A Happy Positive Expression Will Serve You Well In Life
This is particularly true for challenging situations such as job interviews: a smiling, relaxed persona indicates confidence and an ability to cope well in stressful situations. This will also be of benefit in your career, building healthy relationships with colleagues and being seen in a favourable light by your employers.
Do You Need A Supplement
There are many natural ways to increase levels of feel-good hormones in your brain, including with diet, exercise, and by spending time with the people you care about. In a quest to feel better and prevent depression, its tempting to reach for a supplement as a quick pick-me-up.
For most people, supplementing these hormones isnt necessary. And in some cases, supplements can cause unwanted and even serious side effects. For example, 5-hydroxytryptophan supplements help to raise serotonin levels in the brain. However, their use is linked to liver and brain damage, as well as a rare but potentially fatal condition called eosinophilia myalgia syndrome that affects the muscles, skin, and lungs.
Before taking any supplements, its a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure the product you plan to buy is safe for you. You may not even need a supplement unless you are deficient in a particular hormone. And if you have a condition thats marked by abnormally low levels of one of these hormones, such as Parkinsons disease, your doctor can recommend medication to treat it.
Here are the links to articles looking at each of the four feel-good hormones and how they work:
Neurotransmitters Called Endorphins Are Released When You Smile
These are triggered by the movements of the muscles in your face, which is interpreted by your brain, which in turn releases these chemicals. Endorphins are responsible for making us feel happy, and they also help lower stress levels. Faking a smile or laugh works as well as the real thingthe brain doesnt differentiate between real or fake as it interprets the positioning of the facial muscles in the same way. This is known as the facial feedback hypothesis. The more we stimulate our brain to release this chemical the more often we feel happier and relaxed.
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Endorphins Can Also Release Stress And Create A Feeling Of Well
Endorphins are the bodys natural painkillers. Endorphins are released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in response to pain or stress, this group of peptide hormones both relieves pain and creates a general feeling of well-being.
The name of these hormones comes from the term “endogenous morphine.” “Endogenous” because theyre produced in our bodies. Morphine refers to the opioid painkiller whose actions they mimic.
About 20 different types of endorphins exist. The best studied of these is beta-endorphin, which is the one associated with the runners high. We also release endorphins when we laugh, fall in love, have sex, and even eat a delicious meal.
Anticipating A Laugh Reduces Our Stress Hormones Study Shows
- American Physiological Society
- Researchers investigating the interaction between the brain, behavior, and the immune system found in 2006 that simply anticipating a mirthful laughter experience boosted health-protecting hormones. Now, two years later, the same researchers have found that the anticipation of a positive humorous laughter experience also reduces potentially detrimental stress hormones.
In 2006 researchers investigating the interaction between the brain, behavior, and the immune system found that simply anticipating a mirthful laughter experience boosted health-protecting hormones. Now, two years later, the same researchers have found that the anticipation of a positive humorous laughter experience also reduces potentially detrimental stress hormones. According to Dr. Lee Berk, the study teams lead researcher of Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, Our findings lead us to believe that by seeking out positive experiences that make us laugh we can do a lot with our physiology to stay well.
In their earlier work the researchers found that the anticipation of mirthful laughter had surprising and significant effects. Two hormones beta-endorphins and human growth hormone increased by 27 and 87 percent respectively when volunteers anticipated watching a humorous video. There was no such increase among the control group who did not anticipate watching the humor film.
Biology of Hope
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Cook A Favorite Meal With A Loved One
This tip could in theory boost all four of your happy hormones.
The enjoyment you get from eating something delicious can trigger the release of dopamine along with endorphins. Sharing the meal with someone you love, and bonding over meal preparation, can boost oxytocin levels.
Certain foods can also have an impact on hormone levels, so note the following when meal planning for a happy hormone boost:
- spicy foods may trigger endorphin release
- yogurt, beans, eggs, meats with low-fat content, and almonds are just a few foods linked to dopamine release
- foods high in tryptophan have been linked to increased serotonin levels
- foods containing probiotics, such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, can influence the release of hormones
Experts studying the effects of supplements have found varied results. Many studies involved animals only, so more research is needed to help support the benefits of supplements for humans.
Supplements may be helpful, but some arent recommended for people with certain health conditions. They can also interact with certain medications, so talk to a healthcare provider before you try them.
If you do take any supplements, read all package instructions and stick to the recommended dose, since some can have negative effects at high doses.
Music can give more than one of your happy hormones a boost.
Listening to instrumental music, especially music that gives you chills, can increase dopamine production in your brain.
