Meet Your Happy Chemicals – Loretta Graziano Breuning [Book Summary]

by Nick

“Meet Your Happy Chemicals” answers the following questions:

  • How to learn to manage your condition and live a happy life? 
  • Why does moving toward a goal bring more happiness than achieving it? 
  • Why do tears help cheer up?

The moment we feel great, the brain receives “hormones of happiness”.

But then the level of these hormones decreases. So we experience the ebbs and flows of energy and mood.

The main task of our brain is to take care of survival. Based on life experience, he builds neural connections, which determine our unconscious reactions.

The book author says we can form neural connections ourselves, but we must be persistent and learn how to manage our condition.

In the following insights, you will learn how to create new habits for the development of “hormones of happiness”: dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin, and serotonin.

“By creating one such habit, you will be so impressed with your power over the brain that you will definitely want to create others.” Loretta Breining

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#1. Dopamine

It motivates us to achieve goals. It signals the brain when the desired target is within reach and associates efforts with reward. Dopamine is produced when the next step is reached on the way to our goal.

It is the expectation of reward that stimulates the production of dopamine.

For example, a marathon runner who sees the finish line feels the joy of a rush of dopamine.

Or Thomas Edison for many years experimented with alloys for days to reduce the cost of incandescent filaments and to make the bulb familiar to us accessible.

How to create new habits for dopamine?

  • “Move to a new goal in small steps.” Spend at least 10 minutes a day on specific activities to achieve your goal.
  • Do not try to solve big problems or unpleasant tasks right away. Choose the most unpleasant of them, divide into stages and proceed to action.
  • “Success cannot be too small.” Remember that the pleasure of big victories does not last long. Therefore, find joy in small victories on the way to the goal.
  • “Adjust the height of the bar by yourself.” The goal should be ambitious, but at the same time feasible.

#2. Endorphin

This is a natural “painkiller”. Endorphin allows us to ignore physical pain. For example, if a person fell and abruptly got to his feet, he thinks that everything is in order with him. But in fact, he can be seriously injured.

The release of endorphins allows a wounded animal to save its life and escape from a predator.

But we can get small tides of endorphin after a lot of physical exertion, or after a sincere laugh, or crying.

How to create new habits for the production of endorphins?

  • Laughter is a remedy for fear. Comedians often touch piquant or difficult situations. Laughter makes things easier. Find what makes you laugh and laugh with pleasure.
  • Crying is the main innate survival skill of babies just born.” When necessary, give vent to tears – this will bring relief.
  • Go to the gym, do stretching exercises. Endorphin is actively produced during exercise. You can stretch at home while watching your favorite series, to music or to your favorite audiobook.

#3. Oxytocin

It gives a feeling of comfort in society. Safety is easier to provide in a group, so oxytocin motivates to show confidence in others. After all, his task is our survival.

How to create new habits for the production of oxytocin?

  • Building trust between people is not an easy task. Friends on social networks or pets are good substitutes, as the risk of disappointment is clearly less. The positive from communicating with them will counterbalance the possible negative that can come from personal relationships.
  • Be worthy of the trust placed in you and carefully follow the agreements. When you are trusted, you are also exposed to oxytocin.
  • Practice the saying “trust, but verify.” To expand the circle of people you trust, you need to create relationships with new people. Create your own trust verification system and monitor the results. For example, you can keep track of how people relate to promises and agreements.
  • If you have lost confidence in someone, but want to fix it – take daily small steps to restore it. They should be comfortable for you. For example, to restore contact with a neighbor, you can simply exchange views with him first. At the next meeting – smile. Then say a short remark about the weather. Yes, this is not an easy job, but it will bring you the desired feeling of comfort.
  • Sign up for massage sessions, it also stimulates the production of oxytocin.

#4. Serotonin

It forms a sense of self-worth and brings pleasure from the recognition of others. Hence our need for leadership and victory.

How to create new habits for the production of serotonin?

  • “Be proud of what you did. In order not to depend on the opinions of others, it is extremely important to be able to feel pride in our own achievements. Indeed, many of those whom we today admire during life did not receive well-deserved recognition. However, the stubbornly continued to do their job.
  • Celebrate for yourself every occasion when people follow your example. You will start to develop serotonin, and you will not have to impose your will on people or criticize them unnecessarily.
  • Your social status is constantly changing. In one situation, you can be a leader, and in another – a novice. Therefore, instead of focusing on your experiences, it is better to find the benefits of any of your social status.
  • Our brain loves control, but the world is too unpredictable. Therefore, learn to experience comfort, even if you can not control the situation.
    For example, we are all used to keeping track of time. Try to start a new business and not keep track of time. Finish exactly when you are done. Allow yourself some part of the day when you can act without a plan. You can even set aside certain days when you can wake up without an alarm clock and do your usual business without looking at your watch.

The Main Idea

Our brain has one task – to take care of survival, so it rewards us with the release of “hormones of happiness” when we do something in this direction.

  • Dopamine – motivates to achieve.
  • Endorphin – helps to ignore physical pain.
  • Oxytocin – motivates to build social connections.
  • Serotonin – motivates to earn respect.

Be persistent, form habits that will bring joy, and learn to manage your condition.

Why You Should Read “Meet Your Happy Chemicals”

  • To understand how your brain operates
  • To find out how you can use the information about “the happy hormones” to improve your life
  • To reduce stress, become positive, and stay cheerful

This book is available as: