The happy hormone

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Are the heavy workloads of assignments bothering you? Do you feel the pounding of your heart as the exam datelines approaches, and you realized that you have tons of lectures to catch up on? Fret not, take a short break and have a kit-kat! It would make you feel better. Chocolates such as kit-kats give off the ‘happy hormone’, also known as serotonin.

What causes our brain to feel happy?

Serotonin and endorphin goes hand in hand with controlling and affecting our mood. Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, while endorphins are hormones that work with the endocrine system and released in our bodies.

What are serotonin and endorphins?

Serotonin plays an important role as a regulator of the nervous system functions. It helps to relay messages from one part of the brain to another. A huge portion of the brain cells is affected by serotonin. This includes emotions such as appetite, learning, memory, mood, social behavior, sexual desire and function, and temperature regulation.

An imbalance in serotonin levels would have negative outcomes. To put it simply, if you do not have serotonin, chances of getting depression would be skyrocketing (oh no!).

Endorphins can be found in the nervous system, the pituitary gland, or throughout other parts of the brain. Endorphins are hormones that allow the body to feel calm and relaxed. It is the body’s natural medication, which relieves tension and helps you sleep better.

Endorphins are usually produced as a response to pain, fear or stress. Low endorphins level causes people to be anxious and more aware of pain. High endorphins level helps to diminish pain and have lesser effects towards stress.

For the pleasure seekers out there, orgasms are also a contributing factor for endorphins. Apart from that, it is a great workout that helps to burn calories. *wink*

So, what contributes to this ‘happy hormones’?

  1. Chocolates
  2. Fruits
  3. Exercise
  4. Kissing
  5. Drugs

All of the above! When serotonin and endorphins are released, the stress hormones would decrease and one’s mood would increase. Thus, I highly recommend the first three attributes.

Chocolates taste good and they contain both serotonin and endorphin production. They also consist of antioxidants, which protects the body from aging. Most fruits usually also consist of a huge range of vitamins that are good for the health. For example, oranges can boost serotonin levels, and are high in vitamin C. There goes the recommended serving of 2 portions of fruits and vegetables a day, seen commonly on the health promotion boards. Exercises are good in decreasing stress hormones and increases endorphins. Besides, a good workout helps one look good, keep fit, and the body healthy.

Not to undermine kissing. Kissing is good, if you stick to kissing the same person. If not, the widespread of other germs and viruses can be uncanny. Flu viruses can be spread through the sharing of saliva. Drugs such as ecstasy gives off serotonin and makes one feel good. However, the side effects are too great that one should not risk one’s health just for a temporary high. Thus, I strongly do not recommend kissing and drugs.

What is the importance of feeling happy?

Being happy makes you feel good. A smile gives off a happy vibe and a friendly outward expression, making a person more approachable especially when greeting someone. Smiling is an expression understood by every race and culture. Most importantly, it is free and has an ability to brighten up one’s day.

So, what are you doing now? You know the drill, give me a smile if you can! After all, it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown. Smiling is the biggest key of happiness too. Time to turn that frown into a smile, and the tears into joy. Away with all the sadness and unhappiness, it’s time to start thinking about the rainbows and butterflies.

Many have not thought about the health benefits of happiness and the side effects of stress. Do they know that many simple things in life that can make one feel good? Even soaking up minute amount of sunshine energizes the body and promotes vitamin D intake. Have you thought of the importance between health and happiness? What do you do to feel happy?

Here’s a video of Pinkie Pie (from My Little Pony) with her Smile Song. Hopefully, it’ll brighten up your day.

 

References

Ahmad, H. R., & Brown, S. M. (2006). Serotonin. The American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 163(1), pp. 12.

Malick, J. B., & Bell, R. M. (1982). Endorphins: chemistry, physiology, pharmacology, and clinical relevance. New York.

Pruitt, D. S. (2012). Baby smiling [Image]. Retrieved October 3, 2012, from <http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/3617699772/&gt;

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10 comments on “The happy hormone

  1. Hi Suyinnn,

    Interesting post! To some it up, we should eat chocolate while having sex outdoors on a sunny day, and if you’re that way inclined why not pop an E as well!

    I don’t advocate drugs but don’t know that I agree with your strong recommendation about kissing. Sure all sorts of germs and viruses can get spread through saliva but unless you have the worst immune system ever most of us a strong enough to fight them off – assuming you’re not kissing someone whose nose is so blocked they can’t even really kiss you back!

    In my opinion the benefits of kissing outweigh the risk of spreading disease. I’d rather have an extra helping of fruit than turn down a good snog!

    • Thanks for your comment! I believe that eating fruits and exercising are still the best way to go. Fruits are rich in vitamins and help maintain one’s diet. Exercise also does allow us to keep fit and healthy.

      Kissing is good- if you don’t randomly make out with strangers you have met for the first time. Think about cold sores, ulcers or flu viruses you may get..

  2. Great post Suyinnn!
    It is sure we want to be happy most of the time, But while chocolate contributes a useful hormone to being happy, it may not be the most nutritious. I would rather advocate and settle for fruits first. Also, because I am a natural person, exercise perhaps would be recommendable more than chocolate and in that order.

    Like DJasudasen expressed, I doubt that kissing also attributes to being happy. But nonetheless, it helps burn out calories in a way.

    • Thanks for your comment! Yes, I agree that fruits and exercise should stand at first place. The recommendated portion of having 2 servings are fruits and vegetables daily are widely advertised on health promotion boards. Exercising makes one feel good and look good too!

      Chocolates does help to produce serotonin, but too much chocolate would be bad for the teeth and makes one’s grow fat. Then again, most chocolates taste good! Think about Koko Black, I would kill for a cup of hot chocolate during winter, especially when I am studying for a test.

  3. The release of endorphins from any of the ‘activities’ mentioned in the list above are a temporary high, but incorporated daily into a persons’ lifestyle (with the exception of drugs) Im sure they would contribute to a stable, healthy and happy life!

    • Thanks for you comment! I believe that maintaining a healthy lifestyle would make one feel happy. It is good to eat the right foods and have a balanced diet. Staying healthy also decreases the chances of falling sick. Exercises also increase a positive image, and therefore a better, happier and positive outlook towards life.

  4. Pingback: Interesting View on Happiness | Belletristic Book Babes

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