Hormones of happiness: how to induce a good mood

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Hormones are responsible for any human condition. Falling in love, calmness, happiness, stress, desire for physical activity, increase or decrease in intelligence, irritation, weight gain or decrease – all this is a consequence of chemical processes in the body.

A good mood is a derivative of a sufficient amount of happiness hormones: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphin. Their insufficient production provokes chronic fatigue, drowsiness and even depression, and their excess can lead to poor health and the formation of pathologies in the organs and systems of the body.

If you notice a lack of energy, joy and vitality behind you, do not rush to run to the doctor. In the case when the situation is not critical, you can independently increase the level of happiness hormones in the body. In this article, we will tell you how to do this so that every day becomes joyful, and productivity is higher and sufficient to achieve your goals and solve everyday tasks.

Stress, difficulties in relationships with loved ones and colleagues, apathy, procrastination, fears can be not only the cause of hormone deficiencies. These are features of the work of the psyche that can be corrected independently, getting rid of the causes of anxiety, changing the point of view on them, introducing new habits. Learning to control your own mental state is possible in 6 weeks – for this, come to our online program ” Mental Self-Regulation “. And we’re back to hormones.

About hormones

Hormones are special molecules secreted by the glands of the body and stimulate the work of internal organs. They are sometimes called signaling substances or neurotransmitters because they literally tell the body what to do with changes in temperature, stress, lack of sleep, wakefulness, etc. [ O. V. Smirnova, 2021 ].

Hormones keep the body working smoothly. With the predominance of one or another type of biological substance in the body, either the organs slow down their activity (for example, when going to bed), or individual systems are activated, protecting the rest (when adrenaline is released ).

At the same time, several types of hormones for different purposes are produced in the body at once:

  • Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland (a part of the brain) and is responsible for the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Growth and reproduction hormones are produced in the pituitary gland, this part of the brain regulates the work of other producing glands.
  • Glucagon, insulin, somatostatin, ghrelin and polypeptide are produced in the pancreas and are responsible for blood sugar levels.
  • The adrenal glands secrete hormones that regulate blood pressure, heart rate, and stress response.
  • Testosterone (male sex hormone) is produced in the testes.
  • Estrogen and progesterone (female sex hormones) are produced in the ovaries.

These are the main hormones, without which a quality life is impossible. They are responsible for the main vital systems of the body, in particular for the functioning of the glands that produce happiness hormones: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphin.


The first hormone that is responsible for good mood and cognitive functions is dopamine (dopamine). It is considered one of the most important neurotransmitters that influences learning processes, motivation, creates anticipation of pleasure and serves as the main element of the “reward” of the brain. Dopamine makes a person return to simple sources of reward and pleasure, which often leads to alcohol and drug addictions, gambling addiction, and promiscuity in sex.

The hormone dopamine is secreted in specific brain neurons, the death of which provokes Parkinson’s disease. These neurons themselves “decide” when and how much to release the signaling substance into the brain in order to start the processes they control; in other words, their work is self-regulating and independent of conditionally external factors.

Not so long ago, scientists were sure: the production of dopamine by neurons is provoked by signals from neural networks. Researchers at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine found that the production of the happiness hormone dopamine is a self-regulating process [ Cell Reports, 2021 ]. The discovery makes possible a more detailed study of Parkinson’s disease and the possibility of finding a cure for this disease.

In order for neuronal cells to release dopamine, it is necessary to create suitable provocative conditions.


Neurons in the brain, and to a greater extent bacteria in the gut, produce serotonin, the happiness hormone that is also present in neuroplatelets and the central nervous system. The substance plays an important role in homeostasis, intestinal functions, determines behavior, the work of the “unconscious” nervous system, affects appetite, mood, memory , emotions and other manifestations of a person, and is also responsible for the circadian rhythm – adjusting the body’s regime to the change of day and night.

Serotonin also determines bone metabolism, breast milk production in lactating women, the quality of liver regeneration and cell division. The field of activity of this hormone is wide, and because of this, it is considered one of the most important neurotransmitters, the balance of which must be maintained [ FBUZ Center for Hygienic Education of the Population of Rospotrebnadzor, 2022 ].

Lack of serotonin leads to anxiety, fear and depression. Excess, on the contrary, provokes the formation of blood clots due to the narrowing of blood vessels when the hormone leaves the platelets, food retention in the gastrointestinal tract when an irritant occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, nausea and vomiting. Osteoporosis is also a consequence of excess serotonin.

