Neurotransmitters: A More Passionate Life?

Neurotransmitters: A More Passionate Life?

Oct 06, 2020Nour Nasser

In one of the fire walks I did with my coach Anthony Rizk (if you don’t know what a fire walk is, please feel free to google it and even try it when it comes up) specifically in the pre-fire walk motivational talk he gave us, he asked us if we knew what our passion in life was. I immediately thought to myself, there is no such thing as “passion in life”. Ultimately, I think there are certain things that preoccupy us, that we take pleasure and satisfaction in doing.

Anthony went around the audience randomly picking people, asking them what their passion in life was. He got all sorts of common answers; I don’t really fancy what is “common”, one of my passions in life, is hence to look for what is “uncommon” in everything, I feel it’s more real, I love real. Anthony got answers like “my children are my passion”, “my work is my passion”, “my family is my passion”, “singing is my passion,''. Not that common is wrong, not at all, in ‘common’ there is a lot of truth, but not the complete truth. The expression on Anthony’s face resembled disappointment, it was as if he was expecting something else. He then clearly voiced it, “your passion in life, is something no one can take away from you, no one can kill, you know, your children might die or they might be taken away from you, your job, you might lose it, our passion in life, is ultimately ourselves I think”.

The more time passes and life events come along, the more I realize that Anthony was right about that. In fact, Anthony meant, take care of your psychological and biological wellbeing so that you can happily take care of those you care about. Also, we tend to often think that happiness has to do with our circumstances. Sure, circumstances can play a big role sometimes, but if we intentionally and consciously work hard on building an internal strong foundation, then we can sail storms much stronger. There’s a secret to building that foundation, it’s called “monitoring the chemicals in our brains”. When we’re happy, our brain activates four main neurotransmitters: endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. To each of them, a role, a trigger and ways to sustain an overall good atmosphere for them in the brain. The good news is that, by correctly boosting the levels of these four ravishing neurotransmitters, you can be a lot happier regardless of your circumstances. So, we have within us, those safety chambers that we can resort to at all times, we just need to know how to protect and activate them.

Endorphins are responsible for what is known as runner’s high. They relieve stress and pain and give a euphoric feeling. People with low levels of endorphins are likely to suffer from Depression and Fibromyalgia.

The best way to get a runner’s high is to actually go for a run outdoors or do some other form of high intensity cardio exercise. However, if you’re in a lazy mood, try pure dark chocolate, laughter, or even spicy foods. All of these are proven to be great endorphin boosters. As for serotonin, a.k.a “the feel-good hormone”, not only affects our mood, but also our digestive system, our immunity system, sweet cravings, and insomnia. Studies have shown that spending time under natural sunlight increases serotonin production. So instead of scrolling down Instagram or reading your book in the toilet, just try doing that outside for at least 5 minutes a day. Exercising on a regular basis guarantees a boost and a maintenance of a higher level of serotonin, which helps reduce or stop anxiety, depression and any undesired heavy state - that’s why some clever doctors are prescribing sports to patients nowadays. On another hand, you know that rewarding feeling you get after having accomplished something big, or after that skydive you may have taken? Or even after simply crossing a task out of your to-do list? Or after you give someone an honest compliment? Well, all of these give you a boost of dopamine. The word itself has ‘dope’ in it! It’s really dope!

Last but not least, there’s the lovely oxytocin, it’s so lovely that you can get it for free, by giving or receiving a hug or listening to your favorite song or even bonding over good music with someone. Being aware of the importance of those four neurotransmitters, can really help change our life for the better and reminds us that in times of trouble, taking a deep breath and looking within, rather than outside, can be a game changer.

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