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How to Feel Happier in Minutes: 15 Ways to Naturally Boost Endorphins & Serotonin in Your Brain 

How to Feel Happier in Minutes: 15 Ways to Naturally Boost Endorphins & Serotonin in Your Brain 

Happiness Solution: Spike Your Thalamic GABA levels

Feel like a glass of wine at the end of a hard day to reduce stress and relieve anxiety?

Roll out your yoga mat to produce an even better chemical reaction in your brain and body.

Sure, you’ve heard it before. Yoga will do everything from improving your sex life to improving your ability to focus. You know that yoga will lower your stress levels and relieve anxiety while boosting your well-being. 

You’re keen to try this yoga thing after work. 

It’s just that you're exhausted. The kids are hungry. You’re overwhelmed. Your willpower was used up hours ago at work and it’s unavailable to pull you to a yoga studio.

What if I told you that after just 30 days, you can get your brain and body addicted to yoga so you start craving a yoga vinyasa flow session instead of that beer?

Doubtful? Well did you know that there is a positive correlation between practicing yoga and an increase in thalamic GABA levels in your brain?

Scientists discovered in a clinical trial that yoga worked better than walking over 12 weeks to boost mood, and well-being and lower anxiety than walking. The combination of breath work and movement in yoga increases GABA levels, which bind to receptors to produce an effect similar to how you feel after drinking a glass of wine. Yet unlike the glass of wine, the positive effect continues for hours after a yoga session.

To earn yourself a natural boost in calming chemicals, grab your yoga mat instead of that bottle of wine and turn on one of the free yoga classes available on YouTube, like a favorite of mine: Yoga with Tim.

Are you yearning to amplify your happiness and well-being? Follow a 30-Day Yoga challenge to reap the many rewards of yoga.

Arms Wide Open to Bring the Joy

Throw those arms wide open and get ready to get and give eight hugs a day. Hugs release the hormone oxytocin, which functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain. 

Hold off on hugging it out with your arch-rival or that energy vampire just yet. 

You’ll experience a boost in mood and well-being if you hug and are hugged by someone you like and trust. 

Light Up Your Joy

Ever notice how everyone is more cheerful on a sunny day? 

I’m sure it doesn’t it surprise you that studies correlate the amount of time spent outside with cheerfulness and positive emotions. Instinctively, we understand the power of the sun to infuse our lives with happiness.

So why do most of us spend up to 90% of our lives inside?

Walk outside during your morning break and over lunchtime and let the power of the sun stimulate your serotonin production and boost your levels of vitamin D. 

Making a conscious effort to step outside several times each day, even if it’s just for one to two minutes at a time, can increase your well-being and lower your stress and anxiety.

Invest in a sun lamp to mimic the natural sunlight in the winter months. Just ten minutes in front of the map can recharge you in a better mood.

Happy Everyday: Break it Down. List it Out. Celebrate.

Do you have some stretch goals set for the upcoming months and years? 

Happy high performers are proactive in shaping their lives. They envision where they want to go with their lives and what they need to do to make the life they imagine a reality. 

Setting goals is one part of the solution. To charge your life with more happiness and success, you have two more steps to go.

First, break down the goals into steps and actions on a year, month, week, and daily level. List out the activities you’ll need to do each day to reach your goals. As you finish your mini-finish lines on the path to your big goal, take time to check them off the list and celebrate your small wins.

Each time you meet your daily, weekly, and monthly goals, a pause and a mini-reward celebration will give you a kick of dopamine. Small, regular kicks of dopamine can give you the energy and positive reinforcement to continue forward toward achieving big goals.

Dopamine is our feel-good motivation fuel. A surge of dopamine gives us the desire and will to continue toward the far-off finish line. 

Imagine John set a goal of doing the design and planting involved in the new landscaping of their garden. Instead of celebrating when the garden is complete, he should break down the project it monthly and weekly actions and then list out the daily, weekly, and monthly goals. A mini-finish line reward can be enjoyed along the way towards the final garden completion. 

You Shouldn’t Have! The Happy Surprise

Receiving and gifting a gift releases dopamine in the brain. So start giving gifts regularly to experience regular kicks of this feel-good chemical. 

You don’t need to spend much to gain the benefits of giving. Gifting homemade presents such as bread, jams, homemade granola bars or treats, and personally created gift cards make beautiful presents.

Reflect on Feel the Happy Rush

When was the last time you took time to reflect and write down a list of your accomplishments? No, I’m not talking about updating your resume. I mean thinking about and writing down what you are proud of accomplishing in your life. This could be anything from climbing Mount Everest to having helped a family member or friend through a hard time. Feeling proud will trigger the release of dopamine and sky-rocket your mood

Gift Time, Money, or Love

Are you feeling down, or low on self-belief or value? It’s time to volunteer for a few hours, give a donation to a cause you believe in, or send out some love in the form of words of thankfulness, inspiration, or motivation to people in your life. You’ll experience an increase in the production of dopamine.

