A Dose of Happiness
What triggers a feeling of happiness in you?
Witnessing someone change their opinion about their own ability, because I encouraged them to step out of their comfort zone, is one of my favourite ways to add to my daily dose of happiness.
I haven’t studied the science, but somewhere along the way, I picked up on the suggestion that incorporating a ‘dose’ into your day helps you enjoy life.
It is a science though, and those who have studied it have found four key ingredients to trigger happiness.
The happiness hormones
D – dopamine
O – oxytocin
S – serotonin
E – endorphins
If ‘dose’ isn’t a word that works for you, the other way to remember it is…
Happiness is based on what one DOES.
Happiness is a habit.
This has been in my Twitter profile for a couple of years, since ‘cultivate’ was my ‘word for 2021’. In 2022, my word is ‘embrace’, but that is a story for another day.
Building your routines around activities that produce your daily dose help to make it easy to incorporate.
Bella the yoga dog. Captured by Joy Taylor
Morning exercise creates endorphins, and if running puts you in the zone, then perhaps you will pick up some serotonin from that too. If not, yoga, a swim or a walk in the sunshine will do the same.
Cuddling your kids, partner or puppy (or all of the above) will boost your oxytocin levels, for both of you (win-win).
Finding something funny enough to make you laugh, or smelling certain fragrances can produce endorphins.
For me, it is lemongrass or citrus, so an Asian salad, lighting a candle or adding a lemon wedge to my water bottle does the trick. Dark chocolate works for David.
Maybe all those funny cat videos on youtube do have a purpose…
And then there is dopamine. The reward chemical.
Writing a single, to-do list and crossing things off is a way to know that I have achieved something for the day. This creates a feeling of satisfaction and achievement. Both are dopamine producers.
Eating well, which for me means eating foods that are not processed or over-packaged, and are sourced locally and taste fresh, also boosts my dopamine, as well as helping my body and brain function better.
Journalling at the end of the day is another part of my daily routine (it took quite a while to develop it as a habit), which produces a nice dopamine kick as I prepare to sleep and dream happy dreams.
The big buzz producer for me though, is that which comes from seeing my actions create a positive impact on the life of another person. The more directly, the more dopamine…and, as someone who doesn’t mind recognition, if the outcome is immediately recognised by that person and is followed by a “thank you”…then the effects are off the charts, and usually result in the happiness overflowing and coming out as happy tears.
CoderDojo creates opportunities to learn new skills, build confidence and find new friends. Captured by Joy Taylor.
D.O.S.E. in action
Today, I had two events in my schedule that resulted in a significant amount of dopamine, plus some oxytocin and a boost of endorphins.
The first was encouraging one of our young CoderDojo ninjas to have a go at something new. The process was not without its challenges, but by the end, she was delighted with her efforts, and her pride and satisfaction grew when her younger brother came over to see what she had done.
My satisfaction occurred when she agreed to try at the beginning and overflowed when she suggested to her brother that he should have a go and told him that it wasn’t scary and he could do it. Then, to top it all off…she said “thank you for helping me learn something new”.
The next was a celebration of the achievement of one of our community members, Jeff Schultheiss who began his new startup business, DF Smoke Haus, one year ago.
My dopamine peaked when he took the time to recognise and thank David and me for all that we have done to build a welcoming community for startup founders and create a place where they can meet, share and learn from each other.
The endorphins and oxytocin were in overdrive as I hugged, chatted and laughed with other guests, many of whom were also part of my existing network and others I was meeting for the first time.
Plus, there was plenty of good food to add to the mix as well.
Jeff Schultheiss, founder of DF Smoke Haus and David Masefield, founder of Startup Toowoomba. Captured by Joy Taylor.
How to be happy
As I prepare to depart on our digital nomad adventures, I am aware that I am leaving behind many things that make me happy, such as my family, my dog, my home and my known and trusted community.
However, I know that I have a large extended community around the world through CoderDojo, Techstars Startup Weekends, Climate Reality Project, SheEO and plenty of opportunities to meet new people as I explore a whole world of paths to run on, forests to hike through, beaches to do yoga on, seas to swim in, golf courses to play, coworking spaces to work from, good food to eat, days to journal about.
As we will be house-sitting, I will also have a variety of dogs, cats and other creatures to cuddle and attend to….not to mention, no shortage of tasks to cross off on my to-do list…and so many things to be grateful for.
Getting my daily DOSE of happiness should be no problem whatsoever.
Joy has been working her way around the world with her kids, solo and with her partner for over 20 years. Her motto is ‘travel cheap, travel deep’. She built a green house and tries to live a green life. 35/196
Disclosure: Some of the links on this post will take you through to a page with the option to book an experience or buy an item, others may be to another story or general information. If you do decide to make a purchase at the other end of a link, I may possibly receive a small payment from the company you buy from which helps keep the site operating.
Please do not feel obliged to buy things…always consider if you might be able to borrow it from a friend, or perhaps repurpose something you already own to achieve a similar result.
To date, I have not been paid to write any reviews about places or products, so anything I have mentioned is because I decided to use it. This might change in the future (I hope one day some places in locations I have yet to explore present me with an opportunity!), however, my comments will always reflect my honest opinion of my experience.
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