"The hormone dopamine is associated with motivation and reward. It's why you feel gumption when you set an exciting or important goal, and why it feels good to reach that goal. ..Committing to a hobby or sport can boost your dopamine."
Breuning goes on to give more details about how to boost dopamine production. To be specific, a great hobby to take up to experience this reward/accomplishment cycle would be to take up learning a musical instrument. The satisfaction and reward of hearing music that you create on the instrument you choose to develop with can be one of those boosts that she is talking about. I have posted free harp lessons on YouTube with that in mind, hoping to facilitate more people learning to play the harp.
Breuning finishes by stating, "Embrace a new goal and take small steps toward it every day. Your brain will reward you with dopamine each time you take a step. The repetition will build a new dopamine pathway…."
"Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, but it also helps regulate other functions in your body like digestion, sleep, and bone health. When it comes to happiness and how you feel every day, serotonin is important for alleviating or getting rid of depression and anxiety…. Confidence triggers serotonin.”
As you learn to play an instrument and the music begins to sound better, your confidence level will increase as well. I believe that this confidence boost of serotonin is closely related to the dopamine boost of accomplishment.
I can remember that as I started to learn to play the harp, I would not let anyone hear me because I thought I was making too many mistakes. But as I progressed, over about a year, I started to let people hear me play. And, as I began to receive compliments on the sounds of my music, my confidence level began to climb. Today, I enjoy giving concerts and receiving positive comments on my YouTube videos from people around the world.
"Oxytocin is sometimes called the "love" hormone and is associated with how people bond and trust each other. Certain activities like kissing, hugging, and having sex can trigger the release of oxytocin in the brain... You can boost oxytocin by being physically intimate with others. But besides the physical aspect, it's important to know that there's an emotional connection to how oxytocin is released," Says Breuning. She goes on to say, "Social trust is what triggers oxytocin. You can build social trust by taking small positive steps toward people."
I find this social trust exhibited as I share my music with people. Whether it be in a nursing home when I play for the resident's dinner hour and then talk with them afterward or interact with people after a concert. There are many ways that music brings people together and builds trust, while at the same time tears down barriers. When you find someone who enjoys the same music that you do, there is an instant bond that occurs; trust is strengthened, and oxytocin is produced.