Televisions. Tablets. Mobile Phones. Digital Gaming. Computers…we live in a world where we are so digitally connected at the expense of socially connecting – no, not social media connecting but physically connecting, interacting and engaging with each other. Do you remember the days you used to fly a kite, or play with marbles, or ride your BMX bicycle down the road? Do you think your child will look back one day and relate to memories on the couch with dad, watching his/her iPad? Let’s have a look at how to trigger happiness by being active.
Firstly, did you know that there are brain chemicals associated with the feeling of happiness? I’m not going to make this a psychology lesson and go into the details of neurochemicals, hormones, opioid neuropeptides, and neurotransmitters, etc. Instead, will keep it simple as we take a closer look at how you can induce the following four chemicals to trigger happiness by being active.
Endorphins are feel-good hormones. Released by the central nervous system, they help us to deal with pain and stress, acts similar to drugs like morphine and codeine. What this basically means is that endorphins interact with the receptors in our brain which then reduces our perception of pain, resulting in feelings of euphoria and wellbeing.
Endorphins are released during physical exercise, sexual intercourse and smiling. There are certain smells, foods and also massages, acupuncture, hot baths, etc. that are associated with an endorphin boost but for this post, we are looking at being active.
Things you can do as a family to increase the release of endorphins:
- Play hide and seek
- Swimming together
- Skipping, Running, Walking
- Jumping on a trampoline
- Riding bicycles together
- Playing in a park
- Play Volleyball
Those are just a few, find out what you and your family love doing and make time to do that together.
Serotonin is a brain chemical which influences the mood. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression, digestive problems, low sexual desire, sleep challenges, and even social behaviour. Serotonin, therefore, regulates the mood. It’s probably the best known “happiness chemical” as it is primarily addressed by antidepressants. There are many drugs that help to alter the mood by boosting serotonin levels but you can boost your serotonin naturally by;
- Following the light – yes – sunlight boosts serotonin levels and positively affects the mood. So less time on the couch and more time enjoying the sunlight
- Aerobic exercises like running or biking
Dopamine is known as the neurotransmitter of chemical reward. When you accomplish a goal or a task, dopamine in the brain is telling you that you’ve done well. Volunteering or other acts of kindness also triggers that dopamine high.
As a family, you can do some volunteer work, e.g. visit a children’s home and play soccer, netball or other games with them. You’re keeping active, you’re being involved in an act of kindness and it will feel rewarding, creating that dopamine high.
When your child is playing soccer, volleyball or any other game, celebrate their success with cheers in excitement.
Oxytocin is sometimes known as the “love” or “cuddle” hormone as it’s released when people bond – creating that warm, fuzzy feeling. People whose love language is physical touch will have a great need for a higher level of Oxytocin. This means, that whether you’re acting as a parent or spouse if your child or spouse has a need for that feeling of affection, it’s important to give them hugs and snuggles.
You can do this by playing outside – a simple “catching” game, where you run after each other and catch the person and give them a hug or rolling on the grass together. You can even cuddle with the fluffy members of the family.
Mummy’s and daddies, you should note that kissing, foreplay, and orgasm also induces Oxytocin – hence known as the love hormone. Mummy’s and daddies that are in a happy mood, naturally create a positive surrounding for the rest of their family.
WIth the increasingly stressful lives we lead, it’s peace of mind to know that we can take accountability to trigger these chemicals without the use of medication, to live better quality lives.
With summer holidays that are already here, getting active as a family is not only fun and entertaining but important for the family’s health. Here are a few benefits for getting active as a family:
- It helps both parents and children develop emotionally as they spend quality time together
- It helps create positive healthy connections between parents and children
- Introducing the importance of exercise and a healthy lifestyle to children at an early age contributes to them having a positive attitude towards exercise throughout their life.
- It allows you to set goals together as a family and achieve those goals together. Celebrating milestones together also allows for better bonding and closeness as a family.
Whether you’re rolling on the sand, splashing in the waves or holding hands and dancing in the rain, it’s important to clean up afterward as personal hygiene is important to kill any germs to avoid potential infections. Not sure if you’re aware, but for those of you who use soap, Dettol has launched the new improved profresh range soaps.
With germ and odour protection, Dettol profresh ensures that you and your family are protected from 100 illness-causing germs, giving parents the assurance that their kids are protected whilst enjoying an active lifestyle.
There are so many incidents of children and adults, becoming sick due to picking up infections by simply being active, now you can take a precautionary measure to fight off those germs with Dettol profresh whilst being active to trigger a happy lifestyle.
Now that you know which hormones trigger happiness, I encourage you to think of ways to spend quality time with your family by inducing these hormones to create a better quality life. Most importantly, have fun and don’t forget to smile or even laugh whilst doing so.