What hormones are responsible for happiness and how to increase their levels in…

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Four important hormones: serotonin

Where are endorphins produced?

The insidious hormone dopamine

Oxytocin: how many hugs do we need per day

How to feel happy

Four important hormones: serotonin

According to the well-known psychotherapist Andrei Kurpatov, “happiness is a myth. We are not made for it…” Like, our brain was created by evolution for survival, not for enjoyment. Doesn’t sound very encouraging. Nevertheless, the vast majority of people strive to feel happy. For many, happiness is when there are quality relationships with loved ones in life, when our work is useful to others and brings financial satisfaction, when, finally, nothing hurts. True, we think about the latter only when health problems arise. And it’s also hard to feel happy here and now, when you don’t get enough sleep chronically, you don’t feel safe when the gray sky is outside the window every day. That being said, we know that there are a number of hormones that greatly enhance our physical sense of satisfaction.

So, serotonin is a hormone that is produced during the life of a number of bacteria in the large intestine. It is there that up to 95% of serotonin is absorbed and enters the bloodstream. To feed the bacteria we need with coarse fiber (25-30 grams per day) and greens – ideally, you need to eat as much as 1200 grams, which, as we understand, is unrealistic.

During ecstasy and euphoria, the level of this hormone is always high. Serotonin not only improves mood, but also reduces the so-called pain threshold, is responsible for the quality of sleep, increases the ability to learn, and is involved in the neutralization of allergies. And with its lack comes the blues. In order for serotonin to be produced in the body in sufficient quantities, ultraviolet light is needed. Because its level falls in our winter, when the sun is insultingly small.

Where are endorphins produced?

Everyone has heard of endorphins. They are produced naturally in the neurons of the brain. They are responsible for resistance to stress, a feeling of euphoria when achieving a cherished goal, and participate in the processes of tissue regeneration, that is, their healing. Also involved in the regulation of excitation and inhibition. For example, if a stressful situation arises, we automatically concentrate, and our productive thinking increases. We are ready to stay up at night, to work hard for a period of time for something that seems to us very important or requires an immediate decision. As soon as the issue is resolved in a natural way, the stage of inhibition begins – we automatically relax, the body goes into an energy-saving mode.

Endorphins are produced in the muscles. Everyone who exercises regularly knows that feeling of pleasant tiredness and satisfaction after a workout in the fitness room, a yoga class or a run.

The release of endorphins is promoted by sex, the aftertaste of a good workout, delicious food, positive thinking and communication with friends. Quite achievable!

The insidious hormone dopamine

Dopamine is also produced in the brain and serves to transmit nerve impulses. In addition, this substance is synthesized in the kidneys and intestines. Dopamine is responsible for our satisfaction with food and sex. And also – for the anticipation of the cherished result, forcing us to act in order to get it. And it goes down when the goal is reached. As a hormone, dopamine is involved in increasing blood pressure, heart rate; accelerate the excretion of sodium in the urine. It is curious that dopamine is produced both in the process of full sleep and in the process of active training. It is also impossible not to say that the production of dopamine is increased by illegal drugs. They increase, and then decrease, forcing you to increase the dose – this is how dependence is formed.

The influence of dopamine was confirmed by the famous experiment of the neuroscientist from the University of Cambridge, Wolfram Schultz. His experience with monkeys showed that dopamine levels rise only when the pleasurable event greatly exceeds expectations. Animals given fruit juice showed the strongest reaction when they were not just given it, but when the portion was larger than expected. It was at this point that the neurons in the midbrain fired the most. Thus, when we receive pleasant surprises, we experience pleasure, for which dopamine neurons are responsible. And it is certainly in our power to control such reactions. Although, as scientists note, starting from the age of 30, people lose about 10% of their dopamine neurons every ten years.

Oxytocin: how many hugs do we need per day

Oxytocin is associated primarily with maternal feelings. This hormone is produced by the central nervous system and causes attachment. It helps the passage of the fetus through the birth canal, ensures healthy lactation in lactating women. Every mother knows the unlikeable feeling of satisfaction while breastfeeding her baby. If you don’t have kids, you can experience the oxytocin surge too. For example, with the help of hugs, gentle touches and strokes. The minimum amount per day is four times. And it’s better if there are twelve hugs.

Tactile sensations are incredibly important for our emotional well-being. As a rule, parents kiss and hug their young children countless times, but over the years, growing up, their number surely declines. Children who, in childhood, were not given those same “calf tendernesses”, grow up tense and cold outwardly, it is more difficult for such people to relax and make contact. For the same reason, it is not easy for singles.

How to feel happy

Thus, we see that if we talk about hormones of happiness as chemical compounds, then their quantity can be increased. Primarily:

  • playing sports;

  • eating certain foods: chocolate, bananas, cottage cheese, nuts, herbs, red peppers, alcohol – in moderation;

  • having sex (quality – not for show);

  • sleeping regularly;

  • receiving a vital amount of ultraviolet light. It is no coincidence that we rejoice so much on sunny days – the number of people on the streets increases automatically;

  • receiving the required number of hugs, stroking, touching – you can replace it with a massage or get a dog that will be happy with your hugs (unlike a cat).

In laboratory conditions, it is rather pointless to find out the level of these hormones, if we are not talking about serious diseases, including depression. Indeed, in the long term, we still experience satisfaction from life when, first of all, we feel needed and useful to others, when we have someone to take care of, when health does not cause problems, and when there is someone to share joy and sorrow with. Alas, even having all of the above, not everyone feels happy, thinking that happiness is somewhere ahead, that it will fall when their own apartment appears, a marriage proposal is made, wages increase, etc. Insidious dopamine in action. Such people are often in a hurry with their claims to a psychologist, who first of all teaches to take an “inventory” of life, focus on the valuable that is already there and learn to enjoy the simplest things.

Photo: Pexels.com

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