Summertime usually brings to mind images of sunny beaches, barbecues, and endless fun. For some teens and young adults, summer can be a time of sadness and isolation, which is often referred to as the “Summer Blues.” Ever heard of Lana Del Rey's hit "Summertime Sadness" or Girl in Red's “Summer Depression” ?
The Summer Blues can be due to various factors such as changes in routine, social isolation, or heightened expectations for the “perfect” summer. This kind of sadness is not unusual and acknowledging it is the first step to overcoming it.
Harnessing the Power of Happy Chemicals:
Our brain is a powerful tool in managing our moods. By understanding and utilizing the four happy chemicals – dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins – we can steer ourselves towards more positive emotions.
1. Dopamine - The Reward Chemical:
Dopamine is released when we achieve something we have set out to do. Teens and young adults can set small, achievable goals throughout the summer. These goals can be as simple as reading a book or learning a new recipe. Each accomplishment will trigger the release of dopamine, leading to improved mood and motivation.
2. Serotonin - The Mood Stabilizer:
This chemical is responsible for stabilizing our mood. One way to boost serotonin levels is by engaging in outdoor activities. Exposure to natural sunlight is a known mood enhancer. Encourage walks in the park, or even just spending time in the yard.
3. Oxytocin - The Love Hormone:
Oxytocin is known as the bonding chemical. Spending time with loved ones or engaging in acts of kindness can lead to the release of oxytocin. Teens and young adults can benefit from spending time with friends or family, even if it’s through a video call.
4. Endorphins - The Pain Killer:
Endorphins help in alleviating pain and stress. Physical activities such as running, swimming, or even dancing to your favorite summertime tunes, can trigger the release of endorphins.
It’s important for teens and young adults to realize that it’s okay not to be happy all the time. However, taking charge of one’s mental well-being by understanding and leveraging the brain's chemistry can be empowering.