Balancing Happy Hormones: The Key to a Joyful Life

Happiness Experience Three


How to create a joyful and balanced life
Chapter 24 (17.25 min)

Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. Once released by glands into your bloodstream, they act on various organs and tissues to control everything from the way your body functions to how you feel.

One group of hormones are nicknamed the “feel-good hormones” because of the happy and, sometimes, euphoric feelings they produce. They’re also considered neurotransmitters, which means they carry messages across the spaces between nerve cells. What are the four feel-good hormones? Dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin.

Excerpted from the, July, 2021© copyright Harvard University.


Imagine a printer at home, and you want to print a document from your computer. How does the printer know what to print? Your computer sends a message to the printer. It could be through Wi-Fi or cable.

Now imagine your body. You have many organs in your body. They are made from different types of cells. You have many communication pathways within the brain and throughout the body. You have a messaging system to communicate from your brain to your different organs, called the central nervous system.

The brain controls how we think, learn, move, and feel. Your body, which consists of organs, needs messages from the brain. Neurotransmitters transmit these messages. Neurotransmitters are generated in parts of the brain called glands. Your spinal cord is part of your nervous system, which carries these messages to different parts of your body’s organs. One type of these messages we are focusing on here is the message to feel good or happy, called Happy Hormones. Happy Hormones are considered neurotransmitters because they transmit messages to organs. Each Happy Hormone carries different types of body chemicals as feel-good messages from the brain. For example, if your body receives messages consisting of motivation, your body happily moves to accomplish goals.

The following is the four Happy Hormones, a.k.a. neurotransmitters, and the types of messages they transmit to cells:

How to Create Joy in Daily Life Activities

Happiness Mountain’s approach to Happy Hormones is reverse-engineered. You focus the four types of feel-good messages as intentions for daily activities and allow the body to generate the relevant Happy Hormones. For a balanced life, you require all four Happy Hormones. When the body produces the Happy Hormones, you feel good and the activity becomes a joyful experience.

Feel Good Intentions + Daily Activity = Happy Hormones

Feel-Good Intentions

In Happiness Mountain, we use the power of the mind through intentions to create joyful experiences. The brain is a primary physical component of your mind. The mind goes beyond the physical dimensions and cannot precisely define it. Your human mind is powerful. When you set an intention, it seeks ways to realize the results. Your intentions have energy powered by your life energy. Your intentions have authority over your brain. Consider intentions as messages to your brain. When you do the activities with feel-good intentions, the brain will produce Happy Hormones with the right activity.

1. Dopamine Intention: drive, motivation, and pleasure

2. Oxytocin Intention: bonding, trust, and love

3. Serotonin Intention: elevated mood and self-esteem

4. Endorphins Intention: healing and well-being

Happy Hormones are biological parts of the body that you cannot measure by yourself. The way to measure Happy Hormones indirectly is by using your awareness of whether you felt the desired feel-good results. If you feel good, your body has generated the Happy Hormones. For example, you should feel joy if you meet a friend with the feel-good intention of bonding, trust, or love. That means your body triggered oxytocin, and you got the desired result: joy. If you did not feel joy after meeting a friend, you have to reflect and see whether you made a real connection with bonds, trust, or love. You may have a Judgmental Thought Bug preventing the brain from sending feel-good messages to your body. Since you have a higher level of awareness, you can take the corrective actions to build an authentic connection by addressing the Judgmental Bug.

Here, we focus on the feel-good intentions with daily activities, using Happy Hormones as a guiding principle. How you test our results is using your awareness. If you get the desired feel-good results, you have achieved what you wanted: a joyful experience. Since we are not testing the body’s Happy Hormones, we assume the relevant Happy Hormones have facilitated the joy.

Daily Activities

Happiness Mountain defines your daily life with six activity types that help you generate Happy Hormones:

There are many ways to categorize your daily activities. I recommend aligning to this categorization if you follow the Happiness Mountain methodology. The Happiness Mountain app will help you to track your daily activities using these categories to boost your energy and become happier. If you don’t have the app, use a journal. Tracking is essential while reprogramming your mind to bring your consciousness to creating a balanced life.


 Mind: Activities that create a relaxed and positive mind include meditation, prayer, reading a book, affirmations, calming music, doing nothing, taking it easy, listening to mentors, and living mindfully.

 Body: Activities relating to health and fitness include exercise, yoga, walking, swimming, sports, intermittent fasting, sauna, eating healthy, and drinking the required amount of water.

 Work: Activities relating to work accomplishments.

 People: Activities relating to making healthy relationships. Make real connections with others. Make every human interaction happy, including time with family and coworkers and talking to friends or strangers.

 Service: Activities relating to service to others and self. For example, I am in service when I make dinner for my family.

 Nature: Activities relating to connecting with nature to heal mind and body. Ensure you do at least one activity daily that connects you with nature, such as walking outdoors, observing nature, taking a mindful bath, swimming, hiking, enjoying the sunshine, and doing garden work.

You can create joy in daily life by learning to do daily activities with relevant feel-good intentions. For example, you are going to meet a friend.

