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Neurotransmitters that Shape Your Emotions

In the intricate web of human emotions and mental states, there are four chemical messengers that play a pivotal role in shaping our outlook on life and overall well-being: dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin. 

These incredible neurotransmitters are often referred to as the “Fabulous Four” of positive emotions, each with its unique impact on our mental landscape. 

Let’s take a look at how to unravel the profound effects of these neurotransmitters, and dive into methods of harnessing their power to cultivate lasting happiness and fulfillment.

Dopamine: The Fuel of Motivation and Reward

Picture dopamine as the motivational magic in your brain. 

It’s the neurotransmitter that lights up your brain’s reward system, making you feel accomplished and motivated. Whenever you set and achieve goals, whether big or small, dopamine surges through your brain, creating a sense of pleasure and satisfaction. In short, it’s the driving force behind the thrill of accomplishment and the spark that propels you toward your dreams!

How to Boost Dopamine Production

Harness the power of dopamine by setting clear goals and celebrating each step of your journey. Don’t forget to celebrate each success, as this is another step to counteract our brain’s natural tendency for the negativity bias. 

Embracing a growth mindset includes engaging in activities that challenge and excite you, as these experiences trigger dopamine release, fostering a sense of purpose, satisfaction, and enthusiasm.

Serotonin: The Mood Lifter and Social Connector

Serotonin, often referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, has a profound impact on your mood and social interactions. It’s like an elixir that lifts your spirits and creates a sense of contentment, joy, and well-being. 

Adequate levels of serotonin are essential for maintaining emotional balance, reducing anxiety, and promoting positive social interactions.

How to Boost Serotonin Production

To boost your serotonin levels, focus on getting more sunlight and eat foods rich in tryptophan (eggs, salmon, spinach, cheese, pineapple, nuts, seeds and turkey), as 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the intestine.

By nurturing your body and practicing self-care, you can keep your serotonin levels steady and your spirits high!

Endorphins: The Natural Painkillers and Joy Inducers

If you’ve ever experienced the euphoria after a great workout or a hearty laugh, you’ve felt the influence of endorphins. These natural painkillers are your brain’s way of rewarding you for enduring physical stress or experiencing pleasure. 

Endorphins not only alleviate pain, but also create a sense of joy and well-being that lingers long after the activity that triggered their release. For anyone that’s felt that post workout high, you also feel a sense of great capability and achievement.

How to Boost Endorphin Production

Engaging in regular exercise, whether it’s a brisk walk, a dance class, or a yoga session, is a fantastic way to unleash the power of endorphins. Laughter, too, is a potent endorphin-booster, so surround yourself with humor (and embrace lightheartedness!). 

By prioritizing activities that bring you joy and get your heart pumping, you can harness the power that endorphins provide. It’s like your body’s own anti-depressant! 

If that’s not enough, remember: physical exercise is the number one way to prevent cognitive decline as we age.

Oxytocin: The Bonding Agent and Love Hormone

Often hailed as the “love hormone” or “cuddle chemical,” oxytocin is the glue that binds human relationships together. It’s responsible for creating feelings of trust, intimacy, and connection, not only in romantic partnerships but also among friends, family members, and even strangers. 

Engage in activities that make you feel connected to others, whether it’s spending quality time with loved ones, volunteering, or engaging in hobbies that foster a sense of community. 

Oxytocin’s effects go beyond emotional warmth, as it also plays a crucial role in reducing stress and anxiety.

How to Boost Oxytocin Levels

To boost your oxytocin levels, focus on nurturing your relationships—especially if you can do this in person.  

The latest neuroscience research shows that even eye contact can boost oxytocin levels and create synchrony, the feeling of connection. 

Engage in deep conversations, offer genuine support, and engage in physical touch such as hugs or handshakes. 

If you can’t do it in person, know that a Facetime or video call is better than an audio call. This engagement will reset your oxytocin levels, further enhancing your responsiveness and enriching your emotional well-being.

