Most of us have been conditioned to believe that it’s the experiences in our lives that make us happy … or not. While it is easier to be happy when circumstances are pleasant, can’t we find reasons to be happy even when current conditions make it a challenge?

Fortunately, the answer is “yes.”

What does it take to manufacture happiness? It starts with the chemicals in our brain that send us a signal that we are happy.

Let me take this opportunity to “lower the bar” where happiness in concerned.

If we are evaluating our degree of happiness, we might expect to be running down the beach doing cartwheels … brimming with overwhelming joy.

But, that “over the top” experience of joy is not what we’re aiming for. Rather, we’re wanting to create a sustainable feeling of satisfaction and contentment.

The easiest way to experience happiness or satisfaction is to intentionally create a rush of happy chemicals in your brain. Here are a couple of suggestions.

  • A dose of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that is released whenever you experience something new or novel. You can create a dopamine rush by planning a vacation, especially to someplace new.

What’s on your bucket list? Where would you like to go? Start planning it and the dopamine will follow.

  • An ounce of oxytocin. Oxytocin is the relationship chemical. Have you ever wondered why we have such a strong desire to mate? When we feel loved by our mate, our brain is washed in oxytocin.

Caution: Long-term relationships can begin to feel more like a business partnership, which doesn’t have the same effect.

When you’re falling in love, you’re under the influence of “newness drug.” It’s a powerful combination of dopamine and oxytocin that makes the new relationship feel so satisfying.

In the early stages of a relationship, we might actually run down the beach doing cartwheels!

Rather than looking for a new partner, let’s manufacture oxytocin by practicing some self-care. One of the healthiest ways to experience a quick dose of oxytocin is to get a massage.

There are other happy brain chemicals that can be manufactured with a bit of intention.

The next time you feel like happiness is just out of reach, get creative. Think of how you might manufacture happiness. It can be done!

Dr. Gala Gorman is a Certified Natural Health Professional and co-founder of the Delta Discovery Center.