Serotonin and Dopamine. We’ve all heard of them. We may even know they’re something to do with our brains. But did you know that these two hormones or neurotransmitters are responsible for our happiness and good moods? Serotonin is often referred to as the happiness hormone, dopamine is a feel-good hormone, and oxytocin is the cuddle hormone.
Happiness isn’t a given but it feels oh so good when we achieve that euphoria. It’s not just a nice to have. It’s vital for our physical health too. As a society it’s finally dawning on us, the importance of mental health and of being happy. One of our team here at Obsession Salon & Spa even used to have a job as a Client Happiness Manager. Yes, there is such a thing!
But how do we achieve such happiness. After all, life is busy, days are long and sometimes our own happiness seems a long way down our ‘To Do’ lists. Funnily enough, making a list or at least writing down our aspirations and goals means we are more likely to realise their ambitions. According to Forbes people who write down their goals are up to 1.4 times more likely to achieve them. The reason? By writing down our aspirations we are committing them to our long term memory, where there is less chance they will be forgotten or neglected. Also having a visual reminder that we can keep referring to helps to remind us and make us more likely to make the decisions necessary to achieve the goal.
A natural way of increasing serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphin levels is simply by doing yoga, recommends Jane Hathaway*, from Hatha Yoga with Jane.
“A regular yoga practice can boost brain performance, ease stress, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure AND improve sleep quality – my Tuesday evening’s Yin and Nidra class, is a perfect precursor to a good nights sleep and helps you restore and rejuvenate your MINDBODY.
Neuroplasticity refers to the rewire and growth of new neurons in the brain. Yoga and meditation increases neuroplasticity and therefore improves our mental well-being, helping to improve our relationship with ourselves as well as with others. Our mind and body are essentially rewiring when we practice yoga!
There are over 100 billion neurons in the brain, so can you imagine how amaaaaazing we would feel if they were all lighting up as they should? “Runners high”, being “loved up” and “chilled out” are all terms that explain the results of certain neurotransmitters lighting up pathways in our brains. The fact is that positive thoughts expand our brains and negative thoughts shrink them!”.
Being kind to ourselves and providing ourselves with much-needed time to recharge our batteries and relax is vital if we’re to avoid mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. The Spa Experiences at our Branston Salon are the perfect way to unwind, either on your own or with a friend. No phone, no work, no commitments, just a few hours to be you. Invaluable!
Finding contentment and happiness on a daily basis is that much harder in the winter when the days are short and the weather doesn’t naturally help our serotonin. Our Scandinavian neighbours have learnt to embrace Mother Nature and find the positives in the Winter season. They even have a word for it – hygge (pronounced hoo-ga). Hygge is all about looking for the positives in any given situation. Meik Wiking, author or ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark believes happiness is “about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.”
At this time of the year, it’s about finding contentment and pleasure in cosying up with soft cushions, wrapping ourselves in a warm blanket and watching a candle dance quietly in the corner of the room. It’s about throwing on our boots, taking a long muddy walk around Lichfield or Branston and taking in the smell; investing in a new hair colour and delighting in the renewed confidence it gives us (check out our feature on our colour expert, Dan, if you are – he will guide you every step of the way and is our go-to expert when it comes to all things colour!); running a long bath and reading that book we’ve been meaning to all year; putting time aside for a regular Decleor facial and loving the dewy glow we see when we look in the mirror. Simple, small moments that make us feel positive about ourselves.
Why not show yourself some loving kindness this February by trying the following yoga affirmation from Jane:
Sitting in an upright position with both feet firmly placed on the floor or lying down comfortably, place one hand on top of the other
in the middle of the chest (over the heart’s centre) and repeat these words slowly and meaningfully to yourself:
“ May I allow myself to feel happy,
may I allow myself to feel well,
may I allow myself to feel free from suffering,
may I allow myself to prosper and grow.”
Just take a few moments to focus deeply on this affirmation.
Then turn the corners of your mouth up and give yourself a smile. Notice how you feel…. and remember that old saying “Smile and the world smiles with you……”.
As well as being kind to ourselves, being kind to others also has a direct impact on our own happiness. The act of giving no matter how small is proven to benefit the recipient but also us. According to research from Emory University, being kind to another person activates the pleasure centre in our brain and we get what is known as a ‘helper’s high’. This doesn’t have to be lavish or expensive. A smile, a phone call, a cup of coffee can all help someone to feel less isolated and more connected.
Here at Obsession Salon & Spa we’re renowned for our welcome massages. We love the comments we receive from our guests about how it made them feel valued and appreciated. We spend time sourcing just the right biscuits for you to enjoy at your appointment and no it’s not because we love to eat them too (though they are delicious!). We invest in training for all of our team because we value them and want them to be able to provide you with the highest standards so that you can be the best you. We hope you feel loved and spoilt because when you’re spending time with us we want it to be the highlight of your week and we want to share the love. All we ask is that you pass it on!
Here’s our act of kindness to you this February – your chance to take part in a free yoga taster session with Jane Hathaway, from Hatha Yoga with Jane .
No obligations. No pressure. Just our way of saying thank you and giving you the chance to take time out for you.
When: Thursday 10th February at 7.30pm – 8pm
Where: Online – in the comfort of your own home
How: Email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote ‘Obsession Client’ to book your space.*
You will receive by return, a zoom link to gain access to the session.
* Please note, by emailing Jane Hathaway, you are agreeing to share your email address and name for the purpose of attending this complimentary yoga taster session. Your details will not be used by Jane Hathaway for any other purpose and will be destroyed upon completion of the taster session unless you decide to opt in to receive further information from Jane Hathaway in the future.