1. Learn to say "Thank you"
When we thank a person, or even fate, for something, we focus on the positive aspects of life. Pleasant memories trigger serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex (the part of the brain that is able to control and manage uncomfortable emotions). This technique has also been found to treat depression.
2. Solve problems one at a time
Our brain never stops searching for solutions, for problems that worry us. This requires a lot of energy, causing the brain to feel tired. Consequently, the problem remains unresolved, leaving us feeling anxious or irritated. On the other hand, for every successful decision, our brain rewards itself with a dose of neurotransmitters that help calm the limbic system, helping us to see the world in a better light. So, to prevent yourself from feeling exhausted, tackle problems one at a time.
3. Don’t keep things pent up: talk about what bothers you
The process of going through something while keeping everything bottled up, or talking about your predicament involves using different parts of the brain. In the latter case, negative-emotions that arise while talking about your problem have a lesser impact on your well-being. For this reason, it is advisable not to keep your problems pent up. Talking about your issues will enable the brain to trigger the production of serotonin, possibly managing to find some positive sides to the situation.
4. Touch and embrace
Social interaction is very important to us humans. Studies show that physical support particularly touches and embraces, can speed up a person's recovery after an illness. Removing tactile interaction from your life is interpreted by the brain as physical pain: the same brain zones become activated in both instances. This triggers the processes that affect your mood, contributing to the development of depression.
5. Learn, learn, and, once again, learn!
Acquiring new knowledge means permanent adaptation to a changing environment. Through this process, our brains develop, rewarding its own attempts to absorb and process fresh information with dopamine - the hormone of joy. So, if you want to be happy, don't be afraid to try something new, change your surroundings, and learn new things.
6. Play sports
While physical activity causes stress for the body, as soon as the stress ends, the body gets a reward: a dose of endorphins, released by the pituitary gland. This effect is similar to that of morphine which reduces pain and elevates the mood. Thankfully, you don't need to run marathons to do that, walking is enough.
7. Always try to get a good night's sleep
Sleeping in the dark allows your body to secrete the hormone, melatonin. This hormone slows down all processes in the body, helping it to recover and increase the level of serotonin in the hypothalamus. However, if the brain detects a change in lighting, it triggers the release of the stress hormone, quickly awakening the body. It is therefore important to sleep 6 to 8 hours a day and only in darkened rooms.
8. Engage in pleasant expectations
Waiting for something, such as food, is similar to the learned salivation response. Our brain is able to experience pleasure by simply anticipating a pleasant event. It is why we are so fond of counting the hours and minutes to a special moment, such as a birthday, or even the end to a long working day.