Last Updated on July 26, 2022 by Dayanand Kadella
Brain Chemicals! That causes us to experience joy, happiness, and emotional connection Dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins are the main neurotransmitters that might fuel the happy feelings you experience throughout the day (sometimes referred to as D.O.S.E.).
By sending chemicals from one neuron, or nerve, to the next, the brain interacts with itself. And this constant, quick-fire communication has a major impact on how you feel and behave every day.
These neurotransmitter molecules may be divided into two main groups: those that are excitatory, which drive brain activity, or those that are inhibitory, which are more soothing. We talk a lot about how to be happier: have strong connections, see the good in everything, and drink more water. But we don’t typically consider what makes us happy. Did you know that the high you get after a long run or bike ride is very different chemically from the warmth you get from a hug?
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Find out more about a 6 common brain chemicals and how they affect your mood and thought process.
Dopamine is a fantastic medication, despite its poor reputation! It’s intended to inspire your body to go forward incrementally toward a far-off objective. Early humans wouldn’t have been able to hunt huge beasts or reap the rewards of putting effort into long-term objectives without dopamine. Dopamine is what drives you to start a new habit today or helps you cross things off your to-do list.
If you’ve been following the continuing headlines concerning technology addiction, you’ve definitely heard about dopamine. Dopamine is what makes you feel a little bit joyful when someone comments on your Instagram post, checks a box or does a quick task.
Dopamine, however, is turning into a significant issue because of its addictive qualities and how closely it is related to our unhealthy technological habits.
Even worse, dopamine’s benefits are transient. You won’t be able to enjoy this kind of bliss for very long, and it’s probably not what you’re looking for in terms of happiness. It will only last long enough for you to complete another Candy Crush level or check another social media page on your phone.
Because it is released by the brain through physical touch with others, oxytocin is sometimes jokingly referred to as the “hugging drug.” It’s also the emotion that underlies true trust, love, and friendship. Oxytocin is one of the primary mechanisms through which humans are social creatures.
How can your oxytocin levels be raised? The greatest strategy to boost the production of this hormone is often through positive social interactions. Long embraces, working together with others, sharing a meal, offering a present, being vulnerable emotionally, and listening intently to someone.
The fact that oxytocin frequently acts in two directions makes it exceptionally wonderful. Long hugs release oxytocin into both the hugger and the recipient. An act of kindness releases a small amount of oxytocin in both the giver and the recipient.
Oxytocin can be the best ally in your quest for happiness. It can aid in reducing stress, enhancing your relationships, and fostering enduringly uplifting feelings. Even some data suggest that oxytocin may help with physical wound healing!
Another social chemical is “serotonin,” however it has a completely different mechanism of action. In the dynamics of pride, loyalty, and prestige, serotonin plays a part. Serotonin is released when we feel a sense of success or get praise from others. This may occur when you receive your graduation, finish a race, or are recognized for your efforts at work. Strong, uplifting feelings can be induced by serotonin.
It’s interesting to note that serotonin contributes to both sides of social dynamics. Serotonin drives a leader to succeed and expand their influence, garner accolades, and make headlines. However, serotonin also pushes its followers to succeed in life and not let their leader, father, or instructor down.
Because of this, when someone wins an award, the first people they thank are their parents, coach, employer, or God—or whoever they believe provides them with the support and shield they required to achieve what they did. Furthermore, serotonin causes us to feel responsible to those who provide us with safety and support by making us feel responsible to them.
Beyond only our wellbeing and enjoyment, serotonin is involved in many important bodily functions. It may have an impact on digestion, bone formation, and possibly organ growth.
Do you recognize the sensation that long-distance runners talk about experiencing? “Runner’s high,” perhaps? Endorphins cause the sensation. (Many endorphins.)
In essence, endorphins are produced in reaction to pain. They assist us in pushing our bodies over our comfort zones and persevering in the face of adversity.
Endorphins can seem like a “high” or even just a pleasant calming feeling after the pain component of the equation is removed. If you can endure a minute or two of physical agony, taking a scalding cold shower first thing in the morning, for instance, can offer you a significant surge of endorphins.
Even the happy sensation you receive from belly laughs has been theorized to be brought on by endorphins! The “pain” of your stomach muscles tightening is sufficient to cause your body to generate a little number of feel-good endorphins.
So how do endorphins compare to the other happy-making drugs?
Exercise is frequently recommended as a stress-reliever since it releases endorphins. They’re the reason why beginning a workout regimen might aid in decompression after a demanding day at the office. Endorphins are especially helpful since they are predictable!
5. Glutamate –as a Neurotransmitter.
The spinal cord and brain both contain this excitatory neurotransmitter, which is the most prevalent of all. Early brain development, cognition, learning, and memory are just a few of the critical roles that glutamate performs.
6. Norepinephrine –as a Neurotransmitter
This compound, also known as noradrenaline, can occasionally function as a hormone. Its main function is to contribute to your body’s stress reaction. It contributes to the “fight-or-flight” response by interacting with the hormone adrenaline. In some conditions, norepinephrine can be taken as a medication to raise or maintain blood pressure.
Brain Chemicals, Hormones, and the Brain it self
To feel in a regulated mood, it’s important to keep these hormones and brain chemicals in balance. A balanced diet, less stress, and exercise can help you preserve this health to some extent.
Some of these neurotransmitters; brain chemicals including norepinephrine have some influence on the body’s hormone release. Hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, melatonin, and others can have an impact on your mood or even the condition of your brain.
When you’re under stress, a hormone called cortisol is released. It can be useful at times, but if you have it for a long period, it might age you and impair your memory.
Numerous illnesses, including schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, autism, and Parkinson’s disease, are characterized by neurotransmitter imbalances. While some pharmaceuticals function like these chemicals to elicit comparable responses in your body, others target particular receptors to enable your body to receive more or less of certain chemicals.
Final Thoughts on the Brain Chemicals!
- Dopamine is known as a habit-forming chemical. A fantastic tool when utilized properly!
- The “love hormone” or “hugging medication” is Oxytocin. Oxytocin encourages social interaction and the development of loving, trusting relationships.
- The “leadership hormone” is Serotonin. Heavily influenced by pride, allegiance, and status
- The natural painkiller is Endorphins. The rush of running!
- Glutamate performs brain development, cognition, learning, and memory.
- Norepinephrine is a “fight-or-flight” brain chemical.
The article was greatly influenced by Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last. You may either watch this presentation by Simon Sinek or read the book, which I strongly suggest.
We can help evaluate whether the trends and conditions will increase or decrease our happiness if we have a basic grasp of how these hormones function. Consider this to be a primer or field guide on these substances and how they impact your happiness on a daily basis. Each of these brain chemicals has a significant impact on the physical, mental, and emotional health and functioning of our bodies. I’ve barely scratched the surface, therefore I strongly advise you to continue learning on your own. Understanding the function of these hormones can help you better grasp how they affect you on a daily basis. The more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to control those impacts and live a healthier, happier life. Seems worthwhile, no?