Laugh to Feel Happier

Skyrocket your happiness by seeking out laughter. Go to a comedy show, turn on a laughter-inducing comedy show or movie, or laugh with friends or family to release endorphins.

Gratitude to Rocket Up Happiness

Write down a list of everything for which you are truly thankful. You will release serotonin in the brain and increase your well-being.

Fast, Slow, Repeat

Few solutions will work better to radically improve your mood than a session of interval training. Whether running, in the pool, on a bike, or in a boat rowing, alternating bursts of sprinting and effort with slower-paced recovery will ramp up your production of endorphins and leave you sweaty, but with a happy glow.

OM so Happy

Meditation can increase your well-being and your happiness. For best results for your happiness level, try committing to 10 minutes each day. 

Give it Up to Launch Yourself to Happy

A clear, clean, but cozy space gives people a feeling of well-being.

Try simplifying and de-cluttering your life to experience more happiness. Most people are unknowingly weighed down by their list of chores, clutter, and obligations. 

Take out a garbage bag and toss out not only unloved or used items but also resented or hated social obligations. Commit to a minimalist lifestyle to open up more space and freedom to fill with new experiences, beloved people, passions, and hobbies.

Move It to Happiness

Get up and move throughout your day to recharge your body with energy. Add some heart-opening yoga postures into your day to open up through the chest and feel an instant uplift in energy and happiness. 

The Power of Touch to Uplift

A massage and acupuncture increase the release of endorphins in the body. So go out for a massage, invest time in self-massage, or seek out a foot, hand, or back massage from someone who loves you.

Happy-Full: Natural Mood Enhancing Foods

You know that eating a whole-food diet comprised of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and lots of pure water will increase your health, vitality, and happiness. 

You also know that processed foods and sugar cause inflammation and increase your risk of a long list of chronic diseases. 

The trouble is when you are standing in front of an ice cream stand, or a birthday cake, or a pile of French fries. Your body is swearing to you that the sugar and fat will make you happy. And it does, at the moment, until your sugar crash shortly afterward.

There is nothing wrong with you if you can’t stop yourself from eating those sugar-filled and fatty foods. Stress, digestion bacterial and parasitic invasions, and trauma can force your hand to reach out for unhealthy foods. 

Write down this list of endorphin-boosting foods as a go-to replacement for the sugar or fatty foods your body and mind usually scream that they want.

Chia Seeds & Flax Seeds

High in omega-3 fatty acids, a teaspoon of chia and flax seeds is high in vitamins and minerals and highly beneficial for not only the production of endorphins, but also your digestive, heart, and bone health, and energy. 

70% Dark Chocolate 

Cacao stimulates the release of endorphins and the neurotransmitter serotonin. 


Walnuts are rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and also contain many minerals, such as magnesium, iron, and potassium. 

Vanilla Bean

Vanilla beans can increase the functioning of your neurotransmitters, reduce your feelings of anxiety, and are high in B vitamins. 


Spice up your food to increase your endorphins. Chili peppers have especially high levels of capsaicin, a substance that triggers endorphin release.


Avocados have choline, which facilitates an increase in dopamine and serotonin levels.


The betaine in beetroot triggers the production of dopamine. One of the top ten vegetables highest in antioxidants, beetroot will boost your production of immune-boosting white blood cells and is the juice athletes drink for more stamina.

Kale, Spinach, Rocket, Broccoli

B Vitamins are essential for the production of serotonin, but stress depletes our bodies of this essential vitamin. Increase your consumption of kale, spinach, rocket, and other leafy greens to support the production and functioning of serotonin and dopamine.


Add 1 teaspoon of chia and flaxseeds (ground) to your oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, or muesli to increase your happiness by encouraging the production of endorphins.


Are you craving something sweet every time you have a coffee break? Eating two to five walnuts with a small piece of dark chocolate will satisfy your need for a treat and boost your mood. Extra joy tip: Grind some vanilla beans into your unsweetened latte or your black coffee.


Add kale, spinach, avocado, and beetroot to your salad. Eat wild salmon, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids and wholegrain.


Wholegrain pasta with a spicy tomato sauce will boost your production of endorphins

  1. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Nov;16(11):1145-52. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0007. Epub 2010 Aug 19. 3. [PubMed]

  2. Mandolesi, L., Polverino, A., Montuori, S., Foti, F., Ferraioli, G., Sorrentino, P., & Sorrentino, G. (2018). Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits. Frontiers in Psychology9, 509.

  3.  [PubMed] 

  4.  Weinberg R. S., Gould D. (2015). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology, 6th Edn.Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

  5. Fernandes J., Arida R. M., Gomez-Pinilla F. (2017). Physical exercise as an epigenetic modulator of brain plasticity and cognition. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 80, 443–456. 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.06.012 [PubMed]

  6. Farioli-Vecchioli S., Sacchetti S., di Robilant N. V., Cutuli D. (2018). The role of physical exercise and omega-3 fatty acids in depressive illness in the elderly. Curr. Neuropharmacol. 16, 308–326. [PubMed]

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