Painting makes me happy! It’s something I enjoy, very likely because of the happy chemicals that are released from my limbic system when I paint. For example, you get a surge of dopamine when you try or anticipate something new. So I get a surge of dopamine when I see a scene I want to paint and start planning, composing and imagining the new piece. Serotonin surges when you experience success or pride in a job well done. I’ve painted for long enough (decades, in fact) to get the occasional surge of seratonin when a piece turns out well. Last, oxytocin, the “bonding” or “love hormone” (Breuning, 2016) is released when you engage in physical or social affection. I enjoy completing meaningful paintings for people…like a beloved home or pet. Someone who asks me to paint their dog that just passed away, may hug me or shed tears of gratitude when I present the finished painting. That bonding process no doubt creates a surge in Oxytocin for me and them.
What do you do to get these happy chemicals flowing? If your feeling depressed, there are some scientifically-proven things you can do to boost these chemicals naturally. It would increase my own happiness chemicals to help you! For starters, if you haven’t tried counseling, we can get your dopamine flowing just by scheduling an appointment.
In the meantime, if you want to learn how to boost these happy chemicals on your own you can read Loretta Graziano Breuning’s (2016) book: Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Seratonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin & Endorphin Levels .