A lack of serotonin causes a lack of resources, and an excess has the opposite effect, causing sexual dysfunction and cancerous tumors in some cases [ N.A. Bokhan, 2013 ].


The happiness hormone oxytocin is present in the body of men and women, but is most commonly known under the code name “maternity hormone” – it stimulates uterine contractions during and after childbirth, promotes the release (not synthesis) of milk, and lays maternal behavior. Thanks to oxytocin, females in the animal world take care of the cubs of their relatives. The neurotransmitter enhances fidelity to a partner, promotes the memorization of smells and images. All these traits (or most of them) are also inherent in young mothers of Homo sapiens.

In addition, oxytocin is involved in sexual contact between a man and a woman – both of them release it during orgasm, which contributes to effective conception – this is how nature intended. The hormone improves sperm transport and uterine contraction for the rapid connection of germ cells and the emergence of a new life.

Oxytocin is a hormone that determines a person’s social life, enhances affiliative behavior, which involves maintaining and strengthening friendships and family ties, empathy, trust [ “Chemistry and Life” No. 9, 2016 ]. Another name for it is the cuddle hormone. It is released into the blood in anticipation of pleasant bodily contact, and not directly touching, scientists say. A person needs a person – it’s about oxytocin.

A normal amount of oxytocin contributes to the rapid healing of wounds, especially in people who interact with beloved partners during recovery [ PubMed Central, 2010 ].

Another benefit of the hormone is to improve digestion [ The Physiological Society, 2020 ]. Oxytocin stimulates the contraction of the stomach, thereby increasing the rate of digestion of food. Lack of the hormone during stress can provoke indigestion, constipation, bloating and discomfort, in advanced cases, an ulcer. Oxytocin balances the effects of cortisol during stress.


The hormone of pain and happiness is endorphin. It is produced in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus.

Endorphins are a group of twenty hormones that are released in response to pain and stress and act as an airbag, neutralizing pain and discomfort and maintaining the efficiency of the body. In other words, it is an anesthetic that the body secretes.

The hormones endorphins also create a feeling of well-being in the absence of stressful situations, are released when falling in love, having sex and eating delicious food. In the central nervous system, they provoke the production of dopamine, which is responsible for achieving a sense of satisfaction.

The main task of endorphins, the happiness hormones, is to stabilize physical and mental pain for a while, while a person takes measures to eliminate the source of stress. The next day, the pain will probably get worse.

The effect of hormones on the body

It was not in vain that we mentioned the main hormones in the body in addition to those responsible for happiness and pleasure. All of them are interconnected and affect the work of organs. The concentration of one neurotransmitter decreases – another one takes its place, as a result – a person’s mood, behavior, sensations, etc. change.

Hormones enter the tissues with blood from the site of excretion. They transmit a signal corresponding to their purpose to the organ, which in turn reads the impulse and translates it into the “language” of a particular type of tissue.

On the surface of every cell in the body there are membrane receptors that receive signals from hormones that are unable to overcome the lipid barrier. These same receptors transmit an impulse inside the cell, they interpret it in such a way that the signal affects the functions characteristic of a particular cell.

Those hormones that easily pass through the cell membrane act directly on internal receptors that change the functioning of genes and important proteins. This is how the cell function changes [ O. V. Smirnova, 2021 ].

There is competition between hormones for cells and their receptors, some can suppress others. So, insulin is the only one that lowers blood sugar levels, while several hormones increase the amount of glucose at once. Their competition keeps the sugar level normal. But if a situation occurs in which insulin is produced in a smaller amount, its competitive properties are no longer enough to fight the army of opponents, diabetes mellitus occurs.

Another example of a “skew” in the hormonal system, but with the hormone of happiness. Dopamine in excess or increased sensitivity of cellular receptors to it can cause nervous tics in a person and, in complex cases, speech impairment. An excess of this mediator correlates with the antagonist hormone haloperidol, which blocks the conduction of receptors. If the body does not produce it in the right amount, the substance is included in drug therapy. With its use, the amount of dopamine in the blood decreases, the nervous background is restored in patients, and tension disappears [ Medfilm, 1979 ].

The action of happiness hormones is currently being studied, some of their properties are refuted or supplemented, which makes the therapy of deficiency and surplus more effective later on.

