Two people holding hands

This week’s blog is about the neurotransmitters that are significant for wellbeing, and there are four of them. The acronym is DOSE – like a dose of happiness and a dose of wellbeing.

D is dopamine
O is oxytocin
S is serotonin
E is endorphins

There’s lots of different ways that you can generate dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. But the one thing that all these neurotransmitters have in common, is human touch – I thought that was really interesting. Thinking about human touch helps us to produce dopamine in a really positive way and it allows us to generate feelings of oxytocin.

Dopamine makes you feel really good – it’s basically what’s stimulated to encourage us to repeat those behaviours, and it connects with the reward part of the brain.

Oxytocin (which I spoke about recently) is the love hormone, the bonding and connection neurotransmitter that makes us feel very good about doing something, and it makes us feel connected.

Serotonin is what’s believed to be a mood stabiliser, so it’s good to have high amounts of serotonin in the brain and also in the gut – most of it is in the gut (depending on who you believe). We can eat our way to good serotonin, we can get it from light and light exposure for example.

Endorphins typically is what we think of as exercise related, but there are lots of other ways you can produce endorphins as well.

The thing they all have in common is human touch.

For example, massages are extremely good for both serotonin, but also to a degree, endorphins and dopamine. A massage would also be relevant for oxytocin because it’s about connection, it’s about human contact.

Have a think about the different ways that you get human contact, whether it’s eye contact, or it’s physical touch. And obviously this can be sensual, but that’s not really what I’m getting at, although that is an important aspect of our wellbeing – human contact at a sensual and a sexual level.

Maybe it’s holding somebody’s hand, or maybe it’s shaking someone’s hand, and putting your other hand over that, to solidify that connection. It’s hugging, it’s little bits of touch, little bits of tactile behaviour, obviously appropriately done in the right dynamic!

But remember not to force it if it doesn’t feel comfortable either, and find a way that you can do it which does feel comfortable.

Human contact is so important for wellbeing and I think we’ve fallen off a little bit away from that and been a little reticent to do it – when it makes people feel really good about things.

So have a bit of a think about human contact. How can you put more of that in a way that you’re comfortable with, that the person you are liaising with is comfortable, and see how that makes you feel.

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  • Leanne is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. She delivered a TEDx talk on 'Why fitness is more important than weight', is the author of bestselling books 'Remove the Guesswork' and 'Rise and Shine', and hosts a podcast called ’Remove the Guesswork‘. Leanne is the founder of Bodyshot Performance, an award-winning health and wellbeing company. Bodyshot Performance work with businesses of up to 500 people who want to create a culture of energy, vitality and performance through the business and position wellbeing as a competitive advantage. Bodyshot intersect the latest science and technology to provide unique solutions to the challenge of wellbeing in the workplace that have a direct impact on the bottom line. Our clients have won awards for wellbeing and recognise it directly improves employee engagement and retention and attracts talent into the business.  We also work with chronically stressed or burned out professionals to get you back in control of your health and able to do the things you want to do in life. My expertise is around health, fitness and wellbeing, specifically focusing on sleep, mental health, energy, body composition, digestion and fitness. I host a popular podcast on iTunes called ’Remove the Guesswork ‘, and in November 2016 I delivered a TEDx talk on 'Why fitness is more important than weight'. I’m the author of the bestselling books 'Remove the Guesswork' and 'Rise and Shine' and I regularly speak to corporates on health and wellbeing. My personal values are to live truthfully, considerately and to "suck all the marrow out of life" as Thoreau said. I support the charity Diversity Role Models which works to combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. I recently completed the world’s toughest ski race to raise £10,125 for Alzheimer's Research as my father-in-law was profoundly ill with Alzheimers, and I am on a constant mission to find ways to live in a way that is sustainable and environmentally friendly. I love sport, fitness, reading, gardening, business, podcasting, and being with my cat and our scampish little rescue dog, Kami from Romania.