Whenever something pleasant, exciting or fun happens, we get the feeling of happiness. But have you ever wondered what causes us to feel this way and how this feeling helps us?
Our brain creates many chemicals which affects our behaviour. It will always drive us to seek pleasure and happiness while avoiding pain. This conditioning helps us to survive. Avoiding pain encourages us to stay away from things which can hurt or harm us, while feeling happy is a reward for doing something that helps us and other people.
A DOSE of Happiness
There are four major chemicals, known as hormones, in the brain that influences happiness.
Dopamine – This hormone creates anticipation, motivating us to take action to seek rewards or achieve goals.
Oxytocin – Released through closeness with another person and healthy relationships, Oxytocin is heavily involved in the creation and maintenance of strong bonds with others.
Serotonin – A mood regulator, this chemical can make you feel good about yourself. It also plays an important role in appetite, emotions, and in preventing depression.
Endorphins – By reducing the feeling of pain signals, endorphins are our body’s natural pain-killers. It can also be released during exercise and laughter.
Happier is Healthier
Being happyisn’t just about feeling better, as there are a host of potential health benefits associated with it. Happy people find it easier to eat a healthy diet, and are more likely to be physically active. This combination means happy people are likely to have strong and fit bodies, which reduces the risk of disease and illnesses.
Additionally, being happy leads to reduced levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. As cortisol contributes to many problems such as poor sleep, weight gain, type 2 and high blood pressure, joy can be important to protect your health.
Interestingly, being happy can be a cycle, as studies have shown that eating a good diet, having regular exercise and getting good sleep can increase our happiness.
As happiness supplements our health, we need regular doses of it. Problems such as depression can prevent us from feeling happy, and is considered a health condition. If you face this problem, you should pay a visit to a doctor. With the advances in the field of medicine, there are many treatments available to manage this sad condition.