Social Psychiatry Blog

The Chemical That Makes You Happy Is Produced In Your Brain

The brain produces the chemical that makes you happy. It is one of more than 50 substances which affect your mental well being and other processes such as intellect and memory. Serotonin travels along neurons in your body and triggers receptors in the brain to calm you down and lighten your mood. Serotonin is often produced in higher levels when a person is in a stressful situation.

The body needs tryptophan in order to create serotonin. Fortunately tryptophan rich foods are part of a balanced diet. The amino acid can be found in vegetables including soy products, grains which have not been altered, many fruits and beans. Fish and fowl are also excellent sources of tryptophan. Individuals who do not consume a healthy diet can take supplements which contains vitamins A, B, C and E.

Food isnt the only thing influencing the production of serotonin. Studies have shown even moderate exercise can help in the chemical production. It does not take a lot of physical activity to achieve the benefits. Plenty of sunlight can also help. Many people feel happier in the summer and are more likely to suffer from depression in the winter.

Serotonin makes people happy so it is a natural conclusion to suggest a lack of the chemical may make them sad. Depression may range from mild symptoms like sleeplessness or apathy to thoughts of suicide. Anti-depressant medications target the serotonin neurotransmitters.

Serotonin is not the only drug the body produces to increase a sense of well being. Dopamine is a hormone which improves energy levels and communication. It works by telling the brains receptor sites when a person is experiencing pleasure or pain and can produce a feeling of elation. As people grow older their levels of dopamine drop off.

The chemical that makes you happy is produced naturally in your body. Diet and exercise can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine. A doctor can perform tests to see if these chemicals are at a healthy level.

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