How to find out about the deficiency / surplus of hormones?

As can be seen from the examples of the interaction of hormones in the body, the slightest imbalance in the balance will inevitably lead to a change in the functioning of the organs. When one chemical substance recedes, others either take its place, or the organs are left without signals for certain actions, which also often puts them out of action.

It cannot be said that one hormone is responsible for only one aspect of health or mood, another for the second aspect, and so on. The work of glands and secrets in the body is interconnected. Remove one small gear from the mechanism – the whole system will rise. For this reason, physicians, seemingly not connected with the endocrine system, are sent for examination of the hormonal background: dermatologists, trichologists, gastroenterologists, cardiologists, reproductive physicians, etc. Each specialist is interested in sets of certain hormones, but they can intersect, it would seem, in problems of organs that are completely distant in terms of functionality.

You can find out about the amount of hormones in the body by laboratory testing by donating blood for analysis. But this should be done in the direction of the attending physician. Without a specialist, it can be assumed that the hormones of happiness are not enough if a person notices the corresponding symptoms:

  • weakness;
  • lack of strength;
  • Bad mood;
  • yearning;
  • apathy;
  • feeling of anxiety;
  • moderate headaches.

If there are signs of depression, it is better not to self-medicate. If symptoms are only mild discomfort, read about ways to increase the concentration of “fun” chemicals in the body.

How to develop hormones of happiness?

Serotonin production slows down when a person looks at the world in a pessimistic light, often negatively disposed towards others and himself. Endorphin is produced during physical activity, which is far from being associated with happiness for everyone, and this is the problem of hormone deficiency in many city dwellers. The lack of wins and pleasures inhibits the release of dopamine, and the lack of bodily contact will not provoke the production of oxytocin, which causes intimacy and a sense of community.

Consider ways to develop happiness hormones, as they say, at home :

  • Eat more protein . Dopamine production involves the amino acid tyrosine, which is found in protein foods: turkey, beef, eggs, dairy products, and legumes [ Pubmed, 2007 ]. Protein compounds serve as a building material for brain neurons, contribute to the production of dopamine and the development of memory.
  • Reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet , found in animal fat, butter, coconut, and palm oils. They reduce the transmission of dopamine hormone impulses [ National Library of Medicine, 2008 ]. In addition, a high-fat diet contributes to the development of inflammatory processes in the body, and this reduces the work of the dopamine system [ National Library of Medicine, 2016 ].
  • Include probiotics in your diet . Scientists have proven that hormones are produced not only in the brain, but also in the intestines, so you need to take care of its health [ Pubmed, 2012 ]. Dopamine is also produced in the nerve cells of the intestine, which is influenced by certain bacteria. Research in this direction is still underway, but the results of experiments that have shown effectiveness are already available. For example, probiotic supplements in many cases improve mood and reduce depression.
  • Go in for sports, enter the habit of doing exercises . This is one of the most accessible ways to increase the production of happiness hormones, in particular endorphins. Improving mood and overall well-being occurs after 10 minutes of physical activity. Interestingly, different types of exercise affect different hormones. Thus, endorphins are released during long-distance running, and their maximum concentration is observed after 20 minutes [ Pubmed, 2001 ].
  • Get enough sleep , make sure you get enough sleep . Only a well-rested brain is able to produce enough happiness hormones naturally. Experiments have shown that the maximum concentration of dopamine, which is responsible, in particular, for wakefulness, is reached in the morning before waking up after quality sleep, and the minimum concentration is before bedtime. Lack of sleep and nightly gatherings disrupt natural rhythms: after a short rest, a sufficient concentration of the substance was no longer observed, and this is fraught with a decrease in the ability to concentrate, deterioration in coordination and memory. For this reason, drivers before a flight, manual workers and students before exams are strictly advised to have a good sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time, keep the bedroom clean and comfortable.
  • Listen to pleasant and favorite music . Scientists have proven that listening to melodies activates the areas of the brain responsible for pleasure and reward, where dopamine is produced [ Pubmed, 2014 ]. When listening to music, there is a feeling of euphoria. Note that the studies take into account listening to music, not lyrics.
  • Meditate. Meditation contributes to the preservation of calmness and physical health of a person, as well as the production of hormones of happiness [ Pubmed, 2002 ]. An experiment on mice showed that up to 64% more dopamine is produced in a meditative state than in a normal relaxed state and during a quiet rest. Meditation helps to maintain a good mood, maintaining motivation.
  • Walk in sunny weather . Surely, many notice: with a long cloudy period, it is much worse to maintain the mood than in the light of the sun. Seasonal affective disorder is a state of sadness and depression during the autumn-winter period, when there is not enough sunlight, and this happens in most of Russia, especially in the northern regions. The study showed that people exposed to the sun for 30 days had the highest density of receptors in brain areas responsible for movement and good mood [ Pubmed, 2011 ]. Sun lovers who visit the solarium at least twice a week also have a sufficient amount of dopamine compounds in the brain [ Pubmed, 2016 ].
  • Include vitamins and minerals in your diet – they affect the production of happiness hormones. Ideally, it is recommended that laboratory tests determine the chemical composition of the blood and find out which microelements the body lacks. Anemia and iron deficiency are especially dangerous [ National Library of Medicine, 2014 ]. Proper nutrition will help solve the problem of micronutrient consumption: include natural products, curcumin, green tea, herbs in the menu. Delicious food, by the way, directly affects the production of happiness hormones, especially those secreted in the intestines.
  • Learn to remain calm in any situation . Stress and anxiety provoke the production of norepinephrine and cortisol secreted by the adrenal glands, and these hormones are antagonists of oxytocin, endorphin, serotonin, and dopamine.
  • Maintaining good relationships with loved ones, hugging – these actions contribute to the production of oxytocin and a sense of social reward [ Pnas, 2015 ]. This also includes having sex, getting orgasms – they are definitely recommended to increase the level of hormones of happiness.
  • Do what you love , which “ignites”, have children. Oddly enough, these actions come from one need – to leave something behind. Initially, nature laid down the instinct to procreate, but under the influence of social transformations, this task for many was transformed into a desire to run a business – also a kind of “brainchild”. Love for children, pride in the work – stimulants for the production of a complex of hormones of happiness.
  • Take care of others, do charity work . Kind thoughts and understanding that you are useful stimulate the production of dopamine. This also includes caring for parents and children.

