We often blame hormones for our emotions - and this is correct. Hormones are very powerful natural chemical compounds involved in numerous and important processes of our body. And by our actions, we can enhance their secretion.
What are the the 'happy hormones'?
Endorphin, Serotonin, Dopamine, and Oxytocin are the four natural chemicals (hormones) known as "the quartet of happiness”. This name is due to the fact that they are involved in biological processes that unleash the feeling of happiness.
The four happy hormones
The endorphins are considered the morphine of the body and you can increase your levels by laughter, practicing your favorite hobbies and getting a good night's sleep.
The absence of serotonin may be responsible for the feeling of loneliness and depression. In fact, many antidepressant drugs act on the brain's serotonin receptors (such as Fluoxetine, which we have more information available on in our pharma section). Playing sports and exposing yourself to the sun can increase your serotonin levels.
The third hormone is dopamine. It is credited with the role of mediating pleasure. However, it has more to do with motivation. To increase your dopamine levels, learn to enjoy life's little pleasures and set short-term goals.
The third hormone is oxytocin it is associated with emotional ties and it is known as "the hug hormone." Scientific studies have shown that administering this hormone increases the feeling of generosity, of confidence, of love and of empathy, of sexual excitement and reduces stress. Likewise, studies carried out with mice without the gene that codes for the oxytocin receptor (the OXTR gene), show that these animals present aberrant social and emotional behaviors.
The hormones of happiness and genetics
The binding of these hormones to their corresponding receptors is what regulates the nervous system generating that feeling of happiness.
Now, as much as we increase our hormone levels, if they do not have a receptor to bind to, the information is not going to reach our system and we are not going to achieve that feeling of happiness.
This is why receivers and by analyzing genetic variants associated with oxytocin, dopamine, endorphin and serotonin receptors (along with other