Chemistry of Happiness

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“No man does not desire happiness, and each one desires it with such earnestness that he prefers it to all other things; whoever desires other things, desires them for this end alone.” -Saint Augustine. The pursuit of happiness is the thread that connects the human race. Is happiness just the sum of some chemicals in the human brain firing off? Or could it be just another genetic trait passed down by our ancestors, leaving the unlucky ones cursed to a life of depression? As different as an atheist worldview is from a theist’s, one person’s perception of happiness is from another.

Narcissists may define happiness as satisfying any desire that they might have. A Christian might define happiness as facing trials that refine their characters. Christian scripture gives the standard to their happiness, “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). Sustainable happiness comes through having a purpose in life or achieving one’s full potential. Many find that religion or a hope for something greater after this life can equate to an experience full of happiness.

Regardless of where it is found, happiness produces obvious benefits in humans Physical and mental health. Psychologists have long pondered over the subject of happiness, devoting a whole field of study to it. Positive psychology seeks to prescribe optimism for the treatment of depression and other mental ailments. What makes humans happy? Is happiness genetic? How can happiness be achieved? What are the benefits of being happy? More than merely an elevated mood, happiness is the fuel that motivates, sustains, and produces that sense of well-being that results in a deep satisfaction in life.

At its core, happiness is just the human body communicating using specific chemical messengers. These messengers, known as neurotransmitters, contribute to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins are unique neurotransmitters responsible for happiness in humans. As people live their lives, these chemicals are consistently firing off in our brain.

When outside influences feel pleasurable, specific neural pathways are triggered in what is called the reward system. The reward system goes about converting what is being experienced in life, into sensations, feelings, and emotions that are responsible for happiness. Dopamine is the force behind motivation and inspiration. When a person sets a goal and completes it, dopamine gets released in their brain. When someone has low levels of dopamine, it can cause self-doubt and laziness. Serotonin is what gives people a sense of belonging and importance. When someone’s serotonin levels are low, they will experience depression and loneliness. Oxytocin creates trust and builds intimacy.

This neurotransmitter is vital in natural feelings of ecstasy, such as in orgasm. Endorphins are the physical pain killer of the human body. Release of this chemical will also help to reduce stress and anxiety in a person. Happiness can be elusive and look different for every individual. Momentary feelings of joy and pleasure from, eating, sex, listening to a beautiful piece of music, can trigger the body’s response to communicate feelings of happiness.

One’s genes, perspectives, and life experiences factor significantly into the makeup of happiness (Myers 448). Research involving identical and fraternal twins determined that the factors producing happiness, to varying degrees, is inherited through genetics (448). At the point when geneticists computed heritability, roughly 50% of what contributes to happiness could be credited to genes (448). Hardly 100% conclusive evidence though, German researchers found similar results to the twin’s study that produced the results in married couples (448). Scientists seeking to study how happiness is influenced by genetics have had inconclusive results when looking at specific DNA sequences. A much broader and non-specific approach, like the twin environmental sources, is the much more reliable and can replicate evidence consistently.


Cite this paper

Chemistry of Happiness. (2020, Sep 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/chemistry-of-happiness/



Is happiness a chemical reaction?
The fact is, as Dr. Isha Gupta a neurologist from IGEA Brain and Spine explains, a smile spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain hormones including dopamine and serotonin . “Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness. Serotonin release is associated with reduced stress.
What are the 4 happy hormones?
The four happy hormones are oxytocin, dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. They are responsible for making us feel happy, loved, and fulfilled.
What chemicals are released when happy?
When people are happy, they release chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that are secreted by the pituitary gland and they act as natural painkillers.
What is the chemical equation for happiness?
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