If you want to be happier and less stressed, you should be having more sex, according to experts. Okay, so it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, but there is actually scientific evidence that supports this idea. And in this blog post, I’ll share ways to help activate the feel-good chemicals in your brain — with or without a partner.
Commonly referred to as the ‘happy hormones,’ oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins are known for having a positive impact on mood and emotions. Each of these chemicals are produced naturally in our bodies during intimacy, but if you really want to feel the love, try these other activities for a natural mood booster.
Have an orgasm
Again. Probably don’t see science to confirm this but the physical act of sexual intimacy and orgasm, in particular, is proven to raise oxytocin and dopamine levels. In fact, your brain does some pretty cool things before, during, and after climax. For example, did you know that the logical part of your brain (lateral orbitofrontal cortex) shuts down during sex while simultaneously pumping out endorphins, oxytocin, and vasopressin — chemicals that reduce pain reduction and create heighten sensations. This might explain why some people are turned on by hair pulling and being choked.
Having an orgasm also stimulates your brain in the same way as doing drugs. This is because your brain doesn’t differentiate much between sex and other pleasure. So whether you’re enjoying a piece of chocolate cake or other delectable treat, all your brain interprets is satisfaction and it sends more of that chemical to your brain that says, “This feels good. I want more of it.”
Talk about more bang for your buck.
Give your partner a massage
A 2012 study looking at 95 adults found evidence to suggest 15 minutes of massage could not only help people relax, but it could also boost oxytocin levels.
Eat a well-balanced diet
There is tons of science linked to food and mood. Maintaining proper “gut” health positively affects the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Some of the best food choices are complex carbohydrates from whole foods like sweet potatoes, rolled oats, beans and quinoa.
Spend time with loved ones
Healthy relationships can have a positive impact on your health. If you want to reconnect with someone or strengthen a bond, try doing something that neither of you has done before. Bonding over the unique experience may also trigger oxytocin release.
Laughing out LOUD
Have you ever laughed until you cried? Or maybe you have been upset with someone and all of a sudden they do something silly to make you laugh and bring your guard down. That’s because laughing with people you’re close to can also release endorphins according to this 2017 study
Similar to the way social laughter is more likely to boost endorphins, enjoying musical performances in a community setting can also make us feel better. Music has a way of transporting us through our emotions, including love, hope, and feelings of nostalgia.
Random acts of kindness
This is more than just a hashtag. A 2016 study called Compassion and the science of kindness concluded that doing something nice benefits you AND the person you are performing the gesture for by triggering a release of endorphins.
Cut the CRAP
Caffeine, sodas, chips, alcohol, nicotine, and a lot of other junk we put in our bodies. Why? While these snacks can cause a temporary rush of dopamine, they can also cause a spike and crash of the body’s blood sugar levels, along with dopamine.
Serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin help promote happiness and pleasure while reducing depression and anxiety. You can give these feel-good hormones a natural boost with some simple activities.
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