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  • Writer's pictureDonna Webb

It's All In The Hormones

You may think that our feelings and emotional health is heavily influenced by our actions and the situation we are in in the moment but the energy that drives them comes from our brains, more specifically neuro-chemicals!

The way the modern world lives its life today puts great stresses on these chemicals and so leads to an imbalance causing many issues including depression. It may seem an obvious answer to take a pill for something that seems a physical issue but what is more productive to your well-being is getting to know these happiness chemicals and understanding them. Once you understand them you will also understand that a pill will not fix the imbalance but a healthy happy life will. This will mean making changes to your behaviour and your lifestyle for it is these changes that will create a balanced chemistry in your brain which will give you the healthy happy life you deserve.

The world knows of 7 happy hormones, adrenaline, endocannabinoids, endorphin, dopamine, GABA, oxytocin and serotonin...but it is believed there are hundreds more still yet to discover!

ADRENALIN (the energy molecule)

This is the fight or flight hormone and is produced in the adrenal gland. If you are continually putting yourself in a stressful situation you will increase this hormone, this is ok for short periods to get you out of danger but long term stress will cause anxiety, depression, heart disease and weight gain. Are you under stress? Limit your exposure to stress....change your lifestyle if you have too! And finally laugh really does decrease our stress levels!!

ENDOCANNABINOID (the bliss molecule)

These can be found worn on the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors in the body and can alter state of consciousness and perception in people. There have been over 85 found in the cannabis plant.

Natural highs can be obtained from some forms of exercise including running. Scientists are still trying to understand these molecules and how they may relate to "runners high".....but don't doubt it for now, go do some exercise! You may get that natural high but even if you don't you will be a lot fitter, a lot healthier.

ENDORPHIN (the pain-killing molecule)

These are produced by the pituitary gland. When our bodies are in high physical demand like when we participate in exercise or sex we produce endorphins. There is also some evidence that suggests acupuncture produces endorphins too. A lack of endorphin will cause a multiple of complexes including chronic pain in the back and neck, migraines, light and noise sensitivity, emotionally sensitive, food and alcohol cravings and feeling depressed. So if sex is not a choice or not possible get your running shoes on and if that's not possible find some form of exercise that is!

DOPAMINE (the reward molecule)

Dopamine relates strongly to the personality trait either the extrovert or the introvert. Higher amounts are found in extroverts and they tend to be the go getters were as there is less in the introvert and they tend to be more cautious and calculating. Dopamine can be an addictive reward to pleasure seekers and you will often find the thrill seekers continually chasing their next thrill.

It is also responsible for memory, motivation, attention and regulating our body movements.

GABA (the calming molecule)

GABA slows down the neuron firing mechanism and allows you to calm down. It is proved that if you do regular meditating or regular yoga it will increase GABA allowing you to stay away from the sedatives. This amino acid is great for producing a relaxed state, reducing stress, balancing moods, alleviating pain and helps with sleep.

OXYTOCIN (The bonding molecule)

This hormone is great for our sense of trust and loyalty. Give someone a hug for more than a few seconds and you will be giving them the gift of oxytocin! If there isn't enough"hugging" in a relationship there will be reduced levels of oxytocin and the longing to re-connect will increase...this may cause relationship issues.

Skin to skin contact is known to give a positive sense of being to newborn babies and we see this encouraged more and more in our maternity suites. Intimacy, skin to skin contact and affection are all hugely important for our happiness right from day one!

One of the biggest culprits of our lack of oxytocin these days is our digital world, this prevents us from releasing oxytocin so it is important to move away from your technology regularly and place yourself amongst people and have real face to face contact.

SEROTONIN (the happy molecule)

Serotonin effects our body's in many ways and effects our sense of belonging and our confidence. To increase your serotonin you need to increase your sense of purpose, this will require you to challenge yourself on a regular basis.

Serotonin also helps regulate your sleep patterns, your body's internal body clock and manages your sexual desires.

Having a deficiency in any of these hormones will have a negative impact on our emotional state. To make sure you are getting enough of these essential well, sleep well, laugh, engage in conversation, give and receive hugs, get physically active whether that's sex or exercise, its all good for you! Go outside and enjoy the sunshine, listen to great music, get off your technology, drink water (drink the odd glass of alcohol), challenge yourself....and most of all AVOID STRESS!!

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