Happiness Chemicals Relieve Stress | Acheloa Wellness
I’ve been recently learning more about the teachings of Simon Sinek, and had the opportunity to view one of his recent lectures on communities and safety. He discussed how crucial a strong culture is to the growth of any community or work environment. Being able to live in a world of safety can allow us to think and act to our fullest potential. Living safely gives individuals the opportunity to live passionately and happily, without fear of repercussions.
In his talk, he took a few minutes to discuss happiness. As we each interact in our environment, we experience different types of happiness in our bodies through the expression of certain reactions to chemicals in our body. No one chemical is better than another, as each has its own side effects. It’s finding a mix of each that helps us to achieve our highest potential.
In this post, I’ve decided to share some of the information he expressed during his lecture, but also delve deeper into each of the following happiness chemicals: endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. This will help us further understand where our happiness comes from and how it’s expressed.
Everyone’s probably heard of the term endorphins or “runner’s high.” This short-lived chemical reaction usually comes out during exercise and masks pain in our body. When madness occurs around us, endorphins are natural pain and stress fighters to help combat the given scenario.
Dopamine should come with a warning label. Although this chemical helps you to accomplish your goals, it can be highly addictive. The feeling one receives from dopamine is that has short “spurs” or rushes of pleasure. When people struggle with addictions to gambling, sex, drugs, or alcohol, they may be overdosing on that dopamine feeling.
In smaller, more manageable doses, dopamine can provide a wholesome feeling. Falling in love is a great example of that.
Serotonin helps regulate mood appetite and sleep, and is also a big contributor of wellness and well-being as serotonin can affect mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep and memory. Serotonin can be considered a “leadership chemical” as it’s attributed to feelings of pride, status and self-confidence.
A deficit of serotonin, however, can lead to depression, insomnia, reduced libido, and general agitation, but there is help. In recent studies, meditation, self-induced changes in mood, exposure to bright light, and exercise can help boost serotonin.
Known as the “love” hormone, oxytocin emits feelings of trust and friendship. This chemical coincides with cooperation and loyalty. When a person performs an act of kindness, they are emitting oxytocin. Simultaneously, the person receiving kindness and the person who witnessed kindness are also having this same oxytocin reaction. This is where our “Share The Happy” campaign fits into the realm of creating happiness. Happiness is shared.
Oxytocin makes us better problem solvers and live longer. There’s no overdosing on love, which makes this chemical longer-lasting. Take a minute to think about a funny adventure with a friend or that time you helped a family member work through something challenging. Are you feeling happier yet?
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Photo courtesy: TheArtOf.com