Holiday Highs

Holiday stress is upon us, but increasing your dopamine levels can turn your anxiety around.

Be kind!  When you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers react the same way as if you were the recipient of the good deed. Psychologists call this release of dopamine the “helper’s high.”

Even small gestures – holding open a door, offering to carry someone’s heavy package, smiling at a stranger – can lead to a deep level of well-being and feeling of fulfillment.

There is evidence that “giving” behaviors release the feel-good chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin (a mood-mediating chemical), dopamine (a feel-good chemical) and oxytocin (a compassion and bonding chemical).

Aim “high” this holiday season by being kind and spreading joy to others. Every interaction with someone can be an opportunity to positively impact both of your lives at this time of year, and always.

Melissa Garson