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How to self-regulate your hormones to improve your mood

Social laughing causes the release of endorphins: Actor Vincent Ebrahim shares a funny incident during an interview at the Atlas Studios in Auckland Park as he spoke about a local film he will be doing in Fordsburg with Riaad Moosa. Picture: Itumeleng English/ANA Pics

Social laughing causes the release of endorphins: Actor Vincent Ebrahim shares a funny incident during an interview at the Atlas Studios in Auckland Park as he spoke about a local film he will be doing in Fordsburg with Riaad Moosa. Picture: Itumeleng English/ANA Pics

Published Jan 3, 2023


Your body's many glands create hormones as chemicals.

They circulate in the blood, serving as messengers and participating in a variety of biological functions. One of these crucial roles is aiding mood regulation.

It is well recognised that some hormones aid in fostering good emotions like pleasure and contentment.

Among these "happy hormones" are:

Dopamine: Often referred to as the "feel-good" hormone, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in the reward system of your brain. Along with learning, memory, and other things, it's connected to pleasant feelings.

Serotonin: This neurotransmitter and hormone has a role in mood regulation as well as digestion, hunger, sleep, learning, and memory.

Oxytocin: Frequently referred to as the "love hormone," oxytocin is crucial for nursing, childbirth, and strong parent-child bonds. Additionally, it can encourage connecting, empathy, and trust in partnerships. Physical affection often results in a rise in levels.

Endorphins are chemicals that your body naturally creates to ease pain in reaction to stress or discomfort. Levels may also rise as a result of rewarding behaviours like eating, exercising or having sex.

Here are some tips on how you may contribute to the production of more of these organic mood enhancers.

Step outdoors

Want to increase serotonin levels? A fantastic approach to achieve this is to spend time outside in the sunlight. According to Dr HJ van der Rhee and colleagues' study, "Regular sun exposure enhances health," exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation can boost serotonin synthesis.

You may try going outside for about 15 minutes a few times each week. If you're becoming bored with the same old views, consider visiting a different neighbourhood or park. Just keep in mind that exposure to UV rays might raise your chance of developing skin cancer, so use sunscreen.

Make time for exercising

There are several physical health advantages to exercise. It could also benefit emotional health. The connection between exercise and the release of endorphins may already be known to you if you've heard of a "runner's high."

But exercise affects more than endorphins. Regular exercise is a wonderful way to raise your dopamine and serotonin levels, which can help you feel happier.

Laugh with a buddy

Everyone has heard the proverb "Laughter is the best medicine," right?

Of course, laughing won't solve a persistent health problem. But by increasing dopamine and endorphin levels, it can aid with anxiety or stress relief and mood improvement.

Social laughing causes the release of endorphins, according to a tiny 2017 research with 12 young men called "Social Laughter Triggers Endogenous Opioid Release in Humans." Dr JongEun Yim's research backs up this conclusion.

Therefore, show a buddy or partner that humorous video, pull out your joke book, or watch a comedy programme together. An extra benefit? Even the release of oxytocin may occur when a loved one and you laugh together.

Prepare (and eat) a favourite dish with a special someone

Theoretically, this advice might increase all four of your happy hormones. Dopamine and endorphins can both be released in response to the pleasure you get from eating something good. Oxytocin levels might increase when you prepare and share a meal with someone you love.

When meal planning for a happy hormone boost, keep the following in mind as some foods may also affect hormone levels:

Spicy meals may cause the release of endorphins

Yoghurt, beans, eggs, low-fat meats, and almonds are just a few items that are associated with the release of dopamine.

Tryptophan-rich meals are associated with higher serotonin levels

Probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut might affect how hormones are released.

Consider taking supplements

Several supplements have the potential to raise your levels of happy hormones. Here are a few examples to think about:

  • tyrosine (dopamine production)
  • green tea and extract from green tea (dopamine and serotonin)
  • Probiotics (serotonin and dopamine production)
  • Tryptophan (serotonin)

Researchers examining the impact of supplements have discovered a range of outcomes. More studies are required to prove the advantages of supplements for people because many studies only included animals.

While certain supplements are not advised for persons with particular medical issues, others may be beneficial. Additionally, they may interfere with some drugs, so consult a health-care professional before using them.

If you do decide to use supplements, be sure to follow the directions on the bottle and do not exceed the dosage suggested.

  • Playing music (or make some)
  • More than one of your happy hormones can be increased by music.

According to a 2019 study titled "Dopamine modifies the reward experiences produced by music", listening to instrumental music, especially music that gives you goosebumps, can enhance dopamine production in your brain.

However, if you appreciate music, merely listening to it may make you feel better. Your production of serotonin may rise as a result of this improvement in your mood.

When you play music, especially in a big group, endorphins may also be released. For instance, choir members released more endorphins during practice, according to a 2016 study titled "Group music performance produces enhanced pain thresholds and social bonding in small and large groups of singers."

The neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin support happiness and pleasure while lowering anxiety and sadness. With a few straightforward actions, you may naturally raise these feel-good chemicals.

Speak with a health-care professional if you're having trouble controlling your mood. They might suggest therapies or treatments that can be of assistance.