After watching this video, I got more interested in knowing about these chemicals and how to control them. I'm sure you would also do that after watching this :) If you are more into it, you can also read the book "Meet your happy chemicals" by Loretta Graziano Breuning.
You need to know about 5 chemicals in our body - EDSOC (Endorphin, Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, Cortisol)
Endorphin and Dopamine are selfish chemicals and they are very addictive. Endorphin is triggered when you do any physical activity and it masks pain. Even laughing and crying stimulates endorphin. So exercising gives the required endorphin to be happy but it is for a short time. Once it's gone, you'll start feeling the pain coming back because of physical distress.
Dopamine is triggered when you get a sense of accomplishment... the "I got it" feeling!! When you see food when you are hungry, when an alcoholic sees a bar, winning points when you play games, or achieving your goals.. you get a surge of dopamine. It is very addictive, and you try to do it again and again to get the high feeling!!
Serotonin and Oxytocin are very generous chemicals because it spreads to others too. Serotonin is a leadership chemical.. triggered when you get a sense of pride or recognition or when you feel important. When you feel proud about your accomplishment, like getting a degree or award in front of a huge crowd... even your parents and teachers would get a serotonin surge. This video also talks about the advantages and disadvantages of being a leader.. leadership comes at a cost and risk. You will not envy bosses or leaders after watching this video.
Oxytocin is a chemical of love and trust. Whenever you hug someone, there is a drop of oxytocin released. So when you shake hands and wish someone... hug and greet someone... there is a oxytocin surge. Whenever there is a trust or a bond developed between people, oxytocin comes to play. Simon gives a good explanation of why we are not happy with out jobs... when we have a strong trust on our company and boss, we would never get unhappy with our jobs ever!!
Lastly the bad chemical Cortisol - which is the main reason for stress!! Cortisol is a chemical triggered when a 'fight or flight' response is required in a problematic situation. But the cortisol should be active only for a few seconds... but now we have a constant cortisol generation throughout the day which causes stress. We have to look for ways to reduce cortisol levels and increase serotonin and oxytocin levels to be happy.
- Meditation gives you relaxation and reduces cortisol
- Laughing out loud - watch funny videos :)
- Playing with pets gives you relaxation and also a surge in endorphin, oxytocin.
- Be generous in helping others - Giving money doesnt give you any benefits actually. Giving your time and efforts for others is generosity... gives you peace of mind and all the happy chemicals
- Express yourself creatively - like playing a musical instrument, singing, painting, photography... which will slow down your breathing and heart rate.
- Yoga, tai chi and even other massage forms too helps in reducing cortisol levels and improves your body's self-healing capacity.
- Yes.. healthy sex life will also get you a relief from stress
- Spiritual life and devotion also gets you distracted from unwanted stress in life
- Alleviate loneliness. Join groups of similar interests and find friends to hang out with.
- Talk to your body and mind... and find out what your body needs to alleviate stress. If it is because of the soul-sucking job or sucking relationship, quit it.
Hope you liked our pick of an inspirational talk to pep you up!!
Let us know your ways to reduce stress/ cortisol levels which can help others too.