In this busy, crazy, and sometimes very stressful world, we often need all the help we can get to boost our spirits. We can look to others to make us happy, but, what we really need is to create the right chemical reaction inside our brains. At any given moment, our bloodstream is filled with a variety of chemical messengers called hormones. These messengers move through the bloodstream in search of their targeted receptors where they will deliver their signal. When it comes to emotions, there is more than one hormone that makes you happy, and that is what we will explore below.
It is said that happiness is a state of mind, and nothing could be truer. Happiness comes from within the mind, deep inside the brain where hormones interact with and bind to their receptors. The result of this binding can affect one’s health, emotions, and brain functions.
Many of these hormones also act as neurotransmitters – chemicals that transmit an impulse from one nerve cell to other nerves, tissues, organs, or muscles.
So, what is the hormone that makes you happy?
In the list below, we will explore the 14 major and minor players in our quest for happiness:
- Phenylethylamine (PEA)
- Human growth hormone
Hormones play a significant role in our happiness.
Role of Serotonin as a Happiness Hormone
At the mere mention of the term “happiness hormone,” the word serotonin often comes to mind.is the fabled hormone that makes you happy. In its role as a neurotransmitter, serotonin delivers critical signals between nerve cells.
Here are some of the functions of normal serotonin levels:
- Mood regulator and stabilizer
- Inhibits feelings of depression
- Regulates anxiety
- Improving focus
- Stimulating brain functions that control sleep or waking depending on the serotonin receptor
Serotonin synthesis from tryptophan requires you to consume foods high in this amino acid. Red meat, turkey, salmon, pineapple, tofu, eggs, nuts, and cheese all contain higher levels of tryptophan. You can also increase serotonin levels through sun exposure, meditation, and exercise.
As with any hormone, too much or too little can lead to problems. Low serotonin levels can increase libido. Elevated serotonin levels can reduce libido as well as weaken the bones. Serotonin also impacts digestion and can increase nausea if the body boosts serotonin levels in response to unwanted or unsafe foods.
Function of Dopamine as a Happiness Hormone
The next brain hormone that makes you; a neurotransmitter often released following an accomplishment. Dopamine is the brain’s natural reward for doing something good. People who regularly volunteer their time tend to have higher dopamine levels in the bloodstream.
Some of the benefit of this hormone that makes you happy include:
- Feelings of pleasure and bliss
- Mental alertness
You can naturally increase dopamine by setting goals and accomplishing them. Also, protein-rich foods and probiotics help boost dopamine levels. Saturated fat can reduce dopamine. Music, meditation, sunlight, getting enough sleep, and exercise may also help increase dopamine levels.
Endorphins – The Happiness Hormones
are the reason why so many people turn to opioids for pain. Endorphins are natural opioid neuropeptides that work on opiate receptors in the brain. These peptide neurochemicals are the body’s built-in pain relievers.
Some of the functions of this “hormone” that makes you happy include:
- Boost pleasure
- Improve feelings of well-being
- Reduce pain
- Decrease depression
- Lower anxiety and stress
- Boost self-esteem
You can boost endorphins through sex, dancing, exercise, volunteering, acupuncture, or getting a massage. A glass of wine, spicy food, and dark chocolate can also increase endorphin release. Meditation, watching your favorite show on television, laughing, and aromatherapy are other endorphin boosters.
Other Happiness Hormones to Know
Although the three hormones in the previous sections are the primary hormones that make you happy do not discount any of the ones in the list below for their benefits:
- Oxytocin – dopamine stimulates oxytocin release which increases the desire to cuddle and form emotional attachments. Oxytocin also promotes sexual arousal.
- – helps you to sleep better so that you wake up feeling rested and happier.
- GABA – this anti-stress hormone helps you feel calm, focused, and in control.
- Acetylcholine – benefits of this hormone for improving happiness include support for memory, alertness, and sexual performance.
- Enkephalins – helps reduce feelings of depression, transmission of pain, and cravings.
- Norepinephrine – improves alertness, motivation, happy feelings, and is an anti-depressant.
- Phenylethylamine (PEA) – increases feelings of bliss and infatuation. PEA is found in dark chocolate.
- Human growth hormone – HGH receptors in the brain help regulate mood, libido, memory, and brain functions. HGH lowers cortisol and improves sleep.
- Testosterone – androgen receptors in the brain also aid sexual desire, emotional well-being, and brain functions. Testosterone was the first line of treatment for depression before the invention of anti-depressants. Increased testosterone levels also help reduce cortisol production.
- Progesterone – improves sleep, reduces mood swings, irritability, and anxiety.
- Estrogen – helps to lower cortisol and reduces feelings of anxiety and irritability.
How to Maximize Hormones That Make You Happy
You can choose to try natural methods to increase the level of any hormone that makes you happy. The best way to do that is through diet, exercise, sleep, stress reduction, and getting a little sunshine every day.
Of course, if you have a concern over hormone deficiency, please contact our hormone clinic for a free consultation with a medical advisor.
Many hormones contribute to happiness. Proper hormonal balance is the key.
- Happiness & Health: The Biological Factors- Systematic Review Article Dariush DFARHUD,1,2 Maryam MALMIR, and Mohammad KHANAHMADI Iran J Public
Health. 2014 Nov; 43(11): 1468–1477.