How Brain Works When You Are Happy

By Subodh / September 19, 2015

Exercising keeps you happier. Sex boosts your happiness quotient. Indulging in an activity of your choice is a good happiness booster. Even eating a slice of chocolate or taking a warm shower makes you happy! But, what exactly happens when you are happy? How does the brain work when a person is happy? Your answer could be endorphins! While that is true to a certain extent, the fact is that whatever emotions, including happiness you experience, are the effects of chemical reactions in the brain.

The series of changes or reactions that happen within the brain could be easily compared to the way soup boils after you mix in the spices and herbs. So, when you are successful or eating chocolate, your reward equates to happiness. Read on to catch up with some interesting trivia about the facts as we hack into the chemicals of happiness.

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The Happiness Chemicals

There are four chemicals that function when you are happy – dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and the endorphins. Each one functions in a different way. But, in the end, the result is the same – all make you happy!

1. Dopamine

You could consider this as the motivating chemical. It gives you enough motivation to pursue something so that the anticipation of the reward makes you happier. It prompts the release of energy that is essential for you to move closer to the reward. And, when you hit the target, the chemical rewards you with happiness.

There are various ways you could stimulate this chemical and it varies depending on your goals. The basic concept is to generate success in minute quantities so that there is no obstruction in the path of dopamine. Celebrate each and every success of yours, however small or big it is, and you will see that you are always happy. Include foods such as almonds, green tea, beets, avocados, and bananas in your diet to boost the secretion of dopamine.

2. Serotonin

The next one in the list is serotonin. Even though this chemical is loaded with numerous functions, you could consider this as the confidence and mood-boosting chemical. Happiness and confidence go hand in hand. People show better levels of happiness when they are self-assured. And, again, when you are in a bad mood, there is a dearth of confidence, and thus, happiness also dips.

You can enjoy happiness triggered by serotonin when someone appreciates you. You could also experience the same when you accept, acknowledge and appreciate yourself. A major dip in the level of this chemical could lead to depression slowly. Using gratitude and visualization help in boosting the levels of serotonin, and thus happiness. Take a walk in the sun for about 20 minutes to ensure that you have sufficient levels of vitamin D, a key ingredient required for the proper and adequate secretion of serotonin.

3. Oxytocin

This is the cuddling chemical and is well-known for its romantic effects. You feel happy when you are in love and oxytocin is responsible for the same action. Secretion of this neurochemical is essential for crafting an intimate, healthy relationship. Mothers experience the same when they breastfeed the babies.

You could increase the levels of this chemical to acceptable levels by having an active social life. A hug from someone could also help you. Receiving a surprising gift or snuggling with your pet also releases this hormone, filling you with a sense of happiness.

4. Endorphins

Last, but not the least comes endorphins, the chemicals that have the reputation for their fight or flight response. It gives the oomph essential to empower you to confront any situation. It works like a sedative and analgesic, easing your pain and discomfort. And, that is what exactly you experience when you push your body beyond its limits. Laughing, stretching, strenuous physical activities, and Orgasms release endorphins. According to studies, the aroma of various essential oils, eating spicy foods and chocolates, and inhaling vanilla could also trigger the secretion of this happiness chemical.

You can make happy happen in the brain. Just monitor the functioning of these chemicals and indulge in activities that boost the secretion of these hormones and you will always be happy. No wonder it is said that the key to happiness lies within yourself. So, be happy!