happiness health hugs illumination life

How to Get Your Happiness Hormones, Even If You’re Alone

Can’t get hugs? I’ve got you covered.

woman hugging a tree, with only her arms and hands visible
Photo by Trent Haaland on Unsplash

We need to keep our health and spirits up during the Great Pause, which means supporting our bodies to produce mood elevating hormones. There are four we want to have:

Oxytocin, known as “the hug hormone,” increases trust.

Well, if you’re in isolation right now and can’t get hugs, what can you do?

  • Pet/stroke animals
  • Meditate
  • Listen deeply to someone or open up emotionally
    (so jump on the phone or Zoom)
  • Self massage

Since I prefer e-mail letter-writing to Zoom (because of spotty Internet connections), I do a combination of self-massage on my limbs, followed by gentle chest thumping while singing scales, because the silly, wobbly sounds I produce make me smile.

Dopamine, known as “the bliss hormone,” “the feel-good hormone,” or “the reward hormone,” is involved with attention, motivation, decision making, memory, and sleep. You get it from:

  • Meditating
  • Listening to music
  • Touch

Low-level underlying worry is still distracting me from having any effective meditation, so I’m memorizing a new song every week. Most of them are either funny or cheerful.

Serotonin, known as “the happy hormone,” relates to well-being, pride and status. You can get it from:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Touch

For me, that means exercise. I swim for half an hour to forty-five minutes every morning, and walk out at midday to pick up my take-away lunch. (I keep trying to get myself to turn on the free online Zumba classes in the evening because I love to dance, but somehow I always end up watching a movie instead.)

Endorphins. These hormones give a feeling of euphoria, relieve stress & pain, and help to create good habits. You get them from:

  • Eating chocolate
  • Eating something spicy
  • Listening to music
  • Laughter
  • Good sex (I’ll leave this on the list cuz most of you know how to fly solo)
  • Exercise

I love to laugh, so for me it’s some solo Laughter Yoga, or watching some silly cat videos online (I’ve seen hundreds of them, and I’m still laughing). I’ve even got a laughter reminder on my phone in the early evening to make sure I get in my daily laughs.

There you go. If you help your body produce these four hormones every day, you will enjoy a much happier life.

woman with a big smile, wearing an orange sweater
Photo by Kreated Media on Unsplash

How to Get Your Happiness Hormones, Even If You’re Alone was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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