Have you wondered why some experiences and people who enter our life can make us smile and feel happy? When we feel happy and carefree, it spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing hormones. What part of the brain triggers these emotions? And of all the goals we may pursue, happiness should be at the top of the list. The human brain has over 100 billion nerve cells and is wired with neurons connections. The limbic system is a part of the brain involved in our behavioral and emotional responses, such as memory storage and retrieval, fight or flight responses, intense emotions, and repeating behaviors.
Happiness results from a flurry of hormones that our brain releases in response to certain activities or events. So what are these happiness hormones, and what exactly do they do in the body?
Here are the four main happiness chemicals in your body:
- Dopamine: Pleasure – Motivational role in brain's reward system
- Serotonin: Mood stabilizer – well-being, happiness
- Endorphins: Primarily help one deal with stress and reduce feelings of pain
- Oxytocin: Bonding – Love and trust
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) released by the brain. One of its primary functions is helping us feel pleasure when the body's limbic system is activated through the food we eat, our thoughts, and our activities.
Many refer to it as the "reward chemical or the happy hormone." Dopamine may play a vital role in addiction, too, as it is most notably involved in helping us feel pleasure. Dopamine levels rise when someone takes drugs, drinks alcohol, goes shopping, or eats cookies. When we trigger a dopamine release, it reinforces behaviors that can leave you craving more, which is why dopamine may also play a vital role in addiction.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found in the brain, intestines, and blood platelets. It has a variety of functions, including regulating mood, sleep, and appetite. Serotonin is produced by the amino acid Tryptophan, found in many foods, including poultry, fish, and legumes. It is known to help produce healthy sleeping patterns and boost your mood.
Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers, and the chemicals are produced naturally by the nervous system to cope with pain or stress. The brain releases them in response to physical or emotional stress and exercise! Endorphins act as a bridge between your thoughts and emotions and a sense of well-being so that when bad things happen, it doesn't seem so bad because endorphin levels spike.
The best way to boost endorphin production? Exercise!
Oxytocin is a hormone best known as "the love hormone." It helps us cope with stress and decrease our pain sensitivity. Oxytocin can also have a positive effect on certain mood disorders. The levels of oxytocin increase when we hug, touch, have sex or be near a loved one, which explains why attachments can be formed when our emotions are more intense.
Happiness is a habit and by adjusting our routine and cultivating good habits, things can change. Many things influence our moods, and even though it may not always be easy, the benefits are worth it.
- Eat well
- Get more vitamin D
- Get plenty of sleep
What's your happiest moment?
Stay healthy with Roex Happiness 1-2-3
* FDA Disclaimer
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Please consult your health care professional before using any product.