Inspiration, life, life lessons, Living Out Loud Pub, Love and Connection, mindset

How The Four Happy Hormones Can Help Replenish Your Vitality

#3 Oxytocin, the love hormone.

by Gerthy Bingoly



The human body is a machine made to feel, an apparatus of excitement and pain, a box of emotions. Those feel good and feel bad moments are at the center of your everyday activities. The difference between waking up with a smile and jumping out of bed with a fright can drastically affect the tasks you planned to do.

Your energy levels, and without a doubt, your health, are closely related to the feelings happening in that little heart of yours. It’s a complex relationship, or rather an equation. One, I believe, we must solve every day.

When your energy level is high, you have more resources to help you during the day. From excitement to pain tolerance and from focus to willpower, you have more tools to power through the intricacies life throws at you, more means to resist the temptation of that snooze button.

On the contrary, when your energy level is low, the absence of those resources, the absence of that net, leaves you exposed to most of the negative feelings out there. Thus, the tendencies to take the path of least resistance.

Happiness has the power to bring you the energy you need. By understanding your body, you have the chance to create that feeling of well-being, joy, and contentment. Those four hormones can help you on that journey.


1. Dopamine, The Anticipation Hormone

Dopamine is known as the feel-good neurotransmitter — a chemical that ferries information between neurons. The brain releases it when we eat food that we crave or while we have sex, contributing to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction as part of the reward system.

Some twenty years ago, the little kid I was, was always excited at the start of December. Every first of the month, I would write a letter to Santa and then eagerly wait to unpack my gifts. That little action of putting words on paper was enough to make me happy and full of energy for the weeks to come.

The little kids have it a bit easier here: more things to discover and less to worry about — in most cases. As adults, you can do the same. You can use anticipation to bring happiness into your daily life.

I wake up at 4 am every Monday to Friday, and while I do my best to be in bed before 10 pm, a good night’s sleep is not the only reason why my phone and the wall haven’t met yet. I know I’m lazy, so I give myself rewards throughout the day. Every four hours, to be exact.

Early in the morning, I give myself a bit of social media time. When the sun starts waking up, just before work, it’s my cartoon time, with a bowl of cereals and some sweets. At noon, it’s lunch and fresh air. When twilight rings, I let my body sweat as I work out. And when the day is about to end, I give my body the pleasure of sleep.

It can be a food you’re eager to eat, a book you’re excited to read, someone you want to meet, an oncoming gathering with loved ones, or simply watching the sunset. In either case, you can use those little things you like to make you happier. Reward yourself.


2. Endorphins, The Soothing Hormone

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.

A lot of people exercise nowadays. You don’t even have to look on your phone, take a peek out your window long enough, and you’ll see someone jogging outside. While some people train for a competition or simply to stay in shape, you can use it to be a little happier.

You don’t have to work out for one hour every day. You don’t even have to go to the gym. Fifteen minutes in the comfort of your home is enough. Sweat a bit, don’t forget to stretch and take a good shower — a simple formula of happiness.

Exercising is good for the focus it provides, it’s a good method to center yourself and calm your emotions. And it comes with a bonus. It makes you hella proud of yourself.


3. Oxytocin, The Love Hormone

Oxytocin is typically linked to warm, fuzzy feelings and shown in some research to lower stress and anxiety. It has the power to regulate our emotional responses and pro-social behaviors, including trust, empathy, gazing, positive memories, processing of bonding cues, and positive communication.

Love can give us the strength to slay giants. Ask Goliath if you don’t believe me. It’s one of those feelings that can make you look like another person, a version of yourself you didn’t know existed. It can make you shine with confidence and unexpected willpower.

And I’m not just talking about passionate love. Any kind of love has the power to make you happy. We’re social beings. We like to be connected to people, in touch or thought.

While it is okay to be alone, and I insist on this, it is okay to be alone. It is also okay to take time for yourself, time to heal. But please, find the strength to connect with the ones you love.

Life is about balance, and nothing is created out of nothing. Every one of us is busy living his life, and most often than not, we’re not aware of the whereabouts of others. Don’t wait for happiness, don’t wait for love, take action, and go get it. It is your right, and you deserve it.

