What is the science behind feeling good and how it impacts your mental health

Feeling good is a fundamental human desire. We all want to feel good, experience more happiness, joy, and contentment. What is the reason children and adults from all walks of live are facing poor mental health as stress, anxiety, depression have become all too common? The science behind feeling good, from the release of dopamine to the creation of new neural pathways in the brain, shows that positive experiences have the power to transform your outlook on life.

Experiences have a powerful impact on our happiness and well-being. Whether it’s travelling to a new place or celebrating different cultural traditions, creating new relationships or discovering what makes you happy, these experiences have the ability to bring us joy, excitement, and a sense of satisfaction. When faced with a choice between buying something or having an experience, what is more likely to bring you inner peace?

In this article, we will explore the science behind feeling good and its impact on mental health in contrast with the negative influence of the consumerism on mental health. We will explore the chemical reactions that positive emotions create in the brain and how feel good experiences can lead to long-term changes in your mental health. So, let’s discover what creates the feel good factor and re-imagine a happier, more meaningful life.

create positive experiences to break free from consumerism and enrich your mental health

The science of feeling good and how your mental health reacts to positive experiences

Positive experiences have a profound impact on the human brain. Whether it’s taking a vacation, cooking a delicious meal for your friends and family, or simply indulging in a favourite hobby, positive experiences can stimulate the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins.

Dopamine, often referred to as the “reward neurotransmitter,” is responsible for feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. It is released when we experience something enjoyable or rewarding, such as eating our favourite food or receiving a compliment. Positive experiences that stimulate the release of dopamine can create a sense of euphoria and motivate us to seek out similar experiences in the future.

Serotonin is another neurotransmitter involved in positive experiences. It helps regulate mood, social behaviour, appetite, and digestion. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression and anxiety, while increased levels have been associated with feelings of happiness and well-being.

Oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” is released when we experience social bonding and connection. It is associated with feelings of trust, generosity, and empathy, and is released during physical touch, such as hugging or holding hands.

Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. They are released in response to physical activity, such as exercise, and can create feelings of euphoria and well-being.

In addition to releasing these neurotransmitters, positive experiences can also lead to neuroplasticity in the brain. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to experiences. Positive experiences can stimulate the growth of new neural pathways in the brain, which can lead to increased creativity, cognitive flexibility, and emotional regulation.

It takes self-discipline to stimulate the release of feel-good neurotransmitters, create new neural pathways in the brain, but you can enrich your mental health and well-being with positive experiences.

woman training and feeling good
What are the feel good experiences that add value to your mental health?

The social, physical and mental health benefits of feeling good experiences

One of the most significant benefits of positive experiences is stress reduction. There is growing proof that positive experiences have numerous physical and mental health benefits and engaging in activities that bring you joy can help reduce stress, improve mood and well-being. When you engage in enjoyable activities, your bodies release stress-reducing hormones such as oxytocin and endorphins. These hormones can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce feelings of anxiety, and improve overall stress management.

A positive impact on your mood, will release dopamine and serotonin and create feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment. Building positive memories is a source of comfort and joy when we reflect on them in the future. Creating those memories build a sense of purpose and meaning in life. This can lead to increased productivity, and a greater sense of life satisfaction.

When we engage in enjoyable activities with loved ones, we strengthen our bonds and create positive memories together. This can lead to increased feelings of trust, empathy, and social connection. Positive experiences can also improve our relationships with others.

Overall, the benefits of positive experiences highlight the importance of prioritising activities that bring us joy and fulfilment. By engaging in positive experiences, we can reduce stress, improve mood, increase overall well-being, and strengthen our relationships with others.

As human beings, we are wired to seek experiences that resonate with us and make us feel good enough. Whether it’s travelling to a new place, trying a new hobby, or spending time with loved ones, these experiences can bring us a sense of fulfilment and happiness.

Research has shown that experiences have a greater impact on our happiness than material possessions. In a study conducted by Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, it was found that people derive more satisfaction from experiences rather than things. This is because experiences are unique and personal, and they provide us with a sense of purpose and meaning.

Furthermore, experiences have the ability to evoke positive emotions such as joy, excitement, and contentment. When we engage in activities that we enjoy, our brains release chemicals like dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and reward. This is why experiences have a lasting impact on our overall well-being.

One experience that resonates with me personally is travelling to new places. There is something about exploring a new city or country that makes me feel alive and invigorated. According to a study by the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, travelling can have a positive impact on our physical and mental health. The study found that women who vacationed at least twice a year had a significantly lower risk of heart attack compared to those who only vacationed every six years or less. Additionally, travelling has been shown to reduce stress, increase creativity, and improve our overall mood.

Research has shown that having strong social connections is crucial for our happiness and well-being. In a study conducted by Harvard University, it was found that people who have strong social connections are healthier, happier, and live longer than those who are socially isolated. Spending time with loved ones or making new friends can also increase your sense of belonging and purpose, is an enjoyable path to mental fitness.

storytelling around a bonfire and how the feel good experience positive impacts your mental health

The power of experience and how it provides a sense of purpose and meaning

Experiences have the power to provide us with a sense of purpose and meaning in life. When we engage in activities that align with our values and passions, we feel a sense of fulfilment that cannot be replicated by material possessions.

Research has shown that experiences help us create a narrative of our lives, which gives us a sense of purpose and direction. According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, people who have a sense of purpose in life are more likely to experience positive emotions and have better overall well-being. This is because having a sense of purpose gives us a reason to get up in the morning and pursue our goals, which can increase our motivation and drive.

Moreover, experiences allow us to connect with others and build meaningful relationships. When we engage in activities with others, we create shared experiences that can bring us closer together and foster a sense of belonging. This is why group activities such as sports, volunteering, or attending concerts can provide a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.

For example, volunteering can provide a powerful sense of purpose and meaning. According to a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, people who volunteer have higher levels of life satisfaction and a greater sense of purpose in life. This is because volunteering allows us to use our skills and talents to make a positive impact in the world, which can be incredibly fulfilling.

taking walks connects you with nature and helps your mental health

Dr Marina Nani
Dr Marina Nani

Editor-in-Chief of Rich Woman Magazine, founder of Sovereign Magazine, author of many books, Dr Marina Nani is a social edification scientist coining a new industry, Social Edification.
Passionately advocating to celebrate your human potential, she is well known for her trademark "Be Seen- Be Heard- Be You" running red carpet events and advanced courses like Blog Genius®, Book Genius®, Podcast Genius®, the cornerstones of her teaching.
The constant practitioner of good news, she founded MAKE THE NEWS
( MTN) with the aim to diagnose and close the achievement gap globally.
Founder of many publications, British Brands with global reach Marina believes that there is a genius ( Stardust) in each individual, regardless of past and present circumstances.
"Not recognising your talent leaves society at loss. Sharing the good news makes a significant difference in your perception about yourself, your industry and your community."

Articles: 312

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