Are you stuck in a rut? Feeling low without the luxury of socialising? Are your days starting to blur into one? Then, you might have a case of the lockdown blues. Do not worry you are not the only one. The lockdown blues are completely understandable given the current climate. Here at Love Yourself, we want you to be your happiest and healthiest (mentally and physically). So, here are some ways you can get that spring back into your step and enjoy the little time we have left of what will hopefully be the last lockdown.
Let’s jump straight into the science! There are four primary chemicals in your body that influence your happiness. Otherwise known as the happiness DOSE: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. Each one plays a different role and can be triggered by different experiences.
Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that sends messages between nerve cells in the nervous system and plays a role in how we feel pleasure. Neurons that release dopamine are triggered when we expect to receive a reward and in turn can act as a motivator.
Here are some ways to activate dopamine:
- Self-care rituals
- Finishing a task – have you been holding off on doing something that will take 5 minutes of your time? Then, this is your sign to get up and get your dopamine dose!
- Celebrating small wins
- Eating a good meal
Serotonin is the hormone responsible for stabilising our mood. Did you know most of the serotonin in your body is found in your gut, not in your brain? It also plays a huge role in promoting healthy digestion as well as affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep. This is because serotonin is needed to produce melatonin which is responsible for the proper functioning of our sleep cycle.
Here are some ways to activate serotonin:
- Sun exposure
- Meditating/Deep breathing
- Get active – go for a run
- Spending time in nature
Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They are released in response to pain or stress, but they are also released during other activities such as eating and exercise.
Here are some ways to activate endorphins:
- Eating dark chocolate
- Watching a good movie
- Releasing essential oils – vanilla or lavender
Oxytocin is known as the love hormone and has the power to regulate our emotional responses. It is also associated with trust, empathy, positive memories and relationship building. Research has shown that oxytocin has been linked with lowering levels of stress and anxiety.
Here are some ways to activate oxytocin:
- Giving a compliment
- Playing with a pet
- Helping others
- Physical affection
By Pooja Depala