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Chemistry Of Our Wellness

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Do you wake up with a smile or a frown? A smile helps release chemicals called feel-good hormones (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins) in our bodies. A frown releases stress hormones or cortisol. Our thoughts, words, or actions produce a biochemical response in our bodies called hormones. Hormones carry messages throughout our bodies. A feel-good hormone carries an 'All is Well' message and a stress hormone carries an 'Alert!!!' message. Our bodies get prepared accordingly to take on the day.

What are the words that you most commonly use? How you correct your kids and speak with friends or colleagues can give you an idea. Take a pause and write a few of them down. A study shows that across age groups, people use 50% negative words, 30% positive and 20% neutral words. Words like, 'I'm proud of you.' 'Good Job!' 'You can do it!' help release happy hormones and make both speaking and receiving feel good. Validating others helps us learn how to validate ourselves, and being able to validate ourselves strengthens us.

Balance Of emotions

We are our inner pharmacists. We can learn to regulate our inner pharmacy for wellness. The busy life we live sometimes makes us take things for granted. We all get our share of small joys during the day, e.g., getting up healthy, having your first sip of morning tea or coffee, freshness after a bath, getting green lights at signals, the right song playing on the radio, reaching your workplace on time, a compliment, a cool breeze, a good laugh, a healthy tasty plate of food, etc. If we could take a moment and acknowledge these small joys, the feel-good hormones would get their trigger and would get released, producing feelings of happiness and joy.

Similarly, we secrete stress hormones when we are upset, stressed, or angry. The primary job of cortisol is to protect us. If the stressor is temporary or short-lived, such as an interview, exam, or presentation, cortisol helps by temporarily boosting energy in the body. Our body perceives stress as a threat, and cortisol released provides energy to fight or flee. It's not always brave to fight a situation. Many times, a flight is our best bet. E.g., if someone is pointing a gun at me, cortisol tells me to fly from there. If I try fighting or changing my chemistry, I might not survive to secrete any hormones ;) Also, flight often works better than fighting when arguing with your spouse :)

If stressors are long-lasting, such as a grudge, regret, shame or guilt, the cortisol curbs the body's functions, which would be nonessential. Our immune system starts shutting down to conserve energy, making it easy for germs to settle in our bodies. A balance of cortisol is needed to help us in stressful situations. We imbalance these hormones when we feel doubtful, worried, stressed, guilty, angry, jealous or hateful for longer and don't do much to change that. The effects are visible in weight gain, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, gastrointestinal upset, headaches, blood pressure problems, heart issues, hair fall, reproductive issues, sleep difficulties etc. Each of us responds differently to prolonged stress.

All emotions are valid.

Feeling good is not always possible. Feeling sad or frustrated for a short duration is normal and not the biggest problem, but refusing to accept these emotions create much more suffering. If you had shed a tear or two when you needed to have a good cry or had analysed the situation, poured your thoughts on paper and introspected or spoken to someone trustworthy while undergoing difficult emotions, you wouldn't be disturbing the cortisol balance in your bodies.

Our emotions are informants, showing us what we care about and what needs our attention. Being happy, calm, relaxed, and peaceful help release happy hormones. Handling our challenges becomes easier if we practice being calm. We are the most productive when we are relaxed and calm. When we are willing to accept our emotions, we find the light. If we try to run away from them or pretend it doesn't exist is when we start piling up.

What should you not do to imbalance the chemistry of your body:

  • Self-Sabotage

  • Overuse of social media

  • Ignoring your mental well-being

  • Ruminating over what people say

  • Escaping a difficult situation rather than facing it

You can do some simple activities listed below to boost happy hormones naturally—

• Healthy self-talk • Helping someone

• Meditation • Exercising

• Bonding • Music

• Food • Friends

• Laughter • Pet a dog

• Quality sleep • Organised journaling

• Kindness for self & others • Walk in the morning Sunlight

It's a good idea to talk with a life coach or a therapist if you have difficulty regulating your emotions. Remember, all emotions are valid. It's necessary to give attention to your emotions and deal with them in a healthy manner.

Each day is a chance to rewrite your story; each moment is the first moment to set the pace for the rest of your life. So, wake up with a smile and gratitude to set the pace for the day.

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