Friday, May 13, 2022

What Causes Happiness In The Brain

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More Money = Less Happiness

Helen Fisher ‘The brain in love’ at Happiness & Its Causes 2013

And around about 160 thousand, everybodys levels of mean life evaluation tend to decline.

Isnt that interesting? Does money make you happy? Certainly that doesnt look like it.

And in fact, you may wonder why, but a guy by the name of Marshall McLuhan many years ago coined the phrase keeping upset with the Joneses.

Maybe once you get to a certain level of commercial accomplishment, you start to look at things in a commercial sense and maybe youre comparing yourself to other people.

And lets face it, theres only one richest person on Earth and we cant all be that.

What Chemical Makes You Happy

There are four major chemicals in the brain that influence our happiness :

  • Dopamine
  • Serotonin
  • Endorphins.
  • As Nicole explains, each plays a different role in happiness. And guess what? They are all triggered by gamified experiences. Lets dig a little deeper.

    Dopamine is what we normally think of as the happiness drug. However, thats a big misconception. Dopamine is actually involved more with anticipation than the actual happiness feeling. Nicole describes it as a striving emotion.

    Oxytocin is the neurochemical that has allowed us to become social creatures. It makes us feel empathy which helps us feel close and bonded to others when its released.

    If youre in a good mood, youve got serotonin to thank. And if youre in a bad mood, youve got serotonin to blame. Its a regulator. Interestingly, Nicole explains, 80 percent of serotonin exists in the gut, and is governed by your state of hunger .

    Endorphins are responsible for masking pain or discomfort, which explains their association with the fight or flight response. When it comes to designing happiness, endorphins help you power through. Nicole, for example, is an avid runner. Endorphins allow her to push farther and harder as she works towards distance goals.

    Advances In Neuroscience Reveal Fascinating Details About How The Brain Works

      This blog post was written by Dr. Bill Conklin.

      The heart has long been considered the seat of emotion. Several familiar expressions prove it. When faced with a loss, it is said that someone is broken-hearted. When a person is overly emotional we say that he wears his heart on his sleeve. When someone is overjoyed, she might say that her heart is about to burst. Yet, over the past century, science has taught us that the brain is the true home of our feelings.

      Advances in the field of neuroscience have revealed fascinating details about the workings of the brain. Over the centuries, the 100 billion neuron mass of tissue in our skull has evolved. For descriptive purposes, the brain can be divided into different areas based on function. Two basic divisions are the lower brain and the upper brain . The mammalian brain as the name suggests is present in mammals but to a proportionally greater degree in humans. As the human species has developed, so too has the mammalian brain.

      Another name for this area of the brain is the neocortex. The neocortex is itself divided into sections. These areas have come to be called the lobes of the brain. There are four large lobes: the frontal, the parietal, the temporal, and occipital lobes. The frontal lobes are used most in higher-level thinking. The parietal lobes are used mostly in movement. The temporal lobes are involved in hearing and speech. And the occipital lobes are involved in sight.

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      Endorphins: The Runners Hormone

      Endorphins make you happy, but not in the way you might think. Endorphins are hormones and neuro-signalling molecules that function as painkillers. They inhibit the transmission of pain signals in the central nervous system by binding to opioid receptors .

      Boost your endorphins with running

      Endorphins and dopamine are often confused because each one is a chemical that makes you happy in the broad sense of the term. However, they are in some ways related because, when endorphins bind to receptors of the central nervous system, dopamine is released.

      Yet, happy endorphins didnt rise to fame because they block pain signals, but because they induce euphoria. Thats right, the ubiquitous runners high is caused by a big rush of endorphins. Plus, the potent combination of endorphins and dopamine explains why people get hooked on running.

      Brain Chemicals That Make You Happy

      D.O.S.E: Brain Chemicals that Affect Our Happiness #Brain ...

      We spend a lot of time discussing ways to be happier – maintain close friendships, look on the bright side, drink more water. But we dont often think about how we feel happiness. Did you know that the warmth you feel from a long hug is caused by an entirely different chemical sensation than the high you feel after a long run or bike ride?

      DOSE: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins

      So then, whats the real cause of our happiness? What makes us feel sensations of happiness, closeness, and joy? Brain chemicals! There are four primary chemicals that can drive the positive emotions you feel throughout the day: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins .

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      Chemicals Hormones And The Brain

      Some of these neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, are also hormones or have some effect in releasing hormones in the body. Adrenaline, cortisol, melatonin, and other hormones can affect your mood or even influence the health of your brain.

      Cortisol is a hormone released when youre stressed. Its helpful at times, but too much of it for too long can cause memory loss as you age.

      Imbalances in neurotransmitters are present in many conditions, including schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, autism, and Parkinsons disease. Some medications target these receptors to allow your body to receive more or less of certain chemicals, while some drugs act similar to these chemicals to invoke similar responses in your body.