 Activity type: People

 Feel-good intention: Make a real connection with bonding, trust, and love

 Activity: Meet your friend

When you go with the right intention and act accordingly, your body produces Happy Hormones such as oxytocin, and your experience becomes joyful. You can have more than one type of feel-good intention. For example, if I meet my friend to accomplish something related to work:

 Activity type: Work

 Feel-good intention: Motivation, drive, pleasure

 Activity: Complete reviewing of Part 4 of the book

Activities generate more than one Happy Hormone in the body. You can focus a primary feel-good intention as the driving one to keep it simple and let the body do its magic with the relevant Happy Hormones.

Balanced Life

I was a work-life balance team lead in an organization I used to work for. We did not have a clue what work-life balance meant, because we had no practical definition. We organized some outdoor activities and encouraged everyone to finish work on time and go home as our primary focus for work-life balance. Once I studied the mind, I realized what effective life balance means. Happiness Mountain’s definition of a balanced life comes from the balance of Happy Hormones and daily activities.

Your day is balanced when you consciously complete all six types of daily activities and gain all four Happy Hormones’ feel-good results.

Unbalanced Life

An unbalanced life is when someone does not consciously complete all six activities and does not gain the four Happy Hormones during the day.

I will explain this with an example. Let’s say you are attached to your work and do not have time to take care of your mind and body. You are also very much work-oriented and have no time to care about other people’s feelings when you engage with people. In this scenario, you get happiness from dopamine and lack other hormones necessary for a joyful and healthy life.

 You may not have mindful time to spend with your family. You take care of their responsibilities but don’t spend quality time with them. You could be physically with the family, but your mind may still be working. You feel important at work and want to fulfill work and family responsibilities. But you are missing oxytocin from spending quality time with your family.

 You get things done but don’t make real connections with people at work. You miss the dopamine and related bonding, trust, and love with your work colleagues.

 You are not spending peaceful time keeping your mind calm and happy. You do not have time to go outside and connect with nature. You are always busy thinking about work. You lack the peace and calmness generated from serotonin. You have a high chance of acquiring stress and other health issues.

 You want to go to the gym but often miss it. You feel like exercise is not something you enjoy, but a chore you have to do. You do not work out until you sweat. Your heart rate never increases. You do not have time to take care of your body or don’t know the joy you can get from being active. You miss the joy endorphins offer and their benefits for a healthy heart and body.

Life Fulfillment

You must be balanced to feel life fulfillment. The key is understanding the four Happy Hormones and slowly adding activities to your life. For example, add a daily walk with your family (or dog, if you have one) to produce serotonin and oxytocin. Register for a weekly fitness class, bringing your heart rate to higher levels and sweating. A runner’s high will give you endorphins. Join a yoga class to feel calm and release serotonin. Start meditating ten minutes a day. By adding a few of these activities, you receive the benefits of all four Happy Hormones. Once you start enjoying the joy out of all four Happy Hormones, you will feel a different level of joy in life.

How to Overcome Stress

There is another hormone called cortisol which is generated when you are stressed. That is also a neurotransmitter that sends messages to your body to alter behavior to cope with stress. One of the behaviors could be stress-eating to produce dopamine. Another behavior could be forcing yourself to stop working and take a break to produce serotonin.


If you do not produce enough Happy Hormones or live a balanced life, you may have to deal with stress hormones. If you are stressed, your body will alter your behavior, encouraging you to get feel-good Happy Hormones. At that moment, listen to your body and do Happy Hormone–generating activities such as an outdoor walk. With the outdoor walk, you can produce serotonin and feel relaxed. If you have serotonin, you will be less likely to get stressed and release cortisol.

 Activity type: Mind

 Feel-good intention: Mood and self-esteem

 Activity: Go for a walk outdoors and connect with nature

If you want to relieve the pain from stressful feelings, endorphin-generating activity like moderate to intense exercise will help you to heal you completely.

 Activity type: Body

 Feel-good intention: Healing and Well-being

 Activity: Feel runner’s high by intense or lengthy exercise

The stress hormone is helpful in a small amount to alter our stressful behaviors during our busy lives. If you are not producing enough Happy Hormones and are under consistent stress and producing higher amounts of cortisol, it can impact your health and overall happiness. In this scenario, start doing all six types of daily activities to create life balance and address Negative Thought Bugs causing stress.

Make Every Experience a Happy Experience

The secret to making every daily activity a happy experience is producing one or more Happy Hormones during the activity. Adding Happy Hormones to your daily activities is like adding salt and pepper to a meal to make it tasty. When the body has one or more Happy Hormones, your experience becomes joyful. You are truly happy inside and out if you do daily activities joyfully. Adding balance lets you live a fulfilling life with happiness and good health.


1. If you want to get motivated to do something, what are the feel-good intentions and the related Happy Hormone you have to focus on?

2. If you want to feel like you need love and bonding, what are the feel-good intentions and related Happy Hormone you have to focus on?

3. If you want to boost your mood, what are the feel-good intentions and related Happy Hormone you have to focus on?

4. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, what are the feel-good intentions and related Happy Hormones you have to focus on?

In the following four chapters, you can learn more about each Happy Hormone so that you understand picking activities for different Happy Hormones in day-to-day life.

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