To summarize under the actions stimulating the production of hormones of happiness, they come down to enjoying life, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting rid of bad habits and addictions. To do this, you need to show an effort of will, change and increase neural connections. After you succeed in accustoming the hormones of happiness, your life will sparkle with new colors, you will gain confidence, a good mood that does not need to be stimulated, as well as excellent well-being and health.

What to read on the topic?

Loretta Broiling spoke about the origin of happiness hormones and their effect on the body in the book “Happy Hormones. How to train the brain to produce serotonin, dopamine, endorphin and oxytocin . The author is a professor at the University of California, who decided to study the nature of happiness. Loretta Broiling is sure that the starting point for the study of happiness lies behind human physiology, in particular behind hormones, the production of which we can consciously regulate. Happiness is a controlled process.

In the book “Hormones of Happiness”, Loretta Broiling tells in a simple and understandable language for the average person about the reasons for the lack of endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin, about the mechanisms of their production and ways to improve this very production. The author explains why a person is drawn to bad habits, parties and pleasant conversations, and how this all affects the production of hormones.

By reading the book, a person will be able to increase the happiness hormones serotonin, dopamine, endorphin in the blood by introducing new habits, and do it quite quickly – in just 45 days according to the author’s method, performing simple exercises. During this time, new neural connections are formed in the brain, which, while maintaining a new way of life and thinking, help to form a new reality around a person. True, judging by the reviews, the practice is suitable mainly for beginners of a healthy lifestyle – there is not as much science in the book as we would like, but there are enough emotions, understandable explanations and cause-and-effect relationships.

And our Mental Self-Regulation program is suitable for everyone – beginners and confident adherents of a healthy lifestyle, experienced people who know Zen, coaches, teachers, entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to take control of their emotional state, get rid of apathy and procrastination, anxiety and fears . The proposed exercises are designed taking into account the peculiarities of the psyche and are aimed at getting rid of anxiety, finding peace and pleasure, which provoke the production of hormones of happiness. Let’s pay attention: you will learn how to extract these hormones in an environmentally friendly way, without falling into dependence on food, psychotropic, narcotic substances and other destructive actions.

Remember: happiness is the product of your thoughts and actions! And in conclusion, we propose to pass a small test:


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