The Fabulous Four: Finding Balance in Everyday Life

Incorporating these “Fabulous Four” neurotransmitters into your daily life can have a transformative impact on your emotions and mental state. 

By understanding and harnessing the power of these neurotransmitters, you have the tools to design a life filled with purpose, joy, and meaningful connections. 

Keep in mind that it’s not about trying to achieve a perpetual state of happiness, but rather embracing a balanced approach to well-being.  Life is filled with events that could throw us off course, yes; but if you can practice the tools to stay emotionally balanced, then everything will feel easier.

By cultivating habits and engaging in activities that stimulate the release of dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin, you can create a resilient foundation for positive emotions and lasting fulfillment!

Want to dive deeper into the psychology of happiness? 

Get your copy of the bestselling 6 Weeks to Happy in paperback, eBook, or on Audible! 


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Ronda is a Peak Performance Coach focusing on Life Coaching and the Mental Wellbeing of Athletes in her practice. She is also contracted through a large Division 1 University program to work with their athletes as a mental coach. She specializes in fear, pressure, adversity, uncertainty, removing obstacles, anxiety, doubt, recovering from injuries or setbacks, and identity beyond a sport or a role. She provides a proactive approach to the mental health of athletes and teams on wellbeing and the mental side of the game. Ronda is also an accomplished athlete herself and spent five seasons as a head coach for a Professional Women’s Hockey team in the Premier Hockey Federation, and is a scout for the Nashville Predators of the NHL.

Ronda’s education includes undergraduate studies in Psychology, a Masters in School Counseling and post graduate certifications in Applied Positive Psychology, The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ, and is certified as an Applied Positive Psychology coach, specializing in Leadership, Mentoring and Coaching, Teamwork and Collaboration. While Ronda has specialized in the athletic mindset, she is passionate about helping any person wanting to uncover what is possible and learn to use their mind as an asset for reaching their full potential.


Sylvia Halligan is a mind-body mental agility and change management coach. She helps organizations successfully lead and navigate change, make it stick, and empower individuals to transform into flourishing, thriving beings. Her personal coaching practice incorporates a blend of eastern philosophy practices backed by western science. Interventions include guided visualization, hypnosis, breath work, embodiment, energy psychology, positive psychology, and neuroscience.

Sylvia is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), holds certifications in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) and Applied Positive Psychology Coaching (CAPP), and is an ICF credentialed Associate Certified Coach (ACC). She is also a Prosci-Certified Change Management Practitioner and certified in The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ. Specialties: Leading organizations through change and making it stick. Guiding individual change journeys through holistic mind-body coaching. Teaching people to thrive, not just survive.


Anjali is a Holistic Health & Positive Psychology Pracitioner. As a naturally intuitive, compassionate, and deeply empathetic coach, Anjali creates an environment for her clients that allows them to truly understand the connection of how the mind and body coexist and relate to one another. Assisting clients in understanding the mind & body connection, how blocked emotions can reappear in emotional patterning or physical alignments in the body, and aids in healing through the use of various techniques, including The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ.

Anjali holds degrees in Communications and an MBA, along with post graduate degrees and certifications in Applied Positive Psychology, Integrative Holistic Health Coaching and Breathwork.ᵀᴹ


Marjolein is a trainer, facilitator and coach, specializing in Emotional Intelligence and Leadership. In her individual coaching practice, Marjolein works with people to educate and empower them with the tools from Positive Psychology, Self Compassion and Emotional Intelligence. Her work with corporations includes embedding innovative, human-centric mindset coaching, training and facilitation. She’s a Senior Leadership Facilitator for THNK, The School of Creative Leadership in Amsterdam, Netherlands where she develops global leaders in international corporations to unlock their full potential in leading themselves, and others, for greater impact.

Marjolein holds certifications in Emotional Intelligence and Leadership, Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) and is an Applied Positive Psychology coach. She is also trained in Self Compassion, through the thought leader in this space, Kristen Neff, and is certified in The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ. Marjolein holds a Masters degree in Biomedical Sciences and Post Graduate degrees in Management and Positive Psychology.