Happy International Day of Happiness! Yes, it’s a real thing – in fact, it’s been observed by the United Nations since 2013. Today celebrates happiness all over the world as a reminder of just how important it is to humanity. We definitely agree that happiness and wellbeing should be universal goals and aspirations in our own lives.

Happiness is subjective – we all find happiness in different things, but the chemicals in our brains play a big part in these feelings and sensations. To understand how these happy hormones work, we asked Docere – a project started by two friendly neighbourhood doctors to empower the public with health information, debunk myths and misconceptions, and try to help us understand our bodies. Here’s what we found out:

 

What are happy hormones?

The chemicals in our brain that activates positive feelings, including happiness and pleasure. 

 

What are the different kinds of happy hormones?

The 4 primary hormones that affect our happiness are:

Dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that works hand-in-hand with our brain’s reward system. It is associated with the pleasurable sensations that come from learning, completing small tasks, starting a new habit and more.

 

This hormone and neurotransmitter aids in regulating our mood, sleep, appetite, digestion, learning ability and memory. It also boosts our self-esteem by providing us with a strong, positive sense of accomplishment and recognition.

 

Oxytocin is the feeling behind familial bonds, friendships and romantic relationships. It promotes trust, empathy and bonding in relationships, and generally increases during physical affection, like kissing, cuddling, and sex. 

 

As a response to stress or anxiety, our body produces endorphins to help relieve the pain and discomfort. These levels also tend to increase when engaging in physical activities, such as eating, working out or laughing.

 

How can we increase these hormone levels?

With health, it is not about overloading yourself with supposedly good nutrients or hormones. It is all about maintaining equilibrium and finding a balance. For instance, carbohydrates are a good source of nutrients, but too much exposure and chronic use can lead to diabetes. 

 

Instead, how can we optimise the exposure to these hormones so we are at our best selves?

A useful framework would be to take care of your physical, mental health and social life. Make sure you are exposed to adequate sunlight, eating a balanced diet with appropriate macro and micronutrients, getting enough sleep and exercising. These are some of the methods that would ensure you’re at your optimum self. 

 

You can follow Docere on Instagram to learn more about topics, such as mental and sexual health.

Have you ever found yourself wondering why you keep attracting the wrong people? Are you the type who struggles to stay single or does the thought of commitment make you want to crack open a window for some air? These traits actually stem from your relationship attachment style.

Our attachment styles go way back to our first long-term relationship – the emotional bond we develop (or are deprived of) with our parents and caregivers. We’ve all been raised differently, depending on the attachment styles of those who raised us and the way they addressed our emotional needs. These early experiences of emotional relationships influence the way we view love and relate to others. It forms the attachment styles we carry into adulthood and express in both romantic and platonic relationships.

According to research based on John Bowlby’s attachment theory, there are four general relationship attachment styles:

Confident in their relationship and their partner, someone with a secure attachment style is not afraid to reciprocate love. They are trusting, trustworthy, and are able to communicate their feelings as a response instead of a reaction.

Those with an anxious attachment style are codependent, requiring constant attention and reassurance from their partners. They fear being alone and struggle with setting or respecting boundaries.

Individuals with an avoidant attachment style are independent and self-reliant, downplaying the importance of relationships. They are emotionally-distant and tend to isolate themselves during conflict.

A combination of anxious and avoidant, someone with a fearful attachment style craves intimacy but fears rejection. In turn, they send mixed signals by pushing their partners away while still wanting a connection.

Don’t feel bad about having an insecure attachment style – if it was caused by trauma, please remember that it is not your fault. By understanding your attachment style, or your partner’s, you’ll be able to start healing by actively changing the way you approach love and relationships. It’s not going to be easy, but a healthy attachment style can help you build more positive relationships with yourself and others.