usually used for psychiatric research, you may request a doctor for it. Here is a video of such research conducted on Lions, a social species.


Dopamine, the Motivator

Again, gut microbiome may be factored in, which emphasises their importance in creating happiness.


Perception of food and sex, listening to music, massage (you can massage yourself) assist in production. You might come across advice to eat tyrosine-rich foods, which is questionable. [9]


Commit to self-care activities. All the helpful activities mentioned here are self-care, and while completing tasks, celebrate little wins.


The binding of endorphins releases dopamine too; talk about hitting two birds with one stone.


Endorphin, the Painkiller

Endorphins are painkillers; you might know that being in pain from exercise, for example running, would produce this. [10]


However, there are simpler ways, including laughter exercise or laughter yoga (which I have never heard of before), essential oils, watching a comedy, dark chocolate. Other ways are eating with loved ones and eating more prebiotic and probiotic food, including dark chocolate. [11]


This is a lot of things to track, and they need to be done consistently, so there’s a chart below to help you with habituating them. Hopefully, you can feel a bit happier. Also, remember that Happiness comes not only from Chemicals.


Happiness Chemicals and How to Hack them Chart


To help you on your journey of Happiness, below is a chart listing the chemicals and the respective diet and activities that aid in their production. There are 3 weeks (may edit to days instead), enough to form a habit out of them. Starting one by one is enough, it is not necessary to take on all activities at once, which will be overwhelming. Diet and menu options are included.


Download this and edit it; remove those activities you don’t want and create a menu out of your favourite food options.


A Chart on Happiness Chemicals and How to Hack them

A Chart on Happiness Chemicals and How to Hack them

 

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About Our Writer

Faizi is a fresh marketing graduate who runs an Instagram page on Alexander the Great. His view on life is summarised by the book title, “Only Cry for the Living”, though he has not read the book. Spending much of his undergraduate years transitioning from a religious to secular life, he hopes for a better future for apostates and has given interviews to this end. For him, The Only Easy Day is not Yesterday, but Today, because Today is easier to get through than Yesterday or Tomorrow.

 

This editorial section solely expresses the opinion of frankie and is not endorsed nor commissioned by any external party. The list is non-exhaustive. At frankie, we believe that your best provider of medical advice is your doctor. Please consult a doctor before undergoing any treatment or procedure.

 

References


1. Conkle, A. (2008, August 1). Serious Research on Happiness. Association for Psychological Science - APS. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/serious-research-on-happiness#:%7E:text=Diener%20identifies%20five%20factors%20that,people%20have%20strong%20social%20relationships.

2. Developer1, D. (2021, April 5). Four Happy Hormones | Parkinsons NSW. Parkinsons NSW |. https://www.parkinsonsnsw.org.au/four-happy-hormones/

3. Team, A. B. (2020, August 28). Happy Hormones: Your Guide To Serotonin and Other Happy Chemicals. Atlas Biomed Blog | Take Control of Your Health with No-Nonsense News on Lifestyle, Gut Microbes and Genetics. https://atlasbiomed.com/blog/serotonin-and-other-happy-molecules-made-by-gut-bacteria/


4. Z. (2018, August 21). How to Be Mindful All the Time. Zen Habits. https://zenhabits.net/always/


5. Semeco, M. A. S. (2021, May 11). The 19 Best Prebiotic Foods You Should Eat. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-best-prebiotic-foods

6. WebMD Editorial Contributors. (2020, November 7). Top Foods High in Tryptophan. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-tryptophan#1


7. Robinson, L. (2021, December 23). Refined Carbs and Sugar: The Diet Saboteurs. HelpGuide.Org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-carbs.htm


8. Delistraty, C. C. (2014, October 2). Online Relationships Are Real. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/10/online-relationships-are-real/380304/


9. Tyrosine - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (2010). ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/tyrosine


10. Holland, K. (2020, October 13). What Exactly Is a Runner’s High? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/runners-high#:%7E:text=A%20runner’s%20high%20is%20a,pain%20immediately%20after%20their%20run.

11. Palsdottir, M. H. S. (2022, January 6). 11 Probiotic Foods That Are Super Healthy. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-super-healthy-probiotic-foods