There are lots of ways to feel love.

About one month ago, I started a “hello stranger” routine (if you have a cooler name, let me know). Each time I entered any store, I took the time to talk to one person, usually the cashier or the employee on the floor. We would talk about anything, deviating from the product to life, talking about a Netflix show in a cannabis store, or about engineering in a shopping center.

Love creates love, and happiness creates happiness. Spread them, and they’ll surely come back to you. It’s contagious.

Talk to someone, call a friend, or cuddle your cat. But take action, your body and your heart will thank you for it. Though, do it at your own pace, one step at a time.


4. Serotonin, The Mood Hormone

Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes your mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. This hormone impacts your entire body. It enables brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with each other.

The phrase “you are what you eat” takes all its sense here. One thing you can do to regulate your mood hormone is to control your diet, not to reduce your weight, but to feel comfortable in your body.

Every morning, as soon as I wake up, my bottle of water is waiting for me at my bedside. A couple of sips and I’m ready to go out of bed. The human body is made of 60 percent of water, more so in the brain and the lungs, and one glass can jump-start your metabolism.

What you eat during the day also matters, particularly at lunch. I’m not a nutritionist, but a well-constructed meal of protein, veggies, and fewer carbs, does wonder for my body. And taking a short walk in the sun lightens up my mood for the rest of the afternoon.

A good night’s sleep can also help improve your levels of serotonin. And with it your mood the next morning. In the evening, a light meal usually does the trick. You don’t want to put too much strain on your stomach while Morpheus is calling you.


The Takeaway

The human body is like an engine, and like every machine, it needs fuel to rise to its full potential. That energy can be found in the small actions you take during the day, actions endowed with happiness.

And of course some days you’ll be sad. Always acknowledge your feelings, but remember that you cannot protect yourself from sadness without opening your heart to happiness.

Benjamin Franklin said:

Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life.”

You don’t have to wait for the day, and you don’t have to wait for the one. You can take action now. Life is much more enjoyable when we have the strength to live it.


ABOUT GERTHY BINGOLY

Writing about the things the eye cannot see, and looking for inspiration where my feet cannot take me. Write me a few words at gerthywrites@gmail.com or reach me on instagram.com/gerthywrites


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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Be inspired, life, mindset, People

The 8 Natural Qualities of Exceptionally Cool People

Cool isn’t just what you say, it’s what you do.


 Austin Powers. For some reason, the prolific 1960s spy who was unfrozen and thrust into an array of new assignments in a confusing ’90s world, is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of someone exceptionally cool — “Yeah, baby?”

Okay, so the main selling point of the film series was clearly imbued with the joyous sexism reminiscent of early Bond flicks, but no one can deny that the always-up-for a-good-time, lusting for life and love Austin Powers, was exceptionally cool in his own right.

Love him or hate him, Austin Powers is remarkably unique.

Have you ever observed someone and thought: “Whoa! That dude is so cool. I want to be like that.”

It is never because of what there are wearing, what they do for a living or what they own. It is because there is something about them that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Something you admire.

That’s how all exceptionally cool people are. Their way of being in the world — how they think, what they choose to do, and how they talk and move — is all part of their wildly different identity that draws others toward them.

If you’re anything like me, you may wonder how they got to be so damn cool. Is there a secret to being less-than-ordinary? Were these people just born with a magnetic personality?

Thankfully, we don’t have to be a shagadelic imitation of Austin Powers to be cool. That is because there is no one secret formula that separates what we call exceptionally cool people from the rest of us — it boils down to what and who they are, along with certain qualities that come naturally to them.

And it is something we can all easily learn and effectively reproduce in our own lives.


1. Cool is Friendliness

Sometimes it can feel as if the world is full of rude, ill-mannered and inconsiderate people.

That is very uncool.

The thing about the people we consider to be cool is that we appreciate them for their caring nature and willingness to treat others in the way they would like to be treated.

They will give you their undivided attention and you can sense their genuine interest in you. These kinds of people know that a friendly attitude makes a positive impact not only at an interpersonal level, but to the world as a whole.

