Your Voice: Happiness is not a mystical force
While balance is key, the awareness of how our brain works is the first step toward having a happier, more fulfilling life.
Finding happiness after over a year in almost a continuous state of worry and fear might seem difficult. Many studies have shown how mental illness has increased through the pandemic.
We often think of our happiness as a mystical force, the truth is that happiness is not as random as we might think. There are many reasons why people can’t seem to experience the joy of the moment. A significant factor is the lack of knowledge on the mechanism of how our happy chemicals work. We have four (4) happy chemicals; dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, and oxytocin. When we feel happy, we are experiencing one or a combination of those four chemicals.
It’s in your hands
Dopamine is the driving chemical for pleasure, known as the molecule of more. It helps us move and carry on toward our goals to stay motivated, creating a need for more goals, achievements, etc. It gets triggered every time we are craving or seeking something. Dopamine represents a desire like improving performance and receiving bonuses, and a loss of it, is a symptom of depression. Alternatively, the abundance of dopamine is when we get obsessed about something or reach the extreme version of it like an addiction. The key is in finding a balance in the pursuit instead of an overindulgence.
On the other hand, serotonin is a chemical that acts as a mood stabilizer. It promotes the feeling of well-being, satisfaction, pride and status. That is why employees aim to improve their career path and positions. It also helps with sleeping, eating, and digestion. When we experience serotonin, we feel more focused, proud, happier, and calmer. But having too little serotonin may lead to depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Serotonin can be triggered by reward and recognition, completing a major project or task. It can also be caused by exposure to sun in the early morning, proper sleep, and certain food like salmon.
Endorphins deals with stress and act as a morphine which is an opiate pain reliever. It can also cause a feeling of euphoria and reduces the feelings of pain. This helps us to continue working regardless of stress or injury. Just talking with friends as embodied in Saudi Aramco critical value of people conversation, enjoying a dark chocolate, or watching your favorite TV shows can raise endorphin.
Known as the “love hormone,” oxytocin plays a crucial role in social bonding, reproduction, and childbirth. It triggers and modulates physical functions and emotions such as happiness, attraction, love, affection, and empathy. It promotes social behaviors and emotional responses contributing to trust, relaxation, and psychological stability.
Explore the triggers
While balance is key, the awareness of how our brain works is the first step toward having a happier, more fulfilling life. So, I invite you to further explore those triggers and live your best life. As stated by Anna Lembke in her book Dopamine Nation: “I urge you to find a way to immerse yourself fully in the life that you’ve been given. “
Your Voice reflects the thoughts and opinions of the writer, and not necessarily those of the publication.