Happy brain chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphin
Here's a simple introduction to the brain chemicals that make us happy. You can rewire yourself to turn them on in new ways. This simple look at our neurochemistry what turns them on in the state of nature, and why they inevitably droop. Ups and downs are natural, but you can build new circuits to enjoy more ups.
Dopamine stops once a need is met,
so you have to keep ﬁnding new rewards to enjoy it
Following the herd is annoying but leaving
the herd for greener pasture feels unsafe
Your mammal brain cares about your status
as if your life depended on it, so a
status threat feels like a survival threat.
Inﬂicting pain on yourself to enjoy
endorphin is a very bad survival strategy
It helps to know that monkeys had
similar frustrations 50 million years ago
What new circuits will you build?
• a short-term goal
• a long-term goal &
• a medium-term goal
so you can always
step toward meeting
a need right now
Build trust in many small steps
all the time
is not a good
Our brain is
designed to build
Enjoy the strengths you have instead of
worrying about the strengths of others
Insisting on the one-up
position is harmful,
but taking the one-down
hurts you too.
It’s not easy to make peace
with your mammal brain.
Find what makes you
laugh and make time
for it, often.
Don’t rush it, fake it,
or expect yourself to
laugh when others do.
It helps to know that your
ups and downs are part of
nature’s operating system
This operating system motivated
our ancestors to do what it takes
It helps to know that frustrating trade-offs
are part of every mammal’s life
•When you step toward
greener pasture (dopamine),
you move away from the safety
of social bonds (oxytocin).
•When you step toward
social importance (serotonin)
you may get disappointment (cortisol)
or a strain on social bonds (oxytocin).
It helps to know that making
tough choices is the job our
brain is designed to do
It helps to know that you can re-wire
yourself to turn on your
happy chemicals in new ways
It’s not easy.
with the gift
The Inner Mammal Institute
has free resources to help
slide shows (incl this)
5-day Happy-Chemical Jumpstart
Habits of a
Retrain your brain to boost
your serotonin, dopamine,
oxytocin and endorphin
a fun step-by-step guide by Dr. Loretta Breuning
$10.23 paper, $9.99 e-book