+61-409-869-664 jan@brainpotential.net
Leadership Neuroscience

Every one of us has four naturally-occurring, essential brain chemicals that impact upon your performance, mood and general wellbeing.  When aware of these chemicals, we can better utilise them for optimal health and performance in all areas of life.  Those four chemicals are dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins.  In this article, I’m going to outline what each one is responsible for and what you can do to boost your levels.


Dopamine for optimal health and performance

Dopamine is the reward chemical or the feel-good neurotransmitter.  When optimised, dopamine serves as a catalyst for sharpened focus, heightened productivity, and enhanced mood regulation. It can foster a sense of accomplishment, reinforcing positive behaviours and fostering resilience in the face of adversity. From bolstering the immune system to fine-tuning motor function, the release of dopamine is important for creating a state of vitality.

Some things that may increase your dopamine levels include:

  • Completing a task (even a small one)
  • Doing self-care activities
  • Eating healthy food – particularly high protein foods
  • Celebrating little wins
  • Exercise
  • Get some sunshine
  • Practice healthy sleep habits
  • Reduce stress
  • Meditate
  • Do yoga
  • Have a massage


Oxytocin for optimal health and performance

Oxytocin, often referred to as the ‘love hormone,’ lies at the core of our emotional connectivity and social cohesion.  Its impact on human behaviour extends to creating feelings of attachment, nurturing a sense of security, and even influencing altruistic tendencies. By nurturing interpersonal relationships and strengthening social bonds, oxytocin lays the foundation for heightened resilience, improved cardiovascular health, and enhanced stress management. Its influence on reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation can improve cognitive function and increase focus for optimal health and performance.

Oxytocin levels can be increased through activites such as:

  • Playing with a cat/dog/baby
  • Holding hands
  • Have a massage
  • Hugging a family member
  • Giving a compliment
  • Gaze into the eyes of someone you love
  • Give a gift
  • Meditate
  • Do yoga
  • Enjoy meaningful social interactions with friends
  • Listen to music that makes you feel good


Serotonin for optimal health and performance

Serotonin, often recognized as the ‘mood stabiliser’ neurotransmitter, serves as a regulator of emotional well-being and cognitive function.  In addition to mood, serotonin also influences appetite regulation, sleep quality and memory consolidation – that’s why when you are tired, you crave more junk food! 

Serotonin creates a feeling of contentment and inner peace as well as a stable emotional foundation essential for resilience in challenging times.  When you have optimal levels of serotonin, you may find yourself in a state of mental clarity with improved decision-making and sustained focus.  You’ll also likely find your digestive system working well and your internal body clock is letting you know when it’s time to go to sleep.

Some ways to naturally increase your serotonin levels are:

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy diet – including foods high in tryptophan such as eggs, salmon, corn, poultry, cor, seeds and nuts
  • Get some sunshine
  • Reduce stress
  • Practice gratitude
  • Meditate
  • Get out in nature
  • Laugh
  • Hug a loved one
  • Have a massage


Endorphins for optimal health and performance

Endorphins, are the body’s ‘natural painkillers,’ are the superheroes behind that post-workout high and the giddy feeling after a good laugh. These tiny powerhouses not only help take the edge off pain but also enhance overall well-being and performance. When you’re breaking a sweat or engaging in activities that get your heart pumping, endorphins kick into gear, leaving you with a sense of euphoria and well-being. Beyond pain relief, they also play a crucial role in reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and even fostering a more robust immune system.

Natural ways you can increase your endorphin levels include:

  • Eat some dark chocolate
  • Get some moderate intensity exercise
  • Meditation
  • Essential oils – rosemary, citrus, ylang ylang or frankincense
  • Have sex
  • Have a glass of wine (in moderation)
  • Laugh out loud with friends
  • Take a hot bath
  • Perform a random act of kindness
  • Have a massage
  • Dance
  • Acupuncture


So there you have it – the four naturally-occurring chemicals for optimal health and performance.  As I’m sure you noticed, there are a few activities that can boost multiple if not all four chemicals at once and I think you’ll find most of the activities mentioned provide a bit of enjoyment.  So next time you are thinking that you have too much work on to stop and play with the dog or go outside to enjoy the sunshine, remember that doing so just may increase your work performance!

This topic is just one of the many we cover in the Brain Potential Leadership Training Program – a foundational leadership program designed to increase your effectiveness as a leader.  If you’d like to find out more about the program and how it may benefit you in all areas of your life, book a free call with me today. 

For a limited time, I’m offering a special earlybird price of just $1999 if you book and pay a non-refundable $200 deposit by 30 November 2023 – that’s a massive $1000 saving!


Kind regards,

Jan Sky

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