Several brain chemicals, known as neurotransmitters, are involved in producing feelings of happiness. These include:
Overall, these brain chemicals work together to create feelings of happiness and well-being in the brain. There are some activities that when engaged in regularly, can promote the release of our brain’s natural happy chemicals. Check out the list below and see if there are some small daily activities you can add to each day to promote overall feelings of emotional well-being.
Trying the Calmigo Smart Calming Companion
I recently had the opportunity to try out Calmigo (Smart Calming Companion), an inhaler-type device that is said to “provide drug-free relief for moments of distress or anxiousness”. Check out my feedback in the video below or read on – and grab the coupon code LIVEHAPPY for $30.00 off if you are interested in purchasing the device!
When I was approached to try the product, I was immediately interested due to the trauma work I do and the focus on emotion regulation that work involves. A cornerstone of any emotion regulation practice involves deliberate breathing: learning to slow and deepen the breath.
Too often we just haven’t learned to breath in a way that positively impacts our health. Without this learning, we end up taking shallow breathes, breathing rapidly, or holding our breath – all of which ramp up the physiological experience of stress in the body and do nothing to calm and sooth our mind, emotions, and body.
How often does the strong pull of anxious thinking lure you into its’ loop of incessant worry, what-ifs, and not-good-enoughs? Spending time on the thoughts that worry and anxiety drive you to think about isn’t the best the way out of it. In fact, thinking the thoughts that accompany anxiety often breeds more anxiety. We need a way out of those thoughts. One that calms our body and our mind, so that we can more accurately and compassionately deal with the experience. The RAIN meditation by Tara Brach offers just that.
The RAIN meditation is an excellent way to steer out of anxious thinking cycles, deepen compassion and connection to self, and anchor back into the present moment. Take a moment and play with these 4 steps, to build self-compassion and step out of stuck thinking.
It is also incredibly empowering because you will have created that internal sense of calm. One of the goals of learning to regulate emotion is to render all those unhealthy coping strategies unnecessary.
What’s cooler than seeing your book for sale on a bookstore shelf? Seeing it appear in a movie! Check out this short film by the very talented Director Chris Di Staulo: Lovers to Strangers, on Vimeo
Chris’ latest short film brings attention to the concept of love bombing.
New relationships can feel intoxicating at the beginning. You want to spend all your time with the person, getting to know them and enjoying their company. You still live your life as you normally would, while nurturing the new relationship and getting a sense of how this new love interest fits into your world. Healthy romantic relationships have a solid foundation of friendship (respect, trust, and kindness).
This is my public service announcement about kindness during COVID. Also known as ‘don’t be a dick’.
If someone forgets to sanitize their hands when entering a store or enters without donning their mask – a kind reminder is all it takes. And if they can’t don a mask due to medical reasons – please listen with understanding, not judgment or resentment. Seek first to understand.
When we react with anger, it’s like we take the behaviour of others and stab ourselves with it. Then we project our hurt onto them and view them as the villain. No one here is the villain. There is no us against them. We are all in this together. Every single one of us.
So please, if you are feeling grumpy, take a moment to care for yourself. If you find you’re feeling angry or impatient when around others, try these super simple tips:
Where ever your inner voice of shame originated from, when you hear it rear its ugly head, acknowledge it for what it is (“Oh, hello there Shame”), and anchor into the present moment with a deep breath. What could you say to yourself instead, to start cultivating an attitude of acceptance and compassion?
Not sure how to cultivate an attitude of acceptance? Check out the following list and do one item from it every single day. Or, if you have a strategy that works for you, share it in the comments so that we can all learn from and encourage each other!
The image feature in this article is titled The Courage. When you look at it, what qualities do you see? Power, strength, fearlessness, confidence, protectiveness, loyalty? For years I have had artist Lora Zombie’s work in my counselling office. Everyone asks about the art, and for many, the artwork is equally as powerful for them as it is for me. But when The Courage came out (the image featured in this article), I felt the need to share why I find some of Lora’s art so powerful.
When working with trauma in counselling, it is important for individuals to feel emotionally prepared. In EMDR therapy, preparation is done with information sharing and psycho-education, collaboration and transparency, and emotion regulation strategies such as distancing, containment, and resourcing. It is resourcing that I am going to be specifically talking about in this article.
There are many therapeutic approaches in counselling psychology. This handout is intended to describe Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Originally developed by Francine Shapiro for use with post-traumatic stress, EMDR is also used with fears, phobias, addiction, and anxiety. It also works to strengthen feelings of calm and confidence.
Disclaimer: Please know that no therapy is one size fits all. There are many layers and approaches in counselling psychology and to the complex experiences people have. This information is intended to introduce you to EMDR therapy to inform your expectations prior to starting counselling.
Remember Compassion for Distracted Minds
One technique that can help with settling down at bedtime is a type of meditation called Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR, for short). Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a relaxation technique that guides and directs focus on one body area at a time, first tensing the muscle and then relaxing it, to promote full-body relaxation (Anxiety Canada; Schwartz & Knipe, 2017).
Susan Guttridge is a trauma-informed Master level Counsellor with the clinical designation of Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCPA). She has 20+ years experience providing individual and group therapy.