      Maintaining a balance in these brain chemicals and hormones is key to feeling a balanced mood. You can help maintain this health to some extent through a balanced diet, limited stress, and exercise.

      The Longest Study Into Happiness Ever Carried Out

      Research into what makes a happy life, presented by Robert Waldinger from Harvard University, took over 75 years to complete and looked at the lives of 724 volunteers, as well as their partners and other family members, bringing the total number of people studied to over 2,000. After analyzing the data, a clear correlation was found between strong relationships, good health and happiness.

      Maintaining positive relationships was also found to help people slow the aging process and enable them to live longer lives.

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      Fruit Veg And Wholegrains

      All vegetables and many fruits contain complex carbohydrates. These are important for stabilising your mood, as they release sugar into your body slowly. Other sources of complex carbs include wholemeal bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, beans, pulses and oats. These foods avoid giving you the blood-sugar spikes and dips that can be caused by eating simple carbs such as sugar, white bread and white pasta.

      Complex carbs also help indirectly with the production of serotonin. This is because serotonin can be made using an amino acid from your diet called tryptophan. It can be difficult to absorb tryptophan into your brain, but more may be absorbed when tryptophan-rich foods such as eggs, oily fish and chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids are eaten alongside carbs. Its not certain how accessible tryptophan is to the body, but its worth a try!

      Neuroscience Research Points Toward The Role Our Brains Play In Our Happiness Even If We Dont Understand All The Brains Mysteries Yet

      Optimising Your Brain with Sue Langley at Happiness & Its Causes 2017

      Ever wonder why we get a warm feeling when we come home? Or why laughter makes us feel so good? Or why, even though exercise is good for us, so many of us tend to avoid it?

      If so, you may want to pick up Dean Burnetts book Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why. Burnett, a neuroscientist and standup comic, explores some of the inner workings of our brains to reveal how our neural networks support us in experiencing happiness so we can move forward in life and love.

      Neuroscience is a fascinating field, but, as Burnett warns, its also a relatively new science, and many of its findings are exploratory in nature rather than conclusive. He points to the expense of running fMRI studies, which limits the number of study participants and the certainty about results. And, as so much of our brain activity can be influenced by individual personalities or environmental circumstances, its hard to make any grand proclamations about what happiness looks like in the brain.

      Add to that some pretty weird anomalieslike the neurotransmitter serotonin, which modulates mood, being produced primarily by our gut bacteriaand it becomes clear that we dont understand everything about our brains and happiness. Much of it may be out of our conscious control.

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      How Do You Generate Emotions

      Use a positivity treasure chest to give yourself a boost.

    • Track Your Positive Emotions. Name the positive emotions youre already familiar with, the ones youve experienced in your daily life.
    • Increase a Specific Positive Emotion. Identify a positive emotion you want to increase.
    • Create a Positivity Treasure Chest.
    • Pet Therapyhow Dogs Teach Us To Stop Worrying And Just Be Happy

      A smiles contagion is so potent, that we may even be able to catch one from ourselves. Dr. Ritzo recommends smiling at yourself in the mirror, an act she says not only triggers our mirror neurons, but can also help us calm down and re-center if were feeling low or anxious.

      It turns out there’s solid evidence that smiling can do us a world of good. Since researching this piece Ive been conducting my own little smile experiments. I tried smiling when I tensed up in traffic yesterday, and again during a rigorous workout and then today when I woke up with a headache. I found that it feels completely incongruous to smile when Im tense or tired, and theres a strange sense of departing a comfort zone. But I have to admit, instantly I was calmer, less upset and, maybe just ever so slightly for a second, smiling made me feel happy.

      Want more tips like these? NBC News BETTER is obsessed with finding easier, healthier and smarter ways to live. and follow us on , and .

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      How Does Dopamine Function In The Brain

      It is no exaggeration to say that dopamine makes us human. Beginning in infant development, dopamine levels are critical, and mental disabilities can arise if dopamine is not present in sufficient quantities. Dopamine is implicated in genetic conditions like congenital hypothyroidism. Dopamine deficiency is also implicated in other conditions such as Alzheimer’s, depressive disorders, binge-eating, addiction, and gambling.

      Get Your Daily Happiness Chemicals Infographic

      Brain Chemistry Vector Illustration. Labeled Happiness ...

      These are just some of the many ways you can get your daily happy hormones. If you have some that already work for you, continue doing those. If you dont try picking a few from the list.

      When choosing things that will help increase happiness levels, think about how each of them affects your health. There are three states of health .

      Make sure you choose activities that dont all contribute to one aspect only. Try to pick a few that can contribute to different aspects so you can reap the full benefits of the happiness chemicals.

      If you are unfamiliar with the three aspects of the Health Triangle, I recommend taking the self-assessment first to see which areas you are lacking so you can choose activities that target that aspect.

