I don’t know about you but it’s good to have a thing or a hobby that can instantly cheer you up when you feel sad or disappointed in life.
For instance, whenever I feel stressed out – which is not good for our health – I treat myself to my favorite restaurant or buy a good book or a cute top for myself. This may just seem a little thing but it relaxes me and reminds me that I should enjoy life. Then after that, I start working again happily and stress free.
Okay, let me tell you something. There’s actually a scientific reason why I felt good after treating myself. You see, when we do something we like or excites us, the happy chemicals inside our bodies increase. These happy chemicals are the reason why we get affected by good things and why we don’t feel sad or mad anymore.
Let the experts explain further.
Your Brain is More than a Bag of Chemicals with David Anderson… a TEDxTalk
The 4 Horseman of Happiness (it's all in your head)
We have four happy chemicals inside our bodies and that would be dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin.
According to Dr Ananya Mandal, MD in her article on News Medical:
“Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released by the brain that plays a number of roles in humans and other animals. Some of its notable functions are in: movement, memory, pleasurable reward, behavior and cognition, attention, inhibition of prolactin production, sleep, mood, and learning.”
Let’s focus on the pleasurable reward part:
“Dopamine is the chemical that mediates pleasure in the brain. It is released during pleasurable situations and stimulates one to seek out the pleasurable activity or occupation.”
Now this makes sense why a lot of experts and professionals suggest that rewarding ourselves is important because it makes us happy. It gives us a feeling of pleasure. Thus, increasing the Dopamine in our body.
The typical brain is about 2% of a body’s weight but uses 20% of its total energy and oxygen intake.Tweet This!
According to an article on Everyday Health:
“Endorphins are morphine-like chemicals produced by the body that help diminish pain while triggering positive feelings.
They're sometimes referred to as the brain's “feel-good” chemicals, and are the body's natural painkillers.
They're released from the pituitary gland of the brain during periods of strenuous exercise, emotional stress, pain, and orgasm.
Endorphins help relieve pain and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. They play an important role in the brain's reward system, which includes activities such as eating, drinking, sex, and maternal behavior.”
This explains why Endorphins are also called the ‘runner’s high’. When we do the things we love even though they’re tiring – like working out, running, hiking – we don’t feel tired at all. We actually get more pumped up, right
All brain cells are not alike. There are as many as 10,000 specific types of neurons in the brain.Tweet This!
According to Live Science:
“It's sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially. Even playing with your dog can cause an oxytocin surge, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior. But these monikers may be misleading.”
This is probably why get more attached to people we spent more time with specially if we did physical things or exciting activities with them.
Your brain generates about 12-25 watts of electricity. This is enough to power a low wattage LED light.Tweet This!
According to a Health Line article:
“Serotonin impacts every part of your body, from your emotions to your motor skills. Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer and the chemical that helps sleeping, eating, and digesting. Serotonin also helps reduce depression, regulate anxiety, heal wounds, stimulate nausea, and maintain bone health.
Serotonin helps regulate your mood naturally. When your serotonin levels are normal, you feel happier, calmer, more focused, less anxious, and more emotionally stable.”
Serotonin is the reason why our mood changes. When we feel like in a good mood, we have a high level of Serotonin in us. When we feel depressed or not in the mood for everything, we lack Serotonin.
There is no such thing as a left-brain or right-brain personality type. We are “whole brained.”Tweet This!
Keeping Our Happy Chemicals Happy
Now that you know the basic things about the four happy chemicals and you want as much as possible to live a happy life, you’re probably asking now how do we keep them in high levels?
The good thing about this is that we can hack our happy chemicals on our own! You don’t have to wait for good things to happen to make you happy.
It’s like what they said, “some days you just have to create your own sunshine”
How to Hack into your Happy (Brain) Chemicals – an infographic
Here’s an ultimate cheat sheet for doing that! Thai Nguyen, Founder of The Utopian Life, shares with us in this infographic made with Visme how we can hack into our 4 happy chemicals.