Did you know that almost everything that makes us feel “happy” is linked to 1 of 4 happiness hormones: dopamine, serotonin, endorphin and oxytocin. Since global pandemics seems to make all of us a little less happy, I thought it was worth discussing. Let’s just look at the hormone dopamine today and see how that could make us even the slightest bit happier.
Dopamine is associated with motivation and reward. That’s why we feel excited when we set a goal and even more so when we achieve that said goal. The expectation of a reward triggers a good feeling in the brain and releases the energy we need to reach the reward. So if we know how to trigger a dopamine release, and we know it adds happiness to our life, why aren’t we trying to trigger it more often?
Look, caffeine and sugar trigger dopamine too, but that isn’t the healthiest choice we could make and in the long run, it won’t result in anything good. Think of short term goals—little mini wins—that are so easily achievable we are certain to attain success. Think career, work, money, health, hobby, or sport. What baby step could you start today and do every day to intentionally trigger the release of dopamine? Our happiness is in our hands. Pointing our finger toward anyone or anything else is, well, pointless. Mini goals. Let’s go! We got this!