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Happiness

‘Happy hormones’– yes, you heard it right! Hormones that bring happiness and a sense of well-being. This group of endogenous neurotransmitters chemicals is generated by our brain and serves to create joy, happiness and pleasure. Here are the five main ones-

1. Dopamine– This affects the nervous system and is associated with the brain’s reward system. Hence, being acknowledged for your efforts gives you a generous release of this happy hormone. Setting realistic goals (e.g. waking up half an hour earlier or eating at home on week days) and achieving them will boost and give a delicious dopamine hit naturally. This neurotransmitter also concentrates on the sensation of pleasure. Hence, it gets discharged in response to pleasurable activities such as eating foods you like or having sex.

How to increase its levels?

– Seek out pleasurable healthy activities that have a positive impact on your life
– Spend more time in sunlight to increase your sensitivity to dopamine.
– Practise deep breathing and meditation
– Sleep well
– Eat foods rich in phenylalanine and tyrosine like nuts, paneer, beans etc. Once tyrosine (that can be produced from phenylalanine) enters the body, it moves to the brain. After enzymatic reactions, the corresponding neurons transform it into dopamine.

2. Serotonin– this is used in anti-depressants as low levels of serotonin in your brain can make you fall into depression.

How to increase its levels?

– Workout or play a sport
– Eat tryptophan rich foods like milk, especially at bedtime
– Have foods rich in omega 3 like ghee, nuts, lentils
– Most important, do not go carb- free

3. Oxytocin– also called as the ‘love hormone’, because of its role in establishing emotional ties and relationships.

How to increase its levels?

– Practising yoga and relaxation techniques
Having a meal in the company of loved ones
– Go for a massage at least once/ week
– Pursuing any activity that you enjoy- sports/ singing etc.

4. Endorphins– this brings a sense of calm, well-being and euphoria.

How to increase its levels?

– Join a group exercise class like aerobics, yoga, martial art (where you are likely to meet other people)
– Make sure you do not give up on foods you like because you have decided to “diet”

5. Estrogen/ Progesterone – the hormones that lower anxiety and irritability.

How to increase its levels?

– Stress management is important because cortisol, stress hormone interferes with the function of these hormones

– Levels of these hormones decreases with menopause in women, but unhealthy lifestyle- poor eating, inactivity, poor sleep habits can further aggravate it a lot more. Hence, eat right, move more, exercise smart and sleep well!

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

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