How to find the happy chemicals inside your brain!
Many of us are fortunate in that we have always been naturally happy and positive. However, many people are not. So, why is it that some people are always a glass half full person when others around them are not? Instead, why are some people always a glass half empty person - negative, and sad - when others always seem to be so very happy with their lot in life? And on a more serious level, why are some people suicidal, or suffer from anxiety, PTSD, trauma, or depression?
Clinical hypnotherapy allows us to look at this in greater detail and to make the necessary changes if we want to be happier in life.
Neuroscience and neurochemistry show us how we can train our brain, learn how to reprogramme our brains easily, and train our brains to make us happier, and to be happier every day, day in day out.
We can do this on a scientific level, using biochemistry - our brain chemistry - with our very own chemistry set which already exists inside our heads! We don’t need anything outside of us to do this. We can simply tap into the inside of our own heads to do it.
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system, and neurochemistry is the study of chemicals that control and influence the physiology of the nervous system.
We have two brain systems - the limbic system and the cortex.
The limbic system is a network of structures located below the cerebral cortex. It is associated with motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. The limbic system is composed of four main parts - the hypothalamus, the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus. Stimulation of the limbic system can also trigger emotional behaviour, such as aggression.
The cortex is the outer layer of the neural tissue of the cerebrum of the brain. The cerebral cortex is made of up highly packed neurons and is responsible for higher thought processes, including thinking, perceiving, sensation, memory, speech, and decision-making. It is the most important part of the brain because it is what makes us human.
Your brain releases 'happy chemicals' which reward you with good feelings when you do something which your brain recognises or associates an action as something good for your survival. There are four main 'happy chemicals'; these are endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.
The pain-masking chemical linked to pain perception. Endorphins are opioid neuropeptides and peptide hormones. There are at least 20 types of endorphins in the body. Such neurotransmitters transmit electrical signals across synapses within the nervous system, and they are linked to euphoria and determination. It promotes well-being and evolved for our survival. Laughing, crying, exercising (the runner’s high), and stretching all release this chemical. As does eating chilli peppers, chocolate, having a massage, and having sex. Endorphins are similar to opiate drugs such as morphine, but are in fact much stronger. The hypnothalamus requests the release of these hormones which have an analgesic effect in the body. Endorphins relieve pain and stress, and boost happiness.
The goal-achieving chemical; a neurotransmitter. Dopamine releases energy to help us achieve what we want in life. It is based on motivation - it is what motivates us. It is not only for the high-achievers in the world though, as we all have it! It is linked to the anticipation of happiness, rather than the actual feeling of happiness per se. It is linked to reward-motivated behaviour; thus, it is heavily linked to addictions. The dopamine released during a kiss has the same effect on the brain as taking heroin or cocaine. Moreover, Parkinson’s disease is one illness associated with a deficit in dopamine.
The leadership chemical; also a neurotransmitter. Serotonin is released when you feel safe and have a good level of self-respect. Ways to increase your levels of serotonin include enjoying being in the moment and where you are, as well as taking pride in your achievements and successes, no matter how big or small they are. Moreover, by learning to surrender control (as we can actually control very little in our lives - life is unpredictable), and learning to react and respond appropriately to life’s events. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression and anxiety, amongst other symptoms. Levels of serotonin can be increased by a healthy diet (including eggs, cheese, salmon, nuts, and seeds), good sleep, Vitamin D, and plenty of sunshine.
The chemical of love. It is responsible for feelings of affection and attachment. It is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus and released by the pituitary gland. It is released when people snuggle up or bond socially, as well as being released during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is associated with trust and belonging. If your trust has been betrayed, you will hold back which can leave you feeling like you don’t belong. One can build up more trust by being trustworthy oneself, having a pet, building rapport and connection, building trust with strangers, or even having a massage. These all stimulate the release of oxytocin.
However, oxytocin can also strengthen negative, painful, or stressful social memories. This is one reason why childhood trauma and painful memories can live long into the future, well after the event itself.
By being more aware of our 'happy chemicals' and how to access them, we are able to increase and elevate them at will, and on-demand, as and when we need them.
Using clinical hypnotherapy, we can reprogramme our unconscious minds to trigger and release these good feelings and chemicals naturally, thus avoiding the need to rely on external triggers such as drugs, medication, or other harmful substances and addictions in order to feel good and happy.
Clinical hypnotherapy allows us to tap into our brains, and to discover and learn how to use these 'happy chemicals' more easily and readily in our everyday lives.