Dopamine and how to boost happiness

Each person experiences happiness differently.  There are differing degrees of positive emotional states brought about by brain chemistry in each of us.  The same event may invoke a different mix of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphin that make us happy.

Each of these chemicals have an important part to play in happiness.  However, dopamine seems to have the largest part to play as the drive of our pleasure / reward system in our brain. Its activity spans so many of the key positive emotional states that we commonly share as happiness: joy, bliss, butterflies in the stomach, zest for life and the drive towards achievement are some examples.

As a powerhouse of happiness, there is a great upside and downside potential.  Unfortunately, we can get our dopamine fix by some very self-destructive means like gambling, drugs and alcohol or over-eating bad foods. I myself have sought out caffeine and sugar to give me a ‘pick-me-up’ in the past and probably have gone over-board few times.  The same goes for my use of my mobile phone where, at times, it has been my constant ‘pacifier’ to help me escape during stressful periods.

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Luckily, there are some very healthy ways to boost dopamine.  On the awesome website Brainfit, Deane Alban helps readers focus on How to Increase Dopamine Naturally.  Among the tips given, a few of my favorites are:

  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Exercise (double-points for endorphins!)
  • Avocado
  • Curcumin (active ingredient in the spice turmeric)
  • Meditation
  • Creative hobbies (like wood working)
  • Green tea
  • Sauerkraut (mmmm…sour yumminess)
  • Listening to your favorite music
  • Creating and achieving short, mid and long-term goals
  • Watermelon (mmmm…sweat summer yumminess!)
  • Trying something new to learn

We’re back! 

Happy Thursday friends,

We’d like to apologize for our hiatus! But we are back with some happy news. Let’s give a huge round of applause to our very own, Travis Shumaker, for his new role as Director/HRBP-Tech Teams at Avvo.

We’ve been working hard and will be bringing you some new material starting next week! We are also expanding our HappyGeek page and planning even more exciting things for the near future. 

Come visit us again next week for a great read on Dopamine! 

International Day of Happiness: UN & Kids for a Happier Planet

Happy International Day of Happiness!  The United Nations put March 20th on the map in 2012 to focus on global happiness.  The 2016 push involves children and the lovable characters from Angry Birds to raise awareness towards making the planet happier.  Check out what the UN has going on at:  United Nations International Day of Happiness

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Announcement: Rachel McGill Joins Happywork

We are excited to announce that Rachel McGill has joined Happywork in a practitioner capacity.  Rachel is well versed in customer relations and social media management.  She will assist Happywork operations on her way towards becoming a Happywork Mentor Consultant.

Rachel also heads up Lvl 41 Rogue  focused on social media outreach and comic creation.  She is working towards her BA in Anthropology.

Welcome to Happywork Rachel!  We look forward to working with you as we build our community.

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Happy: The New (old) Productivity

I am always on the hunt for videos and papers that illustrate the benefits of happier workers and give best practices on how to do it.

In Vishen Lakhiani‘s video ‘Why Happiness is the New Productivity (The Story of Mindvalley), he gives some great background on what creates happiness at work including some nice commentary on the state of Flow.  He also provides examples from his company MindValley where they have put into place some of the same “awesomeness” that Happywork aspires to deliver to our customers.

Vishen MindValley Post

Vishen reveals how they created a gratitude website for employees, have a Friday Awesomeness Report, a dog as the Director of Public Relations, guests that come in to attend company meetings, and taking 10% off the top of the profits of the month and re-distribute to employees, and…wait for it…daily corporate group senior team guided meditations!  They even have a “sweet sugar love machine” to help all 50 employees to be able to reward, recognize and appreciating each other.  There are a number of other best practices he reveals.Everything Vishen and MindValley have going on is SO AMAZING!!  I endeavor to attend their Awesomefest some day…mmmmmmmm. Who’s with me?


Thank You Happiness Dr. Aymee Coget

First and always, thank you Dr. Aymee Coget.  I have eternal gratitude for your guidance and energy as you taught and mentored me along my path this year.  Your approach to happiness and your care for the well being of whoever you touch and for all humankind is inspiring.  The sustained success and impact of what you do for people is truly a gift that is unmeasurable.  Beyond sharing your insights into happiness, you opened your business to me and taught me far greater lessons than I would have ever dreamed.  I eagerly anticipate our future collaboration for greater happiness and well being across the world!
Dr. Aymee
Dr. Aymee has successfully developed 5 steps to sustainable happiness.  One “sink or swim” skill to her steps is well illustrated in her video ‘Happiness Bootcamp: Living in the Moment’  This video played a huge part in motivating me to reach out and connect with Dr. Aymee.  Wow am I glad I did!  Since that first day watching this video, I’ve become a bigger and bigger fan and supporter of her work.
In the spirit of the holiday season, I’d like to also share a gift from Dr. Aymee.  In the video, just before the end at about the 8th minute (7:53 to be exact), Dr. Aymee takes the participants into their heart center.   The ability to access my heart center unlocked new levels of happiness for me and will always be my most cherished gift from Dr. Aymee.
Thank you Dr. Aymee and Happy Holidays!


Our Workplace Happiness Workgroup Meetup now has a new Bellevue location!

Redmond Happiness Workgroup

We are very pleased that The Legacy Group Capital LLC has agreed to be our location sponsor for our free Bellevue Workplace Happiness Workgroup. We will get together to work on happiness on the 1st Wednesday of each month at 400 112th Ave NE Street, Suite 300 in down town Bellevue just off I-405.  The first meeting will be December 2nd from 6:00-7:30 pm.

Can’t make the 1st Wednesday workgroup? We still have our Redmond and Down Town Seattle locations on the 2nd and 3rd Wednesday of the month. Click here to see all our upcoming Meetups.  Not familiar with Meetups or don’t want to sign up with Meetup?  Send us an email at and we’ll get you on our participant list.

See you there!