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      What Part Of The Brain Controls Anger

      Much like fear, anger is a response to threats or stressors in your environment. When youre in a situation that seems dangerous and you cant escape, youll likely respond with anger or aggression. You can think of the anger response and the fight as part of the fight-or-flight response.

      Frustration, such as facing roadblocks while trying to achieve a goal, can also trigger the anger response.

      Anger starts with the amygdala stimulating the hypothalamus, much like in the fear response. In addition, parts of the prefrontal cortex may also play a role in anger. People with damage to this area often have trouble controlling their emotions, especially anger and aggression.

      Parts of the prefrontal cortex of the brain may also contribute to the regulation of an anger response. People with damage to this area of the brain sometimes

      Where Do Emotions Come From

      The limbic system is a group of interconnected structures located deep within the brain. Its the part of the brain thats responsible for behavioral and emotional responses.

      Scientists havent reached an agreement about the full list of structures that make up the limbic system, but the following structures are generally accepted as part of the group:

      • Hypothalamus. In addition to controlling emotional responses, the hypothalamus is also involved in sexual responses, hormone release, and regulating body temperature.
      • Hippocampus. The hippocampus helps preserve and retrieve memories. It also plays a role in how you understand the spatial dimensions of your environment.
      • Amygdala. The amygdala helps coordinate responses to things in your environment, especially those that trigger an emotional response. This structure plays an important role in fear and anger.
      • Limbic cortex. This part contains two structures, the cingulate gyrus and the parahippocampal gyrus. Together, they impact mood, motivation, and judgement.

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      Does Chocolate Make You Happy

      A study in 1996 showed that chocolate caused the release of endorphins in the brains of American women, making them feel happy.

      Chocolate does contain a number of compounds associated with mood-lifting chemicals in the brain. Often mentioned is phenylethylamine, a natural antidepressant and one of the chemicals your brain produces as you fall in love. Tryptophan, an amino acid present in small quantities in chocolate, is linked to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness. A handful of other substances also add to chocolates purported effects for example theobromine can increase heart rate, and caffeine is well known as a wake-up drug.

      But most of these compounds are present only in small quantities in chocolate, and now some scientists say that they are probably almost entirely digested before they reach the brain. It may instead be the experience of eating chocolate, and satisfying a food craving, that releases endorphins and happy feelings more than the content of the chocolate itself.

      Read more:

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      Kindness As A Treatment For Pain Depression And Anxiety

      Serotonin Syndrome | Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery Episode 20

      What we know about the science behind acts of kindness is influencing how we treat certain health conditions, Dr. IsHak says.

      • Studies are investigating if oxytocin can be beneficial in treating some conditions. The hormone is a protein and cannot simply be taken as a pill. It’s being studied in injection and nasal spray forms.
      • Mindfulness-based therapy is becoming increasingly popular for treating depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. The therapy is built on mindfulness meditation, documenting your gratitude, and acts of kindness. People being treated in a mindfulness-based therapy program incorporate acts of kindness into their daily routines.
      • Helping others is also believed to increase levels of an endorphin-like chemical in the body called substance P, which can relieve pain, Dr. IsHak says.

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      The Effects Of Happiness Chemicals

      At least 1 in 3 people in the world who were surveyed in 2020 were unhappy. Thats a huge portion of the population.

      Happiness or lack thereof affects everyone and can contribute to poor overall health. There have been numerous studies linking depression to the reduction of happiness chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.

      One study found people with clinical depression have increased levels of monoamine oxidase A . This is an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters.

      We will discuss how neurotransmitters play a role in the happiness chemicals later in this article, but simply this means you will get less dopamine or serotonin, thus, less happiness.

      This deficiency can lead to various effects that could contribute to mental illnesses like depression.

      Dose : The Brains Happy Chemicals Explained

      D.O.S.E. is the acronym for the major chemicals in our brains that influence our happiness. The brains happy chemicals. These chemicals are Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins. On both a biological and a mental level, the release of these chemicals makes us happy. This happiness leads us to want more happiness. These chemicals make us want more of the same chemicals.

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      Dopamine Vs Serotonin: The Difference Between These Happy Hormones

      Bright and breezy? Youve got serotonin to thank. Gloomy and grumpy? A big ol hug and a burst of oxytocin will perk you up.

      As it turns out, theres a chemical side to happiness.

      Lifestyle factors and genetics certainly play a role in thisthe latter accounting for 50 percent of your high spirits, research says. Still, how happy you are is dictated by a quartet of fluctuating hormones and neurotransmitters. Well, for the most part.

      Ebbing and flowing throughout the day in response to inner and outer cues, they evolved and are designed to boost your moods while fostering your general well-being.

      In fact, at a core level, their purpose is to keep you alive. How? By alerting you to important information and, simply put, directing you away from pain and toward pleasure.

      So, what chemicals spark your bliss?

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