There are episodes that happen to you, by kismet, or the actions of others, that boost those dopamine levels in you; and then there are those that you do, for yourself, that become the subconscious caretakers of those emotions.
As I drift away from my careless twenties and slide into an artful attempt to my thirties, these are a few do's that have been my happy high, habitually. They secretly snuck up on me, and before I knew it, they found a way of normalizing themselves in my life.
Presenting to you, my intentional happy habitual hormone boosters:
Lighting up scented candles, for no special reason, or occasion at all.
Some TLC for the bod. I have been a yoga enthusiast for a couple of years now, but any form of workout in a day ends up, lifting me like I can't even illustrate...could be as random as Zumba, or my recent love for HIIT with Heather Robertson. Whatever the mood, just sweat it out.
5x5 rule almost every single time. Now, I won't lie, sometimes my emotions get the better of me, but I do try to apply this as much, and as frequently as I can, and believe me, it has worked. If it won't matter to you five years from now, it shouldn't matter to you for more than five minutes. Letting the little things go.
DIYS for the face, hair, and skincare. I mean...of course, I am all for the vitamin c serums, sunscreens, and argan oil shampoos, but the amount of satisfaction achieved with concocting your own potion comes nowhere close to the ready-made stuff. My personal favorite: Turmeric, with honey, yogurt, lemon juice and, gram flour; works an instant spell and leaves the face with a glow that I can't explain.
Reading, the old-fashioned flipping-the-page way. Any genre, any time of the day. Sorry audiobooks, you don't have my attention yet!
8:30 pm dinners. Coming from a family, with a lifestyle of late lunches, and even later dinners, I cannot express how life-changing this habit shift has been. Bye-bye perpetually bloated tummy.
The no curtain rule. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but with excessive natural light flooding my room (and skin), I plainly find myself happier and more welcoming to mornings.
Intermittent fasting. I know there are mixed feelings around this, but I for one, am a huge believer of this cycle, giving my digestion adequate breathing room. 18:6 routine for the win.
Sleep. No, not just because of the age-old beauty sleep rationale, but really just giving my mind, and body, the uncompromising rest that it needs, to rejuvenate and reboot, instead of merely surviving on ridiculous four to five scrappings with the logic of "getting more done."
Video journals, and then recreating them into snippets. Not just of myself but the people and places around me. Therapeutic is how I would describe this process. I often think that we ignore a lot of our day-to-day dailies because we take them for granted. Ever since I have been journaling the little moments, and then composing them into minute versions of a day, or a month, or a trip, I am pleased to discover how happy this makes me, and in a way the amount of transparency it throws my way.
Bath & Body Works. I have always been a sucker for all things perfumed, and moisture. Khushboo needs khushboo (for those that don't get it, my name translates to perfume). Back in the day, I would feel quite guilty for spending on non-essentials; but I realize that even on my downest of down days, my BB has never let me down. I'd happily endorse the idea of investing in what makes you happy, even if others don't understand it.
Cleaning and tidying up. Again, I state this at the risk of sounding crazy, but I just function better after I have tidied everything up, and placed things where they are meant to be; whether it is physically, or in digital folders. Decluttering works wonders on my mind.
Cooking a meal from scratch, and then plating it, gourmet style. Okay, before you jump the gun, I don't really cook. It's surprisingly snuck up on me the last few months, where I am compelled to experiment something new or attempting to better something old, once a week. It's soothing, surprising, and satisfying. By the end of it, I find myself sitting back, relishing my fruits of labor and, filled with oh so much self-appreciation, and love.
Grooming. No, not the kind that you go to the salon to get done, but just the little things done regularly for yourself, by yourself. Whether it is a daily foot scrub during a shower, or a dash of castor oil on the face before going to bed, or a mid-week self-manicure to keep those nails looking sparkly and fresh, at all times.
Jotting down ideas, or thoughts I've had at random moments, instead of relying on my memory, wholly. I am happier realizing I won't not be able to remember what I'd thought of, and couldn't later recall. Hey, I'm getting old, and there's nothing wrong with having a nudger.
Saying "no," when I want to; or "thank you," repeatedly. Even if I do end up sound over-enthusiastic at times. In simpler words, just being transparent, expressive, and vocal. I find myself happier to not have unsaid things to carry forward to the next day.
Enjoying my own company. I would earlier see this as feeling lonely, or have a ball of emptiness that would consume me. With time I've realized, that the more you, you give to you, the fuller you feel, and hence is translated in all of the relationships that surround you. Spend time with yourself, without any noise to drown the you-ness from you.
There you go, these are a few deliberate actions that have resulted in triggering, and heightening my dopamine levels.
Are you amused, or would you agree?
With love, and ramblings,
Stories By Giggles
Illustration credits: @buddhadoodles (Instagram)