Take Control of Your Happiness

Our guest author is Anthony Khow from The Banana Tree Log.  Anthony is a 30 year old Canadian who has experienced various levels of anxiety throughout his life and he wants to share his experiences of living with and combating anxiety.

Make Happiness a Choice with the Happiness Chemicals

Happiness is something all of us strive for in life. Learning how to leverage the happiness chemicals to improve your overall mental and physical wellbeing is important to gaining sustainable happiness.

Understanding Happiness

Happiness plays an important role in our lives. Before you can improve your happiness, understanding what it is and how it affects you is important.

What is Happiness

Happiness is the combination of feelings of pleasure, contentment, satisfaction with one’s current life situation and how good you feel daily. It is characterized as a mental state of feeling positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, hope and love.

How Happiness Affects You

Happiness can affect you in many positive ways including improving your mental and physical wellbeing such as:

  • improves physical health
  • boost your immune system
  • combats disease and disability
  • reduces aches and pains
  • extends life expectancy
  • helps combat stress
  • promotes optimism and positivity

Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a choice you can make based on your actions. Focus on actions that are in your control and choose to engage in positive experiences that make you feel good.  40% of our happiness is determined by our thoughts, actions and behaviour which is in our control. Focus on the things that you can control in life and you can choose to be happy. Only 10% of life circumstances affect our happiness. We get used to our circumstances over time so it doesn’t have as big as an impact. It is better to have steady levels of moderate happiness over a period of time than spikes of extreme happiness.

How to control your happiness

The most effective way to control your happiness is by focusing on the actions you can control in your life. This is achieved by tapping into what is known as the happiness chemicals. There are four happiness chemicals that make you feel good during a positive experience, this is known as DOSE: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin & Endorphin. Each chemical has a different job to do when your brain is releasing one of the happiness chemicals.


Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It motivates you to learn something new, accomplish goals, desires and needs. When you achieve those goals or accomplish something you receive a surge of pleasure. Lack of dopamine can result in procrastination, lack of motivation, low energy, inability to focus and feeling hopeless.


Oxytocin is known as the cuddle hormone. It plays an important role in bonding and relationships. This chemical gives a feeling of trust and motivates you to build and sustain intimate relationships.  Low levels of oxytocin can result in feelings of loneliness, increased stress, lack of enthusiasm or energy, reduced empathy and insomnia.


Serotonin is the good feeling you get when you feel significant or important. When you receive social recognition from peers, serotonin is released. It also helps regulate mood, digestion, sleep and memory.  Lack of serotonin can result in low self-esteem, being overly sensitive or emotional, mood swings, feeling hopeless and insomnia.


Endorphins are a brief euphoria released to mask physical pain. It is a survival response triggered under distress of pain or extreme stress.  Deficiency in endorphins can result in increased stress, aches and pains, depression and anxiety, impulsive behaviour and insomnia.

Get your daily DOSE of Happiness Chemicals

It is important to remember that happiness is a choice. Not everyone gets enough of each of the happiness chemicals. Therefore, you can naturally increase your happiness by “getting your daily DOSE of the happiness chemicals.”

Increase Dopamine Naturally
  • exercise regularly
  • meditate
  • make a daily to-do list and tick them off when they’re complete
  • eat foods rich in Tyrosine
  • get a massage
  • engage in a hobby
Increase Oxytocin Naturally
  • physical touch such as cuddling, hugging, shaking hands and even eye contact
  • touching your pet
  • get a massage
  • socializing with friends and family such as having a meal together
  • soak in a hot tub
  • practice yoga
Increase Serotonin Naturally
  • exercise regularly
  • take cold showers
  • get some sunshine
  • get a massage stay hydrated
  • eating foods such as bananas, eggs, cheese, salmon, nuts and tofu
Increase Endorphins Naturally
  • exercise or stretching
  • interval training
  • eating dark chocolate or spicy foods
  • laugher and crying
  • get a massage
  • meditate

Train yourself to be happy and get your daily DOSE of happiness chemicals. Identify activities for each happiness chemical and incorporate these activities into your daily life.  Download a copy of the happiness chemicals infographic and get your daily DOSE of the happiness chemicals today.