Social Laughter Led To Increase In Endorphins
Prof. Nummenmaa and colleagues enrolled 12 healthy men to their study.
Participants were injected with a radioactive compound that adheres to opioid receptors in the brain. Using positron emission tomography imaging, the researchers were then able to monitor the release of endorphins and other peptides that bind to opioid rectors.
Participants underwent PET scans twice. The first scan was conducted after each participant spent 30 minutes alone in a room, and once after they spent 30 minutes watching laughter-inducing video clips of their close friends.
The researchers found that the social laughter condition led to a significant increase in endorphin release in the thalamus, caudate nucleus, and anterior insula regions of the brain. These are brain regions that play a role in arousal and emotional awareness.
Additionally, the team found that participants with a greater number of opioid receptors in the cingulate and orbitofrontal cortices of the brain were more likely to laugh in response to their friends video clips.
The cingulate cortex is involved in the processing and formation of emotions, while the orbitofrontal cortex is involved in a number of emotion-related processes.
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The Benefits Of Laughter
Its true: laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.
With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.
As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults, life tends to be more serious and laughter more infrequent. But by seeking out more opportunities for humor and laughter, you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happinessand even add years to your life.
The Neuroscience Of Laughter And How To Inspire More Of It At Work
Does anyone remember laughter?
Thats right, we just quoted Led Zeppelin as we advocate for spreading laughter and joy in the workplace .
Given the pandemic and racial tensions, many hearts are heavy laughter may seem inconceivable. The isolating conditions of quarantine are also making it even less likely well engage in whats usually a group sport.
While acknowledging the seriousness of whats happening around us, we want to recognize that, like Dale Carnegie wrote, nobody needs laughter as much as those who have none left to give.
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Tips For Developing Your Sense Of Humor
An essential ingredient for developing your sense of humor is to learn not to take yourself too seriously and laugh at your own mistakes and foibles. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, we all do foolish things from time to time. Instead of feeling embarrassed or defensive, embrace your imperfections. While some events in life are clearly sad and not opportunities for laughter, most don’t carry an overwhelming sense of either sadness or delight. They fall into the gray zone of ordinary lifegiving you the choice to laugh or not. So, choose to laugh whenever you can.
Causes Of Abnormal Catecholamine Levels
Catecholamine levels that are too low or too high can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue.
The main reason a doctor will test a persons catecholamine levels is to check for the presence of certain tumors, such as a neuroendocrine tumor or a neuroblastoma. The following sections will look at these in more detail.
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The Health Benefit Of Laughter Is No Joke
Have you ever noticed how relaxed you become after a good, hearty laugh? Theres a reason for that! Laughter reduces stress almost immediately by stimulating blood flow and relaxing the muscles. Its like giving your body an internal massage. Laughter also releases a plethora of beneficial hormones while reducing the level of stress hormones .
Laughter has many long-term benefits as well, which include strengthening your immune system, relieving pain and easing depression. Research even suggests that repetitious laughter causes the body to respond in similar ways to moderate physical exercise, including lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol . Norman Cousins, an American journalist, professor and world peace advocate, published his ability to heal himself with laughter in the New England Journal of Medicine in the 1970s.
Heal your heart with laughter
In addition to the benefits listed above, laughter is good for the heart. By increasing the flow of blood to the heart, blood pressure drops. Additionally, studies at the University of Maryland showed that blood flow increased when watching a comedic movie versus a stress-inducing film. The increase in blood flow after watching a comedy was equivalent to light exercise. Michael Miller, a cardiologist who led the study, said, The recommendation for a healthy heart may one day be exercise, eat right and laugh a few times a day.
Laughter sharpens the mind
Live long and laugh
What Are The Benefits Of Endorphins
Endorphins have many benefits. Studies have shown they can help in the following ways:
- Easing symptoms of depression: Endorphins released during exercise have been shown to help reduce the symptoms of depression.
- Helping with stress and anxiety: As endorphin levels increase, stress and anxiety have been shown to decrease.
- Improving self-image: Studies have shown endorphins can increase levels of confidence, leading to better self-esteem.
- Contributing to weight loss: Releasing endorphins has been shown to regulate your appetite.
- Alleviating childbirth pain: Studies have shown higher levels of endorphins have helped with pain experienced during childbirth.
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What Do Endorphins Do
Endorphins are released when your body feels pain or stress. Your body releases endorphins to help you survive. When you feel pain, nerves in your body send pain signals to your brain. Your brain releases endorphins to block the nerve cells that receive the pain signals.
This essentially turns off your pain. It helps you to continue functioning, even in painful or stressful situations. Because you naturally seek to avoid pain, youre more likely to do something if it makes you feel good.
Laughter Helps You Stay Mentally Healthy
Laughter makes you feel good. And this positive feeling remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.
More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laughor even simply a smilecan go a long way toward making you feel better. And laughter really is contagiousjust hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.
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How To Bring Joy To The Workplace
There are a number of ways to lighten the mood when hearts are heavy. Maybe the quickest is to find and share a funny meme or video. You cant go wrong with cats knocking things off shelves for no apparent reason and dogs falling into pools.
Know the right timing for something funny: Opening a meeting is usually appropriate timing for something funny. Hilarity-upon-hello can be a great way to kick off and create relatedness . Even better, its humor we can all inject it can be a new habit for anyone on the team. Humor can also diffuse tension think Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
Tell a quick story: Heres an example. I lost my iPhone in my pants once. Thats right, I spent 20 panicked minutes looking around my apartment for my smartphone, only to find out that my pocket had a hole in it. I did not discover this until I used find my phone and felt the vibration on my calf where it had found its temporary new home. This got some good guffaws at my ensuing marketing meeting and it only took a minute to tell.
Be kind: If a joke is at someones expense, ensure its yours. Having a bad hair day? Thats fun to call out its relatable and often an easy laugh. Feeling insecure about something about your physical appearance? Probably best to keep that one to yourself. No need for self-harm or derogation , and it may make others uncomfortableprecisely the opposite of the intended goal.
Make Time For Exercise
Exercise has multiple physical health benefits. It can also have a positive impact on emotional well-being.
If youve heard of a runners high, you might already know about the link between exercise and endorphin release.
But exercise doesnt just work on endorphins. Regular physical activity can also increase your dopamine and serotonin levels, making it a great option to boost your happy hormones.
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How To Develop Your Sense Of Humor
Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take yourself less seriously is to talk about times when you took yourself too seriously.
Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them. Look for the humor in a bad situation, and uncover the irony and absurdity of life. When something negative happens, try to make it a humorous anecdote that will make others laugh.
Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun.
Remember funny things that happen. If something amusing happens or you hear a joke or funny story you really like, write it down or tell it to someone to help you remember it.
Don’t dwell on the negative. Try to avoid negative people and don’t dwell on news stories, entertainment, or conversations that make you sad or unhappy. Many things in life are beyond your controlparticularly the behavior of other people. While you might view carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders as admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic and unhealthy.
Find your inner child. Pay attention to children and try to emulate themafter all, they are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing at ordinary things.
Fake It Until You Make It
Just as studies show the positive effects of smiling occur whether the smile is fake or real, faked laughter also provides the benefits mentioned above. The body can’t distinguish between ‘fake’ laughter that you just start doing on purpose and ‘real’ laughter that comes from true humor.
The physical benefits are exactly the same, and the former usually leads to the latter anyway. So smile more, and fake laughter you’ll still achieve positive effects, and the fake merriment may lead to real smiles and laughter.
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Get A Good Nights Sleep
Not getting enough quality sleep can affect your health in multiple ways.
For one, it can contribute to an imbalance of hormones, particularly dopamine, in your body. This can have a negative impact on your mood as well as your physical health.
Setting aside 7 to 9 hours each night for sleep can help restore the balance of hormones in your body, which will likely help you feel better.
If you find it difficult to get a good nights sleep, try:
- going to bed and getting up around the same time every day
- creating a quiet, restful sleeping environment
- decreasing caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening
Laughter As An Intervention
Non-pharmacologic interventions are recognized as being a useful approach to reduce pain, stress, and anxiety. Nonpharmacologic interventions range from superficial massage to breathing exercise to music therapy to yoga to spiritual practices . Laughter therapy, one of the key non-pharmacological interventions, is a universal approach to reduce stress and anxiety. From ancient times, laughter has been used to influence cognitive behavior to improve and establish healthy physical, psychological, and social relationships. Studies have documented the positive role of laughter in enhancing the quality of life . Laughter therapy may be used for both preventive and therapeutic purposes. Laughter can also be a clinical predictor of functional disability. An analysis of 14,233 elderly individuals , selected for the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study, a low frequency of laughter has shown to be linked to a higher risk of developing functional disability adjusting the potential confounders, the investigators reported an increased hazard ratio of functional disability among the individuals with decreased frequency of laughter. About 1.42 times higher risk of functional disability was noted among the individuals with low or no laughing habits .
Major types of non-pharmacologic interventions.
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