Pushing The Right Buttons: Programming Our Bodies For Happiness

Our bodies are complex machines and, like any decent piece of kit, they have buttons to tap into different functionalities. Trouble is, our human form doesn’t have clearly marked keys, so where’s our ‘happiness switch’ and how do we find it?

Taz Thornton
11 min readJun 16, 2019


I’VE started experiencing panic attacks. I’m a 45-year-old woman and I have never experienced these awful episodes before in my life. I’ve been through stress, anxiety, depression, even a breakdown, but never, ever panic attacks.

Let’s just address the huge pink elephant in the room (no, not me, you cheeky blighter!) — I’m at *that* age, and yes, I could be beginning a slow tango with the menopause.

On doing a bit of research, I discovered that it’s not unusual for women to experience adrenaline peaks as our bodies start to move into menopause, which is why so many of us get pummelled by panic, but that’s for another article. In this one, I want to talk about understanding our bodies and learning how to tune them into the mood frequency we desire.

Nowhere to hide

The last time one of these panic attacks hit, I found myself hyperventilating, shaking from the inside out, feeling a sense of impending doom, tears streaming for no reason and wanting to make myself as small as I possibly could and take cover. I was in my living room. There was nowhere to hide, unless I pulled a blanket over my head and risked being trampled over by three dogs (including a fat Labrador) who’d probably assume I was playing a game.

I ended up sitting up a corner, perched on a slam ball (yes, I have bits of workout kit in my living room — don’t you?), trying to will my breathing to slow down, if only to restore the feeling to my lips and the tip of my nose.

I’m still not sure what made me do it, except the deeply ingrained knowledge that I needed to do something — anything — to change my state, but I blindly grabbed for a dumbbell.

After about 30 reps, my mood started to change. At the risk of sounding overly poetic…



Taz Thornton

3 X TEDx speaker, bestselling author, award-winning confidence & visibility coach. Creator of the #UnleashYourAwesome empowerment & #ProjectArtemis programmes.