We are happy here at The Culture Coaches. Happy that the kids are back in school. Happy to send our kids to school for the first time. (okay, happy and sad) Happy that we are in the “ber” months versus August, July, June or May. Even though it’s still warm outside, Pumpkin Spiced Latte’s are just around the corner. We are happy for our families and our health. Happy for our pets (and we have many), and we are happy for our friendships–including the friendships and deep connections we have with our many clients and partners.
Joelle Hadley, our founder and head Culture Coach, is passionate about studying the latest research on how neuroscience impacts our performance, our setbacks and of course, our happiness. She recently spoke to a real estate industry group about The Culture Coaches’ vision:
“Every person loves their work. Every person loves their life.”
So how do we love our work and our life? Even though happiness is a very personal experience and can mean different things for different people, it is important to understand that there is actual science behind what actually makes us feel good. We might not have a money tree, but we can have a happiness tree. Being in a positive state has significant impact on our motivation, productivity and wellbeing.
There are four common hormones or neurotransmitters that scientifically make us feel happy and impact our central nervous system. Think of your central nervous system as the dashboard or control center of your brain and body.
DOPAMINE: Dopamine acts as the brain’s natural narcotic and it gives us a feeling of confidence, exhilaration and energy. We release dopamine when we are falling in love, doing something scary or exciting and eating chocolate. Dopamine motivates us to take action toward goals, desires, needs, and gives a surge of reinforcing pleasure when achieving them. Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are often low levels of dopamine. Write down some goals this week. Try something new. Try something scary!
OXYTOCIN: Oxytocin is the relationship drug. Oxytocin creates intimacy and trust. Oxytocin is released during orgasm and between mammal mother and child immediately after birth. It’s also released when any two people or group of people (think couple, friends, family or team) spend time together and communicate regularly. The cultivation of oxytocin is essential for creating strong bonds and improved social interactions. This is also referred to as the cuddle drug. A simple hug can increase both the giver and receiver’s oxytocin. Gifts are also a way to increase this. Don’t forget to remember birthdays and anniversaries!
SEROTOIN: Serotonin is our well-being drug. It flows when we feel significant and important. Research shows that serotonin plays an important role in regulating mood, appetite, sleep and dreaming. It can have both a sedating or stimulating effect and is related to the flow of thoughts through our minds. We can increase our serotonin with sleep, rest, nature, sunlight and relaxation. Reliving great moments creates serotonin (as the brain doesn’t know the difference between perception and reality) so reflecting on your day, week and life in a gratitude journal or over a cup of tea, can increase our serotonin.
ENDORPHINS: Endorphins are released in response to pain and stress and help to alleviate anxiety and depression. The surging “second wind” and euphoric “runners high” during and after a vigorous exercise are a result of endorphins. Similar to morphine, it acts as an analgesic and sedative, diminishing our perception of pain. Endorphins increase with exercise, laughter, and even chocolate and spicy foods. This explains why we keep going back to Los Dos Molinos!
Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins are the quartet responsible for our happiness. Many events can trigger these neurotransmitters, but rather than being in the passenger seat, there are ways we can intentionally cause them to flow. Think about some smart choices to increase your happiness this week or increase the happiness of others. Reflect in gratitude, get more sleep, take a walk in the sunshine, hug someone, get a vigorous workout, do some yoga, eat some chocolate, celebrate someone and don’t forget to laugh!
- 25 Sep, 2016
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