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’?
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.
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/>