Happiness Chemicals and How to Hack Them

happiness chemicals

When it comes to anxiety and depression, it’s important to understand happiness chemicals and how to hack them.

When I’m having an especially bad day, I try to do at least one thing to trigger a release of my happy chemicals. Often it’ll be something as small as standing in the sun or eating something yummy.

The best way I’ve found to hack happiness is by doing yoga. It releases more than one of the chemicals I’ll chat about in this post. But some days, it can be a lot of effort to drag myself to a yoga class. Then I do the little things.

How to Hack Happiness Chemicals

Hacking your brain is one of the most important things to do when you have anxiety and depression. Often you’ll be told you have a chemical imbalance in your brain. And when things aren’t balanced, the best thing to do is give your brain what it needs to get back to some sort of equilibrium.

On those days when you wake up and have no desire to do anything, do yourself a favor and try to hack one of your happy chemicals. Even a little bit can help.

Each of the 4 happiness chemicals has its own benefit, and there are different ways to achieve them.

happiness chemicals how to get


A.K.A. The Mood Stabilizer

If you’ve ever been to a psychiatrist with depression, you’ll likely know about Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). These are some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. They work wonderfully for some people and wreak havoc for others.

SSRIs basically allow for more serotonin to be released. But it’s actually more complicated than that. You can learn more here.

Basically, serotonin is awesome, and you should try to do things that make your body release it.

  • Walk in nature
  • Sun exposure
  • Listen to music
  • Meditate
  • Make a list of everything you are grateful for
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Go running
  • Go for a swim
  • Go for a massage
  • Make time for rest
  • Take a Vitamin B-Complex
  • Eat complex carbs
  • Take a Vitamin-D supplements

If you really want to get your serotonin up, consider a yoga session in nature while you’re basking in the sun. While you’re doing yoga, put on some music. Then relax into meditation and think of everything you’re grateful for (while absorbing some Vitamin D). Honestly, this sounds like the best way to spend a Sunday morning.


A.K.A the reward chemical

One of the reasons cigarettes are so popular is because Nicotine causes the release of dopamine. It’s a quick and simple way to make your day a lot easier. But it isn’t the healthiest method of handling stress.

There are other ways to give your dopamine a little boost, though that won’t cause long-term lung damage.


A.K.A The Pain Killer

I always thought endorphins were only released after intense exercise like going for a run. But there are a lot less intense ways of giving your body some of this happy hormone.

  • Exercising
  • Laughing
  • Using essential oils
  • Doing yoga
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Watch a comedy movie
happy chemicals hot bath


A.K.A. The love hormone

Ah, oxytocin, the reason I’ve made so many mistakes and learned how not to do them again. It’s that warm fuzzy feeling when you feel loved. It’s a magic little chemical that makes your brain realize life can be pretty cool. Of all the pleasure chemicals, this one is most people’s favorite.

  • Give yourself a compliment
  • Holding hands
  • Hugs from people you love (a 20-second hug is a great way to release oxytocin)
  • Cuddles
  • Do something nice for someone
  • Stroke an animal
  • Help out others

Secrets to Hacking Happiness

The biggest secret to hacking happiness is by taking care of yourself (and fixing your sleep schedule). Doing little brain hacks can help boost your chemicals, leading to more energy and a better mood.

Find your perfect happy hack combination to make you feel good. As with all things related to anxiety and depression, you need to find what works for you.

happy hack

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