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Happiness Chemicals and how to hack them.

Updated: May 1, 2023

There are certain things humans do that give us feelings of wellbeing and happiness.

Just like going for a walk in nature, I want this website to stimulate and sustain curiosity and learning.

To provide some context take a look at this meme that has been floating around on the internet.

It states 4 happiness chemicals; Dopamine (the reward chemical) , Oxytocin (the love hormone), Serotonin (the mood stabiliser) and Endorphins (the pain killer). It then states how to access them in our brain or ‘hack’ them. Although this meme is an oversimplification, it introduces using neuroscience to improve your wellbeing. Here are everyday examples of how these chemicals are released that you may not realise:

  1. Dopamine: This boosts your mood when achieving a goal getting likes on social media or completing your to do list.

  2. Oxytocin: This makes you feel loved and connected such as stroking your pet or hugging a friend.

  3. Serotonin: This promotes longterm feelings of wellbeing and happiness and is released via long sunny walks in nature, massage, exercise, and remembering happy events.

  4. Endorphin: This helps to cope with pain and stress and is released during exercise and listening to music.

Which happiness chemical is more important? This is not a simple answer and research is ongoing. For example one research paper had found that serotonin is ‘found in everything and responsible for nothing’. It has also been found that people with depression have low serotonin, however increasing their serotonin levels does not neccessarily mean they are happier and could actually be unsafe. If we take a look at dopamine as the reward chemical, it is also linked to addiction such as to social media, gambling and sex. A better perspective is to take control and influence your own mood with positive relationships, exercise you enjoy, your enivironment and even the foods you eat to get a balance of ALL the chemicals.. A diet of whole-foods and fibre rich plants with a reduced meat intake has been shown to boost gut bacteria which produce serotonin for your body. In the next article I will explore practical examples of cultivating these happiness chemicals through dance, learning a language and playing chess. Which chemical is better for these activities? The short term effects of dompanine or the long term effects of serotonin? Thank you for reading! Read the resources below to explore this topic futher. Resources:

  1. Psychology Today — Boosting your `Serotonin Activity


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