Here are some Psychological and Chemical Clues to Happiness
Think of something that makes you happy, so much that it feels real as a meditation.
Missing a friend is an uncomfortable feeling, like a missing connection in a machine; it messes with our functioning. So feel those good feelings that they make you feel, even if it makes you cry. Do not be afraid of your own feelings.
Now let’s think about the Emotional ‘Heart’ aspects of our brain / body:
Adrenalin (Epinephrine) – neuro-transmitter hormone that stimulates body functions like heart-rate, blood-pressure, and metabolism. Adrenalin is released by stress and causes the emotion fear. It can also aid in memory retention. ‘Adrenalin junkies’ may be addicted to the endorphins simultaneously released.
Endorphins – neuro-transmitter chemical produced by the brain during exercise, pain, eating spices, sex, and the ‘feeling’ of ‘love’. The exhilaration produced can be beneficial for happiness, pain-relief, and further enhance love as euphoria.
Dopamine – neuro-transmitter chemical that sends ‘reward’ signals between nerve cells during pleasurable and painful activities or thoughts. Dopamine has prime roles in reward-motivated behavior, excitement, hormone production, and nervous-system dexterity / agility (‘motor-skills’). Dopamine also affects blood vessels, kidneys, pancreas, digestive-system, and the immune-system.
Dopamine-activating stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine, and meth-amphetamine amplify the effects of dopamine. Conversely, many anti-psychotic drugs act by suppressing the effects of dopamine. Drugs that act against dopamine are anti-nausea agents.
Oxytocin – neuromodulator hormone in brain and blood. Causes complex emotions of trust, attachment, euphoria, and morality. Produced by sexual/reproductive activities and compassionate exchanges like hugging.
Serotonin – neuro-transmitter chemical in the digestive-system (bowels), nervous-system (CNS), and circulatory-system (blood platelets) derived from tryptophan and melatonin. Serotonin affects healing, happiness, and contentment. Serotonin also affects alpha / beta behaviors, and ‘flight-or-fight’ responses in complex ways.
Psychedelic drugs mimic Serotonin as ‘agonists’. Anti-Depressant drugs alter Serotonin levels. Thus there are spiritual, medical, and psychological therapeutic aspects to Serotonin.
Melatonin – chemical endocrine hormone preservative that protects DNA, and is an anti-oxidant sleep-aid. Melatonin production is derived from tryptophan, produced by the pineal gland in the center of the brain, and released by visual darkness. Melatonin is also found in herbs like fever-few and saint-Johns-wort; vegetables like rice and corn; and fruits like cherries and grapes .
Melatonin controls our internal ‘circadian’ clock rhythms, including being awake and asleep. There-fore Melatonin is beneficial for over-all good health and long-life. It is used to treat diseases, depression, and insomnia. Regular restful periods of sleep are important to cleanse the brain of toxins that accumulate during conscious activity, and thus prevents related illness like Alzheimers.