science of happiness | new empowered you | hypnotherapy

The Science of Happiness 4: Innate Painkiller & “Do Something Now”

If you read my earlier post, “The Science of Happiness: What is Happiness?“, you learned about the happiness of belonging, trust, social status, and dominance.

You learned that the purpose of both happiness and stress is to serve survival purposes. But understanding nature’s mechanism can help you to live a happier life.

In this post, learn how to hack and leverage the happiness of innate painkiller, or oblivion, masking pain.

Also, read about the urge to “do something now” when you experience any discomfort and how to deal with it.

Oblivion masking pain

You feel high when training up to the point of pain. This pleasure is experienced due to the release of the happiness hormone endorphins, our innate painkiller.

But the more you train, the fitter you become. That makes it harder to reach a point of pain. 

Moreover, exercising too hard may damage your tissues and deplete your body of essential nutrients.

Leveraging Happiness of Innate Painkiller


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Laughing releases fear and tension and gives relief. It releases a certain amount of endorphins. 

Would you like to laugh more often? Sure, you do. 

Then, think of what and who makes you laugh and how you can make yourself happier by laughing more frequently and regularly. Make an action plan.

Did you know there are English stand-up comedy places in major Dutch cities like The Hague, Amsterdam, and Leiden?


Letting go through crying gives you relief and releases endorphins, too.

Watching an emotional, touching video or movie, reading a book, or a social media post can trigger your emotions and help you cry and release tension.

Don’t forget that tears are not necessarily caused by sorrow but by gratitude and appreciation. Do you allow yourself to be moved and feel by these noble emotions?

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Deliberate Stress Exposure

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Deliberate stress exposure, like fasting and cold and heat exposure, are further ways that give you a healthy portion of suffering and the happiness of pain oblivion. 

Additionally, they bring countless health benefits, protecting you from the harmful effects of stress and securing healthy longevity.

Exercise Wisely

NOVELTY in Exercise

The more you train, the stronger you become, and the more difficult it becomes to reach the painful point and release of endorphins.

Switch regularly between different types of exercise and muscle groups. This way, reaching the pain point and endorphin release stays achievable and spares your muscles and joints.


Stretching during Yoga or Pilates is a mild and effective way to generate beneficial pain and happiness due to the release of endorphins and all other known benefits.

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“Do something now!”

When you experience pain or discomfort, physical, mental, or emotional, you feel the urge to escape it immediately and react to it instantly. 

Moreover, you don’t even need to experience any emotional or physical pain. It is sufficient that your unconscious mind recognizes a potential source of pain based on your previous life experience. 

That means that this happens without you being aware of it. And you might notice only your irrational, compulsive reaction.

A mere possibility of pain can raise cortisol levels and cause stress and anxiety. 

For example, if, as a child, you experienced rejection, you might have a fear of rejection and therefore avoid socializing. 

And this urgency is one thing about (un)happiness that goes wrong and causes the “do-something-now” effect.


Some clients feel sad or stressed, and to quickly feel better, they grab something to eat. And later, they reach out for more and more. This turns into a pattern.

As you know, these are not carrots or lettuce they long for but addictive, sugary, high-fat, and processed foods. With time, inevitably, this behavior causes weight issues and, later, all sorts of health issues.

If you recognize such compulsive behavior or cravings, you have formed it early in life. Maybe your parents gave you sweets to calm or reward you, or you copied unhealthy eating behavior from them.

Some other “do-something-now” reactions are anger bursts, avoidance, procrastination, food cravings, smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, spending hours in front of screens, having love affairs, rushing into relationships with unsuitable partners, etc.

These specific ways and conditions comfort and distract you from unhappy feelings. And they are hard-wired in the brain.


The more we use accessible substances that make us happier, the less pleasure they give, the worse we feel without them, and the more we crave them. We become addicted.

The stronger the initial effect, the stronger the addiction becomes.

Of course, you know rationally that such behavior harms you. But if you succeed in suppressing unhealthy behavior for a short while (think of dieting or withdrawing), you become unhappy and suffer. 

After making a conscious effort, you fall back to your old behavior. So, it is hard to get rid of such behaviors.

Leverage Happiness – Become Choosy 

You can learn to deal with the triggers of the “do-something-now” reaction and develop new ways to deal with them without any side effects.

For sustainable, long-term happiness, you must understand and be well aware of the 2nd and 3rd order consequences of your choices and actions. The 2nd and 3rd order benefits will make you happy in the long run.

An effective strategy is firstly exchanging an unhealthy habit for a healthier alternative. Secondly, hold onto it for about one month. This leads to a reset of your nervous system (dopamine reset).

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When you succeed in creating a new behavior, it will make you happier in the long run. And this will also bring long-term benefits, like normalization of body weight, improved relationships, healthy intimate relationships, or success in your career.

My one-month program is designed to help clients change their automatic, unconscious behavior for new behaviors that serve them better, resolve long-term issues, and make them happier. You can book a free discovery call to talk about your situation and how this program can help you here:


You can leverage your happiness using the natural painkilling mechanism.

This is triggered by

  • physical pain during physical exercises, weight training, long runs, stretching
  • deliberate stress exposure to cold and heat, and fasting
  • laughing and crying

The “Do something now” impulse leads to compulsive behavior and gives short-term relief but fails to create sustainable happiness, leading to lasting health, professional, and relationship problems.

Making choices that bring you the 2nd and 3rd order benefits serves you better.

Read next:

The Science of Happiness 5: Motivation & Persistence


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