Kindness creates a ripple-effect.

I don’t need to tell you that kind-hearted and friendly people attract more of the same into their lives, and that makes us want to spend more time getting to know them.

Applying the Friendliness Quality

Being kind and friendly makes you feel good about yourself — happier. Make an active choice to qualify any negative feelings with something that feels better.

All of us can take the initial move towards potential friendly behavior with others. We can all make a difference.

2. Cool is Confidence

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” — Nelson Mandala

To be clear, when I speak of confidence, I’m not talking about blind arrogance here — that’s another category altogether.

However, I am touching on the type of self-confidence and self-belief that is needed to have faith in your skills and creativity — the kind that helps you keep striving to realize your life goals and dreams.

Pretty cool.

Yes, cool people have their low days and self-doubts like everyone else, but they also have the ability to overcome the fear of the unknown, set their personal-bar high and follow through with the courage to start new things.

They are the type who continue to test their limits and skills, while forming new ideas in their quest to manifest their greatest desires. Even when those around them are still pondering how to get started.

We naturally admire these people.

Applying the Confidence Quality

Try not to confuse confidence with ego. Rarely does one equal the other. Believing in yourself is what allows you to rise up and reach your potential. Realize that self-belief has a cause-and-effect motion, exactly as Nelson Mandala said in the above-mentioned quote.

That is positive power imbued in exceptionally cool confidence.

3. Cool is Philosophy

Every exceptionally cool thought leader is a forward-thinking rebel by nature. These individuals don’t much care about authority and are fast to question the ideal moral framework with regards to traditionalism, “right human conduct” and conformity.

Austin Powers provides a groovy example of a revolutionary mindset:

“If we had known the consequences of our sexual liberation, we would’ve done things much differently, but the spirit would remain the same. It’s freedom baby.”

Those with a sense of inner-freedom are the type who naturally live their life knowing the truth of John Allen Paulos’s popular observation about life:

“The only certainty in life is uncertainty”

Very cool people are open-minded with a focus on what matters most to them — their quality, freedom and vision for life, regardless of what others think of them.

Applying the Philosophy-Quality

I’m not suggesting that you need to break the law, wave your protesting-pitchforks at the next “extremists” rally or host psychedelic orgies to be cool.

But do try to make the time for introspection — stretch your awareness to encompass self; go deep and ask the important questions — about yourself, the world and your life purpose.

Analyze stale societal conventions that may be holding you back.

You see, opening your mind to new ideas is what creates positive change, improved thought-patterns and ways of being. Philosophy in a nutshell.

4. Cool is Inspiration

Just by being who you are.

A quality many cool people demonstrate is the innate love to evoke inspiration as much as they are motivated by the inspirational qualities in others. They give and take in mutual balance as they willingly share what they know minus the airs and graces.

That is, without being condescending or expecting something in return.

I also think that cool people strive to bring out the best in you by showing trust in your potential and lending you words of encouragement. It just feels uplifting to be around someone like that; as if you don’t need to worry about being judged, scorned or undervalued, even when you mess up.

But the best thing about cool people is that they walk-the-talk — fully backing up their words with actions, showing you what you mean to them.

Real life cool people know the power in showing up for others.

We can all do that.

Applying the Inspiration Quality

Don’t do things for people and always expect the favor returned. Try not to say things you don’t mean or make promises you cannot keep.

Short and sweet — keep it real. That’s inspirational.

5. Cool is Desirable

We all want to feel seen, known, and cherished by others.

Right? It’s the feeling that drives us towards attaining love, intimacy and connection in our lives.

Attraction is the energy emanating from within that draws people closer to us. It creates desire, intrigue, and deeper connections in relationships.

What is often misunderstood about desire and attraction is the fact that it has very little to do with your outwardly appearance and everything to do with how you feel about yourself.

Attraction happens from the inside out.

One of the coolest guys I know dated my girlfriend for a number of years. He wasn’t overly attractive but he was smart with a voracious, magnetic personality, and he was funny as hell.

Humor is very cool. You know this.

Anyway, just being around my friend’s fella somehow switched my energy meter to high, and that made him a desirable person to hang out with.

