Happiness: the right D.O.S.E - Happiness hormones
Having a child, being in love, completing a challenge, listening to your favorite music, sharing moments with friends or simply reading a good book... These moments are so good!
"Where is happiness? Where is it?" asked the great singing philosopher.
For some scientists, it depends on our genes, for psychologists, it depends on our childhood, for others everything is already written: the famous "mektoub" or destiny ...
What if we had it all wrong? What if happiness was just a simple chemical cocktail? A good old drug shot, but legal and natural.
Do you know about "happiness hormones"?
They are 4 and without them no pleasure, no pride, no relaxation, no joy...
We have to explain this to you! Here we go...
The alchemy of happiness
Where does happiness come from?
Each of us has his or her own sources or factors of happiness, often related to pleasant, personal or intimate experiences: love, family, friendship, work, hobbies, music, etc.
But we often forget that happiness is also a matter of genetics or chemistry: that of our organism. Some scientists consider, for example, that genetics have an influence on our happiness or our depression.
Thus, our body is a real dealer of happiness sending chemical doses of pleasure or satisfaction: we talk about hormones of happiness.
These hormones are molecules, released by the brain, which are also called
neurotransmitters, reminding us that they are chemical signals transmitted from one neuron to another.
Our well-being will depend on their activation and proper functioning.
What are the differences between these 4 happiness hormones?
Here are the famous 4 hormones bringing the D.O.S.E of happiness:
Each of these hormones has different and specific effects on the body.
Let's examine them in detail:
Dopamine: the hormone of motivation and reward
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that brings the pleasure of effort and success.
It frees up energy to motivate and reward you based on your successful actions and challenges: finishing a project, successfully completing a recipe, or finishing the last season of your favorite show, etc.
It will then promote good mood and learning or good productivity by activating a simple process: "I take action, I am satisfied"!
You are congratulated for your work? Hop, dopamine! Satisfaction and well-being guaranteed...
This will make you want to repeat this action in the future. Dopamine stimulates any search for pleasure and excitement. It therefore plays a role in learning to feel good, but beware, it can also play a role in negative addictions: alcohol, sugar, drugs or junk food or even social networks...
This hormone is particularly nourished by exciting activities: sports, challenges, adventures! It is stimulated by the sight of a beautiful painting, by sports or by food, but it is especially stimulated by sexual pleasure, undoubtedly its best stimulant...
To be noted
An excess or a deficit of dopamine can lead to certain disorders: schizophrenia, aggressiveness, decreased concentration or motivation, even depression, but also decreased initiative and motor activity.
A little biology: the neurons producing dopamine are located in the middle part of the brain, the midbrain.
Oxytocin: the cuddle hormone
It is the hormone of love and tenderness!
It is also known as the hormone of confidence, of maternal love and monogamy or of orgasm... It promotes self-confidence, empathy, altruism and encourages our friendly or loving relationships.
It is secreted when we are with our loved ones or during physical, friendly or loving contacts (cuddling, caresses, kisses, etc.). It is what gives you that feeling of well-being and security in the arms of your loved one, with a baby or an animal.
Orgasm, did you say orgasm? Oxytocin is secreted during orgasm in both sexes, however, it has no known effect on either libido or orgasm...
More interesting: it is the antithesis of the stress hormone (cortisol). With oxytocin, you are reassured, confident and... stress-free!
You secrete them when you practice a physical activity or sport, but also happily in couple or family.
Note: oxytocin would promote jealousy, but would tend to make men and women more loyal...
A little bit of biology : oxytocin is "synthesized in the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus and released by the neurohypophysis in response to many stimuli, including orgasm, childbirth, and lactation."
Serotonin: the mood hormone
This hormone is associated with mood: serotonin means joy, good mood, fullness, satisfaction. It measures our appetite (feeling of satiety), acts on our mood, promotes sexual desire.
It develops feelings of balance by regulating emotions and impulses, weakening the most painful ones like fear or sadness, but without making them disappear...
It is thus the best antidepressant! A serotonin treatment is also indicated to fight depression, as studies have shown that a lack of serotonin could be responsible.
Many people confuse dopamine with serotonin. Both acting on well-being and satisfaction, mood, sleep or sexual desire, they could be confused...
But you shouldn't : dopamine is the hormone of immediate pleasure. Serotonin regulates moods over the long term, and therefore a more lasting well-being. Moreover, when dopamine increases, serotonin decreases and vice versa...
A little biology: The midbrain connects the brain to the brainstem. At the back of the midbrain is the pineal gland, which secretes tryptophan, from which comes serotonin, aka 5-hydroxytryptamine.
Endorphin: the pain-relieving hormone for athletes
Endorphins are associated with sports and physical activity!
Because it is an analgesic hormone that allows you to forget the pain and go beyond your limits. During intense sports activities or during dangerous moments, endorphins take control and mask the pain to allow you to continue and sustain the effort. It is a survival function inherited from prehistoric times.
The feeling of pleasure experienced then helps to reduce stress, anxiety and sadness.
Humor, leisure, sports and fun are classic endorphin-producing factors.
A natural drug?
Endorphins are released in particular during stressful situations and especially during physical and sporting activities.
Like certain substances in tobacco or alcohol, endorphins cause a rapid, instantaneous feeling of well-being. A real natural drug that pushes some athletes to push their limits to feel their effects.
Because if the quantity of endorphins increases during a sustained effort, it is multiplied by five after 30 to 45 minutes of stopped effort. Hello, the shot!
Note: during orgasm, an explosion of endorphins causes this state of ecstasy and intense pleasure. At the same time, the brain produces oxytocin, the famous attachment hormone.
And that's how pleasure turns into love! Then the chemistry will give way to feelings.
A little biology Endorphins are neurotransmitters, produced under the control of the hypothalamus, with analgesic properties similar to those of morphine.
Indeed, they act on the same receptors as morphine drugs, hence their name: endorphin (endogenous morphine).
So, how are your happy hormones?
You have understood that without their functions, our moods and our well-being would not have the same life...
These neurotransmitters, whose functions have been present in us since the beginning of human history, reveal many secrets and science continues to study them.
In the meantime, we depend a lot on their good functioning.
Stay with us, because the next article will tell you how to boost those happy hormones to gain good mood and well-being...
See you soon!