Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., shares ways that you can enjoy more happy brain chemicals during summer and as summer transitions to fall.
1. Avoid negative comparisons to enjoy more serotonin.
Summertime tempts you to compare your body to others and focus on your shortcomings. It helps to know that social comparison is a natural mammalian impulse. Mammals avoid conflict by comparing themselves to others and deferring to more powerful individuals. We have inherited a brain that seeks safety by scanning for signals of who is in the position of strength. When it’s you, your mammal brain releases serotonin and it feels good. But all too often it’s not you, because your mammal brain is skilled at noticing the strengths of others. When you understand the primal origins of your urge to compare, it helps you ease up on yourself. You can retrain your brain to focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. This is harder than you expect, alas, because your brain evolved to avoid conflict with stronger individuals.