Good chemicals --> Feel good (now, plus body do better)
Bad chemicals --> Feel bad
"Upping" chemicals and "downing" (calming) chemicals - and systems - regulate, but sometimes have to do battle, to get to the right high functioning balance. The high functioning balance is what it is all about if we are to "survive" at the highest level. One of your highest priorities and mandates is to constantly correct and manage in order to maintain Homeostasis
The questions and the behaviors:
What chemicals are behind how I feel now?
What chemicals do I want now and in what doses so they're aren't bad side
What do I now need to do to generate those chemicals?
You can largely control your chemicals, how you feel, and the quality of your life.
Run your chemical factory for a greater life!
These are the players
When you are...do this chemically.
These are the plays to make
The body and mind are evolved to handle one thing: survival.
If you do something that matches a pattern in the brain, it mechanically coughs up the chemicals to get you to do the right thing. If it is not toward survival, then it is a bad feeling, unhappy chemical. If it is toward survival, then it causes a good feeling, happy chemical. That's it.
RUN YOUR CHEMICAL FACTORY FOR A GREATER LIFE!
This inquiry and short documentation is not for scientic detail purposes, but for having enough knowledge how to run our bodies and the chemicals that can make life better or not, whether in balance or not in balance.
The point is that managing your chemicals help you create a feeling of well-being, which in turn creates you not only feeling better but has you feeling more resourceful so that you do more things that benefit you!
A tremendous, tremendous payoff, for just a little bit of tweeking here and there!
But I must warn you: To a large extent you are a prisoner of this part of human nature, as this chemical system drives us to behaviors that might not make sense to us, nor be what we want to do. To understand this, read Happy And Unhappy Chemicals And Our Psychology. (And then it'll lead you into habits and willpower and understanding better how to affect those.)
THESE ARE THE PLAYERS
Cortisol - "The stress hormone", has you feel bad. Metabolizes proteins and carbohydrates. Related to coping with stress and fatigue. Extremely damaging if high levels are sustained over time, such as in consistently stressing oneself. Produces quicker aging, cardiac problems, diabetes, cancer, memory loss, immune system decline, depression, etc. Read, understand, and implement: Managing Cortisol.
Happy chemicals are positive signals that feel good and lead one to get something that was an enhancement to survival in evolution.
Serotonin - Stress/worry modulation. Nicknamed the Respect/Pride chemical. Emotion/worry control, perceptions and mood modulation in response to stressful events. Deficiency in depression. Anti-depressants recycle serotonin in the brain and make it more available. Produce this to generate better sleep.
Endorphins - Mask pain, feeling of "euphoria". Related to feeling good and pleasure. Produced in response to touch, exercise.
Dopamine - Anticipating and getting rewards. Feeling of well-being, desire, energy to go for it." Produced in sex, happy thoughts, inspiration, music, sources of phenylanine are high-protein foods such as meat, cottage cheese, and wheat germ. Apples, bananas, beets, chicken, cheese, eggs, fish, watermelon, beans and legumes all boost both dopamine and norepinephrine.
The other "useful" chemicals:
Norepinephrine - Attention/focus and responding-actions control, affects the fight-or-flight response (heart rate up, glucose released, increased blood flow to skeletal muscles), stress hormone, relates to adrenaline. Meat, nuts, eggwhites to amino acids to dopamine to norepinephrine. (Too much and it becomes toxic or damaging.)
GABA - The primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It filters out irrelevant messages (static) by terminating signals from the excitatory neurotransmitters: glutamate, and its positive modulators epinephrine, norepinephrine, and PEA. GABA can be viewed as the "braking system" in the realm of neurotransmitters. Deficient GABA levels may be caused by prolonged stress and may exacerbate anxiety disorders. 5 HTP and/or theanine are useful supplements.
WHEN YOU ARE...DO THIS CHEMICALLY
Feeling down - Generate serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Feeling tired - Generate dopamine and norepinephrine (and drink lots of water!) or,
Obviously, there are medicines that work, but that is not something we are qualified to address, other than encouraging you go to a professional to see about their inclusion, carefully weighing the effects. My bias, because of what I've seen not work, is to rely on the natural means and not to get involved in throwing out the homeostasis (balance) of the body by using medicine.
THESE ARE THE PLAYS TO MAKE
Employ the short term plays as needed, but make sure you make life much easier by doing the long term plays that will benefit you the most. Short term plays are like handling the symptoms, whereas the long term plays are like curing the problem cause.
SHORT TERM PLAYS: (Enter these on "coping cards", summarizing what to do, and also, probably, in your Reminders Notebook, for easy access.) Calming the body, with relaxation (say "relax" and then just let go or count backwards as one relaxes, or tensing/relaxing) and/or breathing (5 deep breaths to the count of 5). Chemicals, such as beta-blockers and anti-anxiety drugs, can be used to block the physical manifestations of anxiety, though they don't block the emotions. See Chemicals To Reduce Depression And Anxiety.
12 minutes/day of meditation have proven to be the "optimal" trade off for effect versus time.
LONG TERM PLAYS:
Manage Stress - Accumulated cortisol that is not burned off by action damages our whole body, so it must be dealt with very quickly - and not incurred in the first place. Follow the skills in that section.
Exercise!!! - You've heard this one before. Minimum of 30 minutes walking or equivalent every day. Generates endorphins and dopamine and serotonin - many benefits. Doing it early in the morning is the most beneficial.
Stop Smoking - People smoke to generate dopamine, the pleasure chemical, getting artificial boosts and temporary relief from anxiety. But this, like any addiction used regularly, generates more anxiety (to be cured by the cause in the first place, in a never ending spiral1) and reduces the dopamine receptors, so that one is less able to experience pleasure (ironically)!!!!!
Stop Drinking Alcohol - Beyond one small drink, alcohol depresses and pickles the brain, reducing the ability for the body to function. I'd recommend stopping all "numbing" type of substance intake.
Stop All Mood-Altering Drugs - They damage your brain long term and harm your functioning currently. Very stupid and costly.
Eat Energy Protecting Foods At The Right Times - Keeping the sugar level in one's body consistent so that it does not get hyperreactive or dysfunctionally reactive, where it will abandon you when you need your body to function at the best (in stressful times and/or where energy is needed), and your mind will not function well when it is actually needed! A key effective strategy is to stop eating foods that will cause sugar drops, as that will hurt in the short term but it will destroy the body's long term abilities (as in diabetes, hyperreactivity, ADD). Meditation - Some form of smoothing out the spikes in negative thinking is necessary. When one meditates it actually trains the mind to be smoother and it also, literally (!), rewires the brain, sending signals of "safety", similar to what it gets when one stops chest breathing and breathes deep and slow. Rejuvenation Periods - A potent practice that raises creativity, calms the mind, and rejuvenates oneself so that one can be more productive, yet feel better! Herbs And Supplements - These can often be effective and contributory toward reducting the extremes of body (and also emotional) reactions that are extreme. See Nutrition And Mood.