Gaining a deeper understanding of your “happy” hormones could help you to enhance your overall emotional well-being, mood, skin, and memory. Hormones like serotonin and dopamine play a remarkable role in regulating your mood. (Living with a stress or mood disorder can significantly affect your life and it is a good idea to seek out a healthcare professional if you would like more support.)
Let’s get you into your groove and embracing your happy mood!
Hormones (Estrogen, Oxyctin, Progesterone, Dopamine, and Serotonin specifically) are messengers produced by special groups of cells that are then carried through your blood. Even in small amounts, they can cause major changes or disruptions to you, your mood, and your general well-being! We can understand and be more in tune with these ‘happy mood boosting’ chemicals within our own lives – by understanding and optimizing each stage of our menstrual cycles.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter known for helping us feel pleasure and the enticement of rewards. Wonder why you feel wonderful when you receive kind words or positive attention? Dopamine! It is also instrumental in helping us daily with concentration, executive function, and focus.
From having a cuppa and reading your fave book to launching a dream project! Crossing off items on your to-do list is a natural way to increase dopamine levels and lead to a happy mood. Download apps like Calm and Moodfit that have input from healthcare professionals. A sense of daily accomplishment and victory over day-to-day things can give you a real boost!
Urgh. I know. But it makes a huge difference. Hydrogenated fat and refined sweeteners can impede dopamine creation and put extra stress on your body. Switch out empty calories for nutritious healthy fats and food. Omega-3 fatty acids found in food like fish and nuts actually boost dopamine.
Vitamin D is produced by sunlight or can be taken in supplements. Being outside also boosts your dopamine after 10 minutes, so even if you don’t feel like it, trust me – get outside and search out those rays! It can relieve stress in a matter of minutes!
Make time in your schedule for hanging out with family and friends, eating good food, and working on hobbies and other things you enjoy. We live in a highly distracted, fast-paced world – taking time out to be really present, without technology, is very good for your soul. Maybe you and your loved ones can make it a regular thing – humans LOVE something to look forward to, it’s a real mood booster!
It’s been discovered that dopamine levels can increase by 9% while stress levels decrease when people listened to music. Maybe you could bring back the old ‘mixtape’ idea and make playlists for you and your friends to enjoy?
Make time to hang out with loved ones, eat good food, and be creative. We live in a highly distracted, fast-paced world – taking time out to be really present, without technology, is very good for your soul. Maybe you and your loved ones can make it a regular thing – humans LOVE something to look forward to, it’s a real mood booster!
A little self-care can go a long way. Depending on where you are in your cycle a treat can range anywhere from a candlelit night in front of the tv, some nourishing food, and all the way to a fast-paced adrenalin thrill ride. As you get to know your menstrual cycle better you’ll know what you prefer the best – and why something that worked one week won’t work the next!
Did you know that 90%+ of your serotonin can be found in your gut where it has the job of modulating your digestive system? It is considered such an important mood hormone that it’s part of the formula for many SSRIs.
Aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week. (That’s only around 20 mins a day) Yoga, Pilates, a dance class, or just a lovely brisk walk are some ideas. A kitchen disco is never a bad idea to make you smile and propel you into a happy mood!
(I’m not talking about the donut-shaped ones! Though this happy food can also be the instigator of a happy mood!) Sometimes we all fancy one of our fave go-to foods because they trigger serotonin. Try to choose complex carbohydrates instead of processed foods. Pinterest and other social sites have some amazing, delicious recipes that you could try out.
Both of these hormones respond well to complex B vitamins. Some fabulously fresh places to find these are in broccoli, peas, and spinach. Methylated B vitamins can be absorbed more easily into the system and are good at helping hormones regulate (always check with your provider)
Stay in bed! Ensure that you have plenty of sleep at night. We are all different and so is our need for sleep. Work out what works best for you and be amazed as your happy mood increases over time (especially if you get a few more minutes in bed)
Perimenopause can start in our 30s, much earlier than previously thought. A change in our once happy mood, physical changes, and intolerances to food are some things to look out for. A drop in progesterone and estrogen can cause some pretty dramatic disruptions in your life. Talk with your doctor or holistic practitioner about appropriate options. You may want to consider bio-identical hormone replacement therapy or manage your symptoms in a natural way.
A stress or mood disorder can interfere with any of your ‘happy hormones’. Keep calm with meditation, cold water therapy, exercise, or whatever works best for you and allows for a happy mood. I have a friend who watches horror movies to reduce anxiety – whereas just the thought of it makes me break into a cold sweat!
It doesn’t just benefit others, it helps you too! Oxytocin (another feel-good hormone, aka the ‘love hormone’) is involved in social bonding as well as birth. It is scientifically proven that it brings contentment and a happy mood. You benefit from being kind and loving too!
Stepping out of your comfort zone is a great way to give yourself a boost, out of a rut, and into a happy mood. Say yes to that invitation, and go to that party. You may even love it and meet new people.
Sometimes we just need some help to start feeling like ourselves again and to start having a happy mood. Thats fine, and completely human. Talking about how you feel with someone can be one of the most beneficial things for mental health. Modern medicine and/or holistic medicine can bring incredible insight and healing into our lives. Feel free to test different things and reach out for support.
We won’t always be able to be in a happy mood and that’s ok. Women’s lives follow a cyclical nature, as do our emotions and thoughts. Eating across the ‘rainbow’ of food groups, exercising regularly, feeling free, managing stress, pursuing loving relationships, finding joy in everyday life, awareness of a stress or mood disorder, and awareness of your own menstruation cycle can boost a happy mood and be very empowering and exhilarating.
(As always, seek out a healthcare professional if you are worried about anything)