The pursuit of happiness is arguably one of the most influential factors in how we live our lives, whether it's in the way we decorate our home, who we choose to date, or planning for a successful career. Considering that the definition of this cheery emotion is often relative, even psychologists agree that measuring happiness is not an easy task—but understanding the science behind what causes us to feel happy is one concept that we can apply in our everyday approach to living. On that note, MindBodyGreen has shared the best ways to give your brain's feel-good chemicals a boost. Keep reading for five simple tricks that'll instantly make you feel happier.
Laugh out loud. Studies have shown that laughter causes us to release more endorphins, which are the hormones secreted by our brain and our nervous system that make us feel good. Given that exercise is also a well-known endorphin-boosting activity, why not invite your funniest friend to your next workout (or simply watch a funny viral video while you sweat)?
Have more sex. According to MindBodyGreen, oxytocin is the "love hormone" released by our brain's pituitary gland during sex. No wonder happy couples make it a habit to have sex once a week.
Learn something new. Some of the world's most successful people swear by learning new things regularly. This habit releases dopamine, which is "associated with being rewarded … [and acts] as motivation to keep moving forward with that new skill." If you've been itching to learn how to play the guitar or improve your investing skills, now's the time to do it.
Add adaptogens to your wellness routine. These herbs are finally getting more attention from the mainstream, thanks to their ability to bring balance to our bodies. These ancient herbal medicines are known to boost our brain health; for instance, mucuna pruriens, or velvet bean, contains the dopamine precursor L-DOPA, while rhodiola helps keep dopamine levels stable. These supplements can easily be mixed into your morning smoothie—how's that for starting your day off on a happy note?
Aromatherapy. It's no secret that essential oils offer a ton of health benefits, and those extend to our brain, too. As MindBodyGreen explains, lavender oil has been known to mimic the calming effect of anti-anxiety medications by stimulating serotonin production.
Head over to MindBodyGreen for the full list of endorphin-boosting tricks, and then tell us your favorite ways to instantly lift your mood.