8 tips From Neurobiology to Help You Be Happier

8 tips From Neurobiology to Help You Be Happier

Last update: 23 November, 2018

There are a lot of small, simple things you can do to make a huge difference in your body. Find out what they are!

Below we’d like to give you 8 tips that neurobiology can offer to make you more holistically happier. Neurobiology? Yes, your brain. There are certain things you can do to encourage positive changes in your body.

When your bodily functions are balanced and you benefit from good health, it results into an overall sense of well-being that can make you happier. Here you can learn how to use your own brain to harness certain biological processes and release happiness hormones.

8 tips from neurobiology to help you be happier

1. Always be grateful

A grateful woman: a neurobiology trick for happiness.

Thankfulness doesn’t have to be verbal. It is an emotion that works well for the one who feels it as well as the one who receives gratitude. When you show gratitude to someone, you put yourself on the positive side of life. This then stimulates serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex. It’s a strategy that has been used for depression.

2. Be proactive and decisive

When you have a problem and want to find the solution, your brain tries to work for it. Energy is required in order to come up with a solution. But, burning that energy may make you feel anxious or irritable.

However, when your brain decides to do something, it sets off neurotransmitters that calm down your limbic system, which in turn makes you able to see the world from a more positive perspective.

Therefore, you want to do actions that will help your brain release stress related to problem-solving. Neurobiology tells us that having a proactive attitude can help, because it can help you find solutions without negatively impacting your body.

3. Express yourself! Release the negativity

A couple talking.

Something else neurobiology advises is to express your feelings. When you let your thoughts out, you feel better and unhealthy negative emotions don’t get stuck.

Remember that negativity can turn into physical health issues, which is often the case with anxiety and stress. When you say what you’re thinking and thus release your tension, your brain starts to produce serotonin. That puts you in a better position to see the positive side of unpleasant situations. It activates multiple regions of your brain.

4. Social interaction

Social interaction is extremely important for human beings. Specifically, what humans need the most is social support — especially hugs and a loving touch. These gestures can actually help you recover more quickly from illness and other medical conditions.

If you don’t get enough human contact, your brain will perceive it as if it were physical pain; the same areas activate in your brain. As a result, it will set off processes that affect your mood and could even get you depressed.

5. Never stop learning

Reading a book.

Never stop feeding your brain new information. Your brain will record constant changes in the environment and have to adapt to it. Then, each time it goes through this adaptation process, it produces dopamine, the happiness hormone. Your brain does all of that when it receives and processes new information. So if you want to be happier, now you know what to do.

6. Exercise

When you exercise, you liberate endorphinsYour pituitary gland releases it as a reward and your brain perceives it in a similar way to how it perceives morphine. Thus it reduces your sensation of pain and promotes a feeling of well-being. Even just a nice long walk can produce this effect in you.

7. Sleep well

Sleeping soundly.

When you sleep in the dark, you produce a hormone called melatonin. This hormone is in charge of slowing down your bodily processes, which allows your body to recover from the day. In other words, it increases the serotonin in your hypothalamus.

So if your brain perceives an increased amount of lighting in your bedroom, it’ll start secreting the stress hormone and thus wake up your body. Because of this, it’s best to try to sleep between 6 and 8 hours a night and keep your room as dark as possible.

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    • Glenn R. Fox et al. “Neural correlates of gratitude”, Front Psychol. 2015; 6: 1491.
    • David Nutt et al. “Sleep disorders as core symptoms of depression”, Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008 Sep; 10(3): 329–336.
    • Harber VJ, Sutton JR., “Endorphins and exercise”, Sports Med. 1984 Mar-Apr;1(2):154-71.
    • McNab, F., Varrone, A., Farde, L., Jucaite, A., Bystritsky, P., Forssberg, H., Klingberg, T. (2008). “Changes in Cortical Dopamine D1 Receptor Binding Associated with Cognitive Training”,  Science, 323, pp.800-802.