Happy drugs: your feel good chemicals
What’s the secret to happiness? It’s an age-old philosophical question that continues to befuddle many great minds. From a biological perspective though, things are a bit more straightforward.
Happiness is when the hormones responsible for good mood are released in bumper doses. On any given late night you’ll be stimulating some of these hormones so let’s get familiar with them shall we?
Dopamine is the key player in the brain’s pleasure and reward system. It’s involved in making you feel motivated, desire and cravings. You get a big hit of it either as a reward or in anticipation of one. When you’re doom-scrolling, eating or jumping into bed with someone, it’s what makes you feel good.
But there’s a downside: it’s highly addictive. It’s totally possible to rewire the reward system of your brain through excessive overeating, drinking or taking drugs (or any other vice).
Ever notice how you feel good when you hug people on a night out? That’s oxytocin.
Triggered by closeness and touch, oxytocin is Mother Nature’s social glue. It’s what gives you feelings of intimacy, belonging and trust. It increases empathy and emotional connections whether that’s with your other half of that random bloke you’ve just met in the smoking area.
Serotonin is what can make you either good company or a bit of a fun sponge. It makes you feel good about yourself, and charges up your confidence and self-esteem. It’s mostly made in the gut which is why after consuming certain things when you’re out out your stomach can go haywire.
Serotonin is a powerful antidepressant and mood regulator. So if your reserves run low after, let’s say, releasing a boatload of it at a rave, then you’re going to feel pretty miserable for a few days until your levels respawn.
- choosing a selection results in a full page refresh
- press the space key then arrow keys to make a selection