What Are Happy Hormones And How Can You Activate Them

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Serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins are all well-known as “happy hormones” that promote positive feelings, such as pleasure, happiness, love, and more. According to the Atlas Blog, “hormones and neurotransmitters are involved in lots of essential processes, like heart rate and digestion, but also your mood and feelings. They are the body’s chemical messengers, and some of them are known for their ability to help people bond, feel joy, and experience pleasure.” Understanding what each of the different hormones do for your body can impact on your mental health optimistically and increase your steps in activating them more frequently. If this sounds like something you would like to acquire, then read on as I will go through each happy hormone below.


Dopamine is “notably involved in helping us feel pleasure as part of the brain’s reward system. Sex, shopping, smelling cookies baking in the oven — all these things can trigger dopamine release”. This neurotransmitter is also involved in reinforcement, which is why when we do something that makes us feel good, we come back for more.

Dopamine is involved in the following functions:

  • learning and attention
  • mood
  • movement
  • heart rate
  • kidney function
  • blood vessel function
  • sleep
  • pain processing
  • lactation

Here is how to activate it:

  • Get good sleep
  • Avoid high fat diets
  • Exercise regularly
  • Practice meditation
  • Eat more protein
  • Listen to music
  • Spend time in the sun
  • Follow a healthy diet


This hormone is responsible for boosting your mood, and is a host to a lot of bodily functions and behaviours, such as:

  • memory
  • fear
  • the stress response
  • digestion
  • addiction
  • sexuality
  • sleep
  • breathing
  • body temperature

Here is how to activate it:

  • Complete a workout routine
  • Spend time in the sun
  • Stop bad habits
  • Laugh
  • Complete your daily regime
  • Get enough sleep
  • Walk in nature


Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers; they “are released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in response to pain or stress, this group of peptide hormones both relieves pain and creates a general feeling of well-being”.

Here is how to activate it:

  • Exercise
  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • Have sex
  • Play music
  • Laugh
  • Essential oils
  • Watch a comedy
  • Eat dark chocolate


“Oxytocin is a hormone that’s produced in the hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland. Its main function is to facilitate childbirth.” Oxytocin stimulates the muscles of the uterus to contract and boosts the production of prostaglandins, which also increase uterine contractions. “Women whose labor is slow to proceed are sometimes given oxytocin to speed the process. Once the baby is born, oxytocin helps to move milk from the ducts in the breast to the nipple, and foster a bond between mom and baby.”

Here is how to activate it:

  • Exercising amongst others or in a class
  • Singing or dancing in groups
  • Massages
  • Cuddling and sex
  • Hugging someone
  • Holding hands
  • Giving a compliment
  • Playing with pets or babies