By Regina Vogt-Purdon, LISW-S
“I can’t wait for 2020 to be over.” It’s a sentence we’ve been hearing more and more now that this challenging year is coming to and end. People are cautiously hopeful that 2021 will bring about a shift for the better. While we don’t have complete control over what will occur in 2021, we do have the ability to increase our overall sense of joy by boosting our “happiness hormones.” The hormones responsible for happiness are dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. Here are some simple ways to boost these hormone levels:
- Sunlight – Open your windows to let the sun in. Spend time outside in the sun. If you’re not able to get sun the natural way, consider purchasing in a UV lamp.
- Exercise – Find physical activity that you enjoy. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to make it a regular part of your life. Be careful to avoid associating exercise with weight loss, as you may begin fixating on things you want to change about yourself.
- Laughing – Watch a funny show. Share funny stories with friends and family.
- Time with loved ones – Spend time with people you love. If you have a romantic partner, plan a date night.
- Listen to music – Music has the power to improve someone’s mood in an instant. Create a playlist of songs that make you feel good and listen to the playlist regularly.
- Cuddle your pet – Our pets are therapeutic for us!
- Make sleep a priority – People underestimate the importance of sleep. Adequate sleep is necessary for mood regulation.
- Massage – Schedule a massage for yourself. If visiting a licensed massage therapist isn’t in your budget, find a loved one to do the favor.
- Gratitude – Take time each day to think of things for which you are thankful. Write those things down in a place where you can read over them regularly.
- Setting small goals and completing them – Feeling accomplished releases happiness hormones.
- Doing acts of kindness – Pay for the person behind you in the fast food drive-thru line. Give a stranger a compliment. Make dinner for a friend.
- Eat food you love – And do so without distractions so that you can really savor your food.
- Play – Playing isn’t just for children! Go to the playground and swing. Play board games. Spend time with children, who will help keep you lighthearted.