Don't confuse "reward" for happiness - Deepstash

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Happiness Is Not Like Instant Coffee

Happiness Is Not Like Instant Coffee

Happiness is a slow burn, something existentially different from the various feel-good ‘rewards’ that most of us believe to be happiness, and are therefore addicted to.

With many of us who are unconsciously looking for happiness online, the little releases of dopamine when we get ‘likes’ or any other social media validation has made us forget the real, longer-term happiness that comes from bonding, or feeling healthy, or even by just breathing in nature.

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Types Of Happy Hormones: Endocannabinoids

People who exercise regularly feel a certain bliss post-workout. It is a state of happiness that comes from the release of endocannabinoids after the body has pushed itself harder than normal.

Runners experience this state of ‘high’ after they complete a good run.

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Types Of Happy Hormones: Dopamine

Also known as the ‘reward’ high, it is a happy chemical released in the brain as a reward for anything that is pleasurable. It is a short-lived feeling that goes as soon as it comes.

The plus side is that it is also felt when we achieve any goal, or even when we simply tick a box in our to-do list.

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Types Of Happy Hormones: Oxytocin

Bonding with fellow humans and animals makes us happy. A hug from a loved one, or even stoking one’s dog releases oxytocin in our brain and has lasting benefits of happiness.

Even looking at old pictures of fond memories does the same thing to us.

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Types Of Hormones: Endorphins

Our bodies can self-produce morphine during orgasm, or heavy exercise, providing a release of ‘endorphins’ that also assist in relieving pain.

Acupuncture therapy also stimulates this type of hormones to be secreted in the body.

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Types Of Happy Hormones: GABA

Yoga and meditation provide a sense of peace and calmness, which is due to the hormone GABA.

This anti-anxiety molecule produced during such practices works by slowing down the neurons being fired inside the mind.

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Types Of Hormones: Serotonin

This hormone stabilizes our emotions, and can also affect our ‘arousal’ intensity and bowel movements.

Low levels of this ‘stabilizing’ molecule is linked to depression.

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Types Of Hormones: Adrenaline

Our vast catalogue of hormones produced in the body also includes the ‘energy’ molecule, adrenaline (epinephrine) which when released, creates a surge inside the body which feels exhilarating.

Extreme sports, horror films, roller coasters and sudden accidents (fight or flight situations) trigger this hormone.

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The Pursuit Of ‘Happyness’

We could help ourselves with the following understanding:

  1. Dopamine comes and goes like a flash, and oxytocin is a better, more lasting happiness hormone.
  2. Loving others generates oxytocin, but so does loving and being kind to yourself.
  3. Breathing exercises make us calm, and create a sense of bliss.
  4. Thrill seeking pursuits have to be safe, and should not result in burnout.
  5. Regular exercise is one activity to impact many of the hormones.

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