Happy Hormones

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They travel through the bloodstream, taking part in many processes. Some of these processes include regulation of moods – such as happiness, sadness, anger or disgust. The hormones that promote positive feelings, such as pleasure and happiness, are called happy hormones.

List of Happy Hormones

Out of the many hormones, the following four are classified as “happy hormones”:

Endorphins

Endorphins are chemicals which are produced by the body to relieve pain and stress. Generally, these hormones are made in the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. A well-known example of this hormone in action is the runner’s high, which is felt after a strenuous and lengthy exercise. Hence, this hormone is also called as the “feel-good” hormone. However, the levels of endorphins vary from person to person.

Oxytocin

Oxytocin is usually called the “love hormone” because it is generally released with physical contacts, such as kissing, hugging and sex. This hormone is also essential for breastfeeding, childbirth as well as bonding between parent and child. Furthermore, this hormone is shown to promote trust and empathy in a relationship. This hormone is produced by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland.

Dopamine

Dopamine is the chemical responsible for motivation, attention and memory. It is also required for regulating body movements. If this chemical is released in large quantities, it can induce pleasure – which motivates the individual to repeat that behaviour. In the body, dopamine is stored in several areas on the brain such as the ventral tegmental area and the substantia nigra.

Serotonin

Serotonin is the hormone responsible for regulating sleep, digestion, appetite, memory and learning ability. Furthermore, serotonin is related to maintaining mood balance. Hence, individuals suffering from depression have been linked to low levels of serotonin.

Boosting Happy Hormones

  • Research has shown that spending time outdoors, in sunlight, boosts serotonin and endorphin levels.
  • Regular exercise increases serotonin and dopamine levels.
  • Laughter is also one of the most effective ways to boost endorphin and dopamine levels
  • Certain food is also thought to increase the levels of all 4 happy hormones.
  • Music is also known to increase dopamine levels in our brain.
  • Supplements such as green tea may boost the production of serotonin and dopamine, however, individuals with underlying health conditions need to consult with their doctors before trying other supplements.

Frequently Asked Questions on happy hormones

How many happy hormones do we have?

Four specific hormones are classified as “happy hormones”. These include:

  • Endorphin
  • Oxytocin
  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine

Further Reading:

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