Cool people are less likely to spend time trying to create an appearance that fits a particular aesthetic and more time cultivating an inner connection to who they are.

Applying the Desirable Quality

First, you must realize and internalize that desirability is not about what you wear but how you wear it, and it’s definitely not about what you do but how you do it.

Feeling like an attractive human being is about cultivating an inner-connection to who you are and standing strong within yourself as that person.

Appreciate and love who you are.

Self-love and self-care are key factors because when you feel good about yourself, others will find those same qualities highly appealing. And it’s desirable.

6. Cool is Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, express and control your emotions, and it is a very cool quality in a person.

Whether expressing honest feelings or dealing with a blow-up of some sort, it takes a certain level of intellectual capacity and self-awareness to remain “together” during the hard times.

Think about the people you consider to be cool. I bet you seldom see them acting out with anger, or slicing and dicing someone with harsh words when things don’t go their way.

Cool people keep their cool.

They understand the significance of staying under control when circumstances force them to burn out. They also realize their irrational response will achieve nothing other than to worsen the situation.

They work at dealing with problems by focusing on solutions, rather than losing their cool. And they make sure you know that you are important to them, regardless of the circumstances.

Applying Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is mindfulness-in-action — it’s the ability to empathize, communicate effectively and defuse conflict.

Be conscious of your inner-world and immediate responses by practicing mindfulness through meditation, yoga, breathing exercises; and paying attention to the moment, your body and your feelings.

7. Cool is the Language of Love

What sets exceptionally cool people apart from everyone else is that they see the good in others and don’t withhold expressing their love to the people they care about.

It touches our hearts so deeply to feel the truth and honesty of love.

Somehow, cool people are able to effortlessly touch you in the most meaningful and unexpected ways with their deepest truths, acts of humility and humble hearts. They are the type of people who show you beauty where you previously saw none, as well as restoring your faith where you most need it.

That’s what cool people do — they remind us to believe that we too are worthy of great love, beauty and kindness.

Applying the Language of Love

Truly exposing yourself to the language of love can be scary because you must allow yourself to become vulnerable. I totally get that.

However difficult it may seem, you have got to remember that love is worth every bit of putting yourself out there, as that’s what creates deeper connection and intimacy in your life experiences.

Exposing ourselves to great love and vulnerability takes courage — take a deep breath and dip your toes in a little at a time. Trust your intuition. Celebrate your ability to sense and experience love deeply in this lifetime.

That’s what makes you beautifully human.

8. Cool is Being Your Authentic Self

It may very well be impossible to always operate from your authentic self, but it is entirely possible to become aware of and connect with your authenticity. It is making the choice to merge with that immaculate, hidden part of yourself once again; learning who you really are and how to be true to that person.

Cool people know the value in authenticity and keep up the inner-work to be able to identify when their behavior or actions don’t align with their authentic nature. They realize that to experience a meaningful life is to fully embrace who they are, holding their inner-sanctuary in a place of love and forgiveness, along with the important people in their lives.

Exceptionally cool people empower others with their presence. They have a knack for making you feel cool, too, just by being around them.

Applying the Authentic Quality

To find your authentic self, you’ve got to dig beneath the layers of borrowed thought processes and learned behavior, social conditioning and expectations; as well as needless education and unnecessary moral policing.

Qualify every aspect of your life by honoring who you are. Accept, connect and strengthen how you choose to love yourself and others.

Being authentic takes real practice and effort, though it’s an important aspect of your humanity worth striving for.

Friendliness, confidence, philosophy, inspirational, desirable, emotional intelligence, love and authenticity, are all shared qualities that come naturally to exceptionally cool people.

But they won’t tell you that they are essentially good people. They won’t need to — their actions will speak loud and clear.

Now, that’s exceptionally cool.

Yeah, baby!


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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Humor, life, mindset, sexuality, Women

How to Be Effortlessly Cool

Ode to the women who make it look easy

by Jennifer M. Wilson


This is a total bait and switch title. Did you think I was going to teach you how to be “effortlessly cool”? Hell no! I have no fucking clue how to be hip! Do cool people still say “hip”? 

I wish I were the type of woman who woke up, tossed on a vintage Ramones t-shirt (I don’t think I’ve ever even heard a song by them, that’s how uncool I am), some ripped skinny jeans and…crap I don’t know what shoes would go with that outfit without looking like I tried too hard.

I want to be the woman who just looks cool and fashionable without even trying. When the outfit looks flawless, everything seems to come together.


How do you define those women who look fabulous no matter what they wear? It’s like their clothes are a tribute to their essence and their soul. A woman who looks spectacular in a business suit might look ridiculous in the same summer romper worn perfectly on another.

For me to look good, it takes effort. I can look fantastic in that business suit too, but it won’t feel comfortable on me; it’ll feel like a costume. When I wear my “standard uniform” of skinny jeans and a weird t-shirt (usually made myself because I’m a crafting nerd with a Cricut), I don’t look “effortlessly chic”. I look homeless.

So if wearing what is comfortable doesn’t inherently make a person stylish, but dressing up doesn’t make them fashionable either…what is the special sauce for those that make it look so easy and perfect?


High school is one place you never want to stand out. At least, that was the case in the 1990s. This was the era of In Living Color, when J Lo was an unknown backup dancer. Baggy oversized sweatshirts. Overalls. Air Jordans. One girl in my school followed the beat of her own drum.

I jumped to my yearbook to remember her name. I’m looking through mobs of grainy black and white pictures (my GOD kids today are lucky Photoshop exists), figuring I probably wouldn’t recognize her. Nope. BOOM. Her gorgeous smile and bouncy blond curls popped out of the page.

Her name was Sarah.

She wore hippie-style outfits. Lots of peace signs and cartoon-y flowers. Nothing like our faux hip hop clothes. In our final year of high school, she decided she wouldn’t shave her legs. Did I mention that we had a Best Legs Competition? (yeah, that’s a little inappropriate in hindsight)

Of course, Sarah won. She had legs for miles and could pull off crazy knee-high socks with bright patterns.

Anyone else straying from the teen norm and growing leg hair would be a high school pariah. Not Sarah. She didn’t give a shit. She wore shorts and skirts. It wasn’t attention-seeking; she simply didn’t care. The rest of us girls were awestruck.

Is that the definition of being “effortlessly chic”?

I would look like a clown in Sarah’s outfits. But on her, it was like she walked out of an Abercrombie for Hippies catalog. Is the key that it’s something that feels natural to who you are? Not “comfortable” like my lazy jeans and t-shirt look. But “natural”, like comfortable to the wearer but spiced up a bit.

That might be the secret.


Purging her closet to embrace minimalism, a friend of mine gave me a bag full of clothes. She works in the entertainment industry so I trust her taste in fashion better than I do my own.

While there were things I didn’t keep, I held onto a fitted orange corduroy blazer. It sounds hideous, right? I kept it for years when one day, while heading out the door wearing the usual jeans and t-shirt uniform, I grabbed it on a whim. Surprisingly, it fit me perfectly. This jacket fits as if tailored custom for me.

As I walked around work that day, I received dozens of compliments on the jacket. Even a few male employees risked HR suspension by saying, “Wow…that color on you…you look great!” and “You look really good today.”

Had I unknowingly mastered “effortlessly chic” without knowing it?


Perhaps I’ve cracked the code: The key to looking effortlessly chic isn’t wearing comfortable clothes. It isn’t wearing clothes that are too dressed up for your style. It’s the intersection of your go-to outfits with pieces outside of your typical comfort zone. Not so much that you feel self-conscious; just enough to feel like you mixed it up a little outside of your norm.

What that in mind, scroll up to the picture at the top. Unsplash Photo Woman may be used to leather and high boots, but maybe wearing animal print isn’t her jam — Boom.

Effortlessly chic. Nailed it.


About Jennifer M. Wilson

From Medium: My midlife crisis and adventures along the way. I write because in real life my humor is allegedly too sarcastic and inappropriate.

Read more of Jennifer’s work on Medium: NinjaGirl@gmail.com


This post was also published by Living Out Loud on Medium.

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