Your body produces six key chemicals that directly influence how you feel, how you act, and how you can do better. In short, they are your success chemicals teens produce…and you already produce them naturally every day! There are good results and bad results from these chemicals. When you understand them and harness their positive power, they can help you succeed in life from your teen years onward. And if you are a Mom and Dad and are reading this, no worries, you can harness them, too!
You Control Their Production
Did you know you are your own success powerhouse? Well, you are. That means that once you understand about these success chemicals teens produce, you can take action to produce more of them when you need them. We’ll show you how. We’ll also give you tips about keeping a natural balance with some of the chemicals. Ready? Let’s dive into those six success chemicals teens produce.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is often called the happy chemical, and it contributes to your wellbeing and happiness. It is released by your brain every time something positive happens to you. It’s a confidence booster! There are studies that show that positive boost is contagious, too. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are receiving an award in front of a crowd of people at school. When they call your name and you walk across the stage, that status recognition triggers serotonin in you. Your parents and others witnessing this event also “catch” some of the serotonin boosts. Later, in your professional life, the same thing happens when you are socially recognized and experience the pride that occasion brings.
Getting More: The key here is that while social recognition can be unpredictable, you can find many excellent routes to serotonin boosts throughout your life. One is self-respect. Take note yourself when you have a positive influence on others or when you have accomplished something noteworthy in your life, regardless of what others say. You will get the same serotonin boost.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters known as your natural pain-killers and they are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus during strenuous physical exercise. They originally came about to help you survive, and today you need to find the right balance to keep you healthy and well. For example, you don’t want to walk on a broken leg (too much endorphin). But you do want to push through your exercise pain and reap the benefits, and you do want to promote your well-being (just the right amount of endorphin).
Getting More: Some positive ways to increase your endorphin levels are to strenuously exercise, eat chocolate or spicy foods, dance to music and laugh every day! Hey, laughing is serious business. These activities have all been shown to release endorphin.
Dopamine motivates you. It is a neurotransmitter that helps control the reward and pleasure centers in your brain. And here’s the powerful part of all this – dopamine kicks in BEFORE you actually perform your task! Its real power is that it encourages you, motivates you, to act and achieve your goal. Once you anticipate something good is about to happen, you get a dopamine spike. Beware, though, that it has a down side because it can be addictive. You also feel a dopamine rush every time you check your social media accounts, pull the slot machine lever, or even use drugs or alcohol. You can become a dopamine-chaser, and this addictive behavior can be destructive if unchecked.
Getting More: So if you want to increase your dopamine in a positive way, just set a goal and achieve it! And this can be done in increments. Every time you take the simple, tangible step of writing a goal down, you get a dopamine release. Checking that goal off your list once you accomplish it? You guessed it, another dopamine release. Does your goal have to be a go-getter goal, or will a baby step goal work? They both produce a dopamine release! Just make sure that most of your goals are in the go-getter range. Don’t become conditioned to feeling good through dopamine with no or little effort on a regular basis; in the end, that is also a destructive habit.
Our next chemical is oxytocin, a hormone that acts like a neurotransmitter that is involved with childbirth and breast-feeding and is also associated with trust, bonding and relationship-building. It’s referred to as the love hormone, but it also impacts positive social behaviors, contributes to relaxation, and appears to reduce stress responses. It’s an antidote to depressive feelings. So, healthy levels of oxytocin contribute to your well-being. And oxytocin cancels out too much dopamine. The more oxytocin you have, the less you think you have to chase dopamine to feel good. However, there is a dark side here, as well. Too much oxytocin can fuel prejudice, envy or even aggression.
Getting more: How can you increase oxytocin in a positive way? Physical contact, such as hugging, making eye contact, getting a massage, and even shaking hands, can boost your oxytocin levels. When you shake hands with others, you are also building trust. Do you have a dog or a cat? Playing with them boosts your oxytocin levels for both of you! Other things you can do are to give someone you care about a gift, talking with friends, physical exercise, mediation and even listening to relaxing music. So, let’s get that oxytocin flowing in a positive way! Just make sure you don’t get too much of a boost!
Those are the first 4 success chemicals teens produce. If you have any questions about any of these chemicals, you should consult your doctor. In Part 2 of Six Success Chemicals Teen Produce Naturally, we’ll talk about the final two chemicals, cortisol, and testosterone.
Your Success Is Your Choice
For you to achieve all you want to in life, you must be healthy. However, being healthy does not just happen. You must choose to do activities that support your own health and well-being, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, having a hobby, and letting go of stress. You must schedule these into your day just like you plan time for friends, work, learning and helping others.
By taking care of your body, you are taking care of your success. It’s a foundational move. It’s your choice.