The Happy Chemicals in Our Brain
Happiness is what we all seek in this busy world but do you know how our mind perceives happiness? Let's explore how this simple but equally complex emotion is perceived and processed by the human body. We love to be happy and there are ways by which we can achieve this goal. Short term goal which can be made into a long-term achievement of an individual by adopting some simple habits in our lifestyle.
Let’s get started and dive deeper into the processing of the human brain and the chemicals which boost our happiness and help in every other activity eventually.
After all, a happy person is a healthy person!
The first chemical which paves our way to a happy self is DOPAMINE, also known as the Reward Chemical.
This is a word which is mentioned occasionally in many TV shows and health shows, but most of us don’t really know what this does and which activities or experiences lead to the production of dopamine in our bodies. In simple words, we can consider dopamine as the sweet candy we got for answering a correct answer in kindergarten. Yes, it is exactly like that candy and its effects are like the sweet taste of that candy. Dopamine is released when something that brain considers good happens to us or whenever our actions are acknowledged for good & positive. That happy feeling we get when we get likes on a social media post, that compliment we got for the dress we wore the other day; all count for dopamine release which makes us feel rewarded and proud. And like the candy, this does not last for long but is essential for us to go through our routine activities and efficiently perform those activities.
There are certain ways we can get more of it in our daily life. Self-care is one of the ways in which dopamine gets released and makes us happy. Celebrating our small achievements on a regular basis also helps. It is always important to take our mind off stressors and celebrate life.
Next chemical which is not only known for the effect it has on our mood but also holds the solution to many of our problems related to stress and emotional imbalance is called oxytocin and is also known as the hugging drug as it is released through physical contact. Being an excellent healer, this boosts our immune system and benefits our body in multiple manner. Oxytocin is also called the ‘love hormone’ as the feeling of love and trust comes from oxytocin. Since we are social animals, this chemical is what builds the foundation of our interactions and helps us function effectively in society.
Oxytocin helps us be calmer and patient in stressful situations and make us better at dealing with relationships. This chemical holds a lot more to itself than we know of, with some studies revealing its abilities to heal physical wounds at a faster rate.
Isn’t this fascinating? Are you not wondering how we can ensure release of this important chemical in our bodies? The answer to this tedious question is pretty simple. Simple acts like hugging a person results in oxytocin release in the receiver as well as the hugger. Opening up to someone at an emotional platform releases this chemical and can also be helpful in dealing with difficult situations that one might be facing. Playing with a dog or a pet or spending time with a baby, helps in release of oxytocin hormone with a bonus of lifetime benefits for our body and mind.
So, what are you waiting for? Hug yourself, Go out of your room and hug your family and friends (virtual hug also works). Give a sweet compliment to someone and help them feel better and experience the amazingness yourself :)
The third supporter of our happy feels is known as Serotonin a.k.a. the mood stabilizer. This is also a chemical related to social interactions like oxytocin but functions in a different way. It is often related to the achievements of an individual and the way other people recognise the achievement. Appreciation for success is what drives us to improve ourselves and do better in the next leagues in our journey. Serotonin works in a similar fashion.
Like other chemicals, even this happy chemical is not limited to happiness. It helps in improving the bone growth in body, affects digestion and organ development. Winning at a game with friends, or completing a project which we have been working on for a long time; give a sense of pride which is unmatched helping release Serotonin. Remember that last part of chocolate in the ice cream cone which makes us crave for more, serotonin is the boost of happiness we get after achieving our goals and motivates us to do better and better.
Are you thinking of more interesting ways this chemical gets released in our bodies? It is not
limited to the feeling of pride, there are many ways we can achieve this natural mood stabilizer for ourselves. A relaxing walk, riding a bicycle, having that sweet exposure of sun, meditating and the like can help in the release of Serotonin and make us feel good and positive.
Lastly, we will be looking at Endorphins. Sounds familiar?
We have all heard of this chemical many times. It is something that we have read in our science classes in high school and is as fascinating as sounds, endorphins does wonders for our body. Building our first wall of defence against pain, endorphins are known as our body’s natural pain relievers.
Often released in situations of physical stress or pain, these help us fight pain and also lets us experience amazing moments of happiness. Endorphins are like the best thing to have ever happened to us and helps us get through the most difficult times smoothly with a genuine smile on our faces.
A little effort and great pleasure - that’s how we define the feeling with endorphins. Joining a gym can sound very difficult at first but the boost we get after our first work out session help us get rid of all the apprehensions and makes us adjust into a tough routine giving some exceptional results at the end, endorphins work in the same way.
There are endless number of ways in which we can cultivate this chemical in our bodies. A small session of exercise at the start of the day can be amazing for the brain, watching a comedy show, hilarious laughter exercises and even a small piece of dark chocolate can result in release of endorphins helping us deal with stress in a healthy manner.
Our journey towards a happy self is a long one and has many elements on the way. These chemicals just pave this beautiful path and help us know the real meaning of happiness. Knowing the science behind their working is one of the ways in which we can make this journey better.
We now are aware of how these happy chemicals affect our bodies and improve our health. It is time we start working on getting these hormones released in ample quantities and experience the euphoria ourselves.
P.S. Don’t Forget to Smile :)
Authored by Arsh Aggarwal (Intern, Clownselors)
Edited by Clownselors