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A Crash Course on 'Feel Good' Hormones


Something we talk a lot with our clients about are our “happy hormones”.

Whether it is in relation to the potential causes of mood disturbances; or explaining how certain medications interact with the different chemicals, it is something we discuss regularly.And if you have ever set foot near social media, you have probably seen memes depicting what that last cell of serotonin might be doing in your brain.But what exactly are these hormones? And what do they even do? I’m so glad you asked.


First we have our good friend dopamine. This is like our BFF who always makes us feel good when we hang out. It’s the feel-good neurotransmitter that we get as part of our reward system. Basically it is the reason why we get that little kick when that person we’ve been admiring forever sends us a message. Or when our favourite song comes on we feel really good. Or we accomplish a goal. Or we see a ridiculously cute puppy then pat it. Go us!


Next up we have serotonin. This is the guy who levels us out, he is the stable one of the group. When everything is in balance, our friend serotonin will do neat tricks like improve sleep; reduce anxiety; and thus increase happiness. Activities such as exercise; meditation; and getting out and about outdoors can help boost serotonin production.


Next up we have endorphins. These little beauties are our own natural pain-killers. Ever wondered why, even when you have been dreading going to the gym all day, you actually feel really good afterwards? Yeah that’s because endorphins have your back. Their whole schtick is that that reduce stress and increase pleasure. If we can boost endorphins, we can experience improved self-esteem; reduce pain, depression and anxiety; an enhance our immune system. What is not to love? And the way we get them is pretty neat too: things like exercise; sex; music; laughing; and hanging out with friends can all help increase these little powerhouses. Again, what is not to love?


Lastly we have oxytocin. This guy is like our sentimental friend who we always find ourselves expressing our unwavering mutual love for, after a couple of drinks. That’s right, it’s the bonding hormone. It gets churned our when we feel connected to people (and pets, because pets are pretty much people anyway). It does all those feel-good things like: boost mood; reduce stress; build trust; and build connection. Physical touch is a sure-fire way to boost oxytocin (hello consensual sex and spooning afterwards); however we can also generate it through activities such as: patting your dog (or cat, if they’re not a jerk); getting a massage; cooking for someone you like; hanging out with your kids; or having dinner with a friend.


If you are interested in discussing any of the points further, we would be more than happy to hear from you. Feel free to send an email to admin@youmatterpsychologists.com.au and we will answer any questions you may have.




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