This week’s blog is about the neurotransmitters that are significant for wellbeing, and there are four of them. The acronym is DOSE – like a dose of happiness and a dose of wellbeing.
D is dopamine
O is oxytocin
S is serotonin
E is endorphins
There’s lots of different ways that you can generate dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. But the one thing that all these neurotransmitters have in common, is human touch – I thought that was really interesting. Thinking about human touch helps us to produce dopamine in a really positive way and it allows us to generate feelings of oxytocin.
Dopamine makes you feel really good – it’s basically what’s stimulated to encourage us to repeat those behaviours, and it connects with the reward part of the brain.
Oxytocin (which I spoke about recently) is the love hormone, the bonding and connection neurotransmitter that makes us feel very good about doing something, and it makes us feel connected.
Serotonin is what’s believed to be a mood stabiliser, so it’s good to have high amounts of serotonin in the brain and also in the gut – most of it is in the gut (depending on who you believe). We can eat our way to good serotonin, we can get it from light and light exposure for example.
Endorphins typically is what we think of as exercise related, but there are lots of other ways you can produce endorphins as well.
The thing they all have in common is human touch.
For example, massages are extremely good for both serotonin, but also to a degree, endorphins and dopamine. A massage would also be relevant for oxytocin because it’s about connection, it’s about human contact.
Have a think about the different ways that you get human contact, whether it’s eye contact, or it’s physical touch. And obviously this can be sensual, but that’s not really what I’m getting at, although that is an important aspect of our wellbeing – human contact at a sensual and a sexual level.
Maybe it’s holding somebody’s hand, or maybe it’s shaking someone’s hand, and putting your other hand over that, to solidify that connection. It’s hugging, it’s little bits of touch, little bits of tactile behaviour, obviously appropriately done in the right dynamic!
But remember not to force it if it doesn’t feel comfortable either, and find a way that you can do it which does feel comfortable.
Human contact is so important for wellbeing and I think we’ve fallen off a little bit away from that and been a little reticent to do it – when it makes people feel really good about things.
So have a bit of a think about human contact. How can you put more of that in a way that you’re comfortable with, that the person you are liaising with is comfortable, and see how that makes you feel.
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