When we plan trips for our clients, our primary goal is to help families create deeper connections. One way we can help families promote richer connections is by teaching them how to employ their happy chemicals!
What are your happy chemicals?
- Dopamine is a pleasure chemical and produces a feeling of bliss.
- Serotonin flows when you feel significant or important.
- Oxytocin creates intimacy, trust, and builds healthy relationships.
- Endorphins are released in response to pain and stress and help to alleviate anxiety and depression.
We want to help you create opportunities for connecting as often as possible. You’re probably wondering how that works …
Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins are signaling molecules that, when released into your body, make you feel or act in a certain way.
The interesting thing about these neurotransmitters is that you can make them flow intentionally.
And because being happy has a significant impact on our ability to connect more easily with other people, we want to trigger those happy chemicals as often as we can – right?
Here are some simple ways to trigger the production of happy chemicals:
We already know that dopamine produces a feeling of bliss but it also motivates us to take action toward goals, desires, and needs. More importantly, dopamine gives us a surge of pleasure when we achieve those goals. If we want to get a surge of dopamine, the easiest way is to break big goals down into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
Rather than celebrating when we hit the finish line, create some arbitrary finish lines and celebrate your success at every stage of the way!
Engaging in adventure activities when traveling gives our clients the opportunity to celebrate success at every stage of the activity.
Serotonin flows when you feel significant or important. This is one of the biggest reasons for using adventure activities, so there can be achievement. Accomplishing a big goal is huge for serotonin production!
Even reflecting on past significant achievements allows the brain to re-live the experience. Because our brain doesn’t discriminate between what’s real and imagined, it produces serotonin in both cases.
This is one of the reasons why we ask our clients to journal, practice giving gratitude, and to talk about positive experiences more than usual – especially while traveling on a heritage journey!
If you need a serotonin boost during a stressful day, take a few minutes to reflect on past achievements and victories – like when you climbed that mountain or conquered that scary zip line!
Also, having lunch or coffee outside and exposing yourself to the sun for 20 minutes allows our skin to absorb UV rays, which promotes vitamin D and serotonin production.
Oxytocin creates intimacy, trust, and builds healthy relationships. It is often referred to as the hugging hormone. Men and women both release oxytocin during orgasm. It is also released by mothers during childbirth and breastfeeding.
We can stimulate the production of oxytocin by giving lots of hugs and high fives. I talk to all my clients about the importance of hugging, snuggling and taking the time to connect deeply while on a Heritage Journey.
A simple way to keep oxytocin flowing is to give someone a hug.
Endorphins are best known as the hormone that causes “runner’s high”. These are the hormones that are released when you are in pain or in a high stress situation. They are released to help your body alleviate anxiety and/or depression.
Endorphins act similar to morphine — as an analgesic and sedative, diminishing the perception of pain.
Another way to release endorphins is through laughter! Even the anticipation and expectation of laugher increases levels of endorphins. Isn’t that fun!!
Exert yourself and laugh – it feels good, will make you happier and you will be more available to build those deeper connections.
After accomplishing a goal or being terrified by a activity, if you hug the person you are with, laugh with them, feel into your accomplishments together, congratulate each other, etc., you will be releasing happy chemicals – the chemicals that help us create deeper connections.
When you are ready to plan a trip to your child’s birth country, give us a shout; we’d love to help you plan a Heritage Journey that help you create deeper connections!
I invite you to schedule a 30-minute discovery session with me at calendly.com/bambi. This way we can start the first steps in talking about your family’s heritage journey and releasing more happy chemicals.
I look forward to hearing from you!
All my best,
Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, the Founder, and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel designs Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of these Heritage Journeys is on family bonding, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Read more about her here >> http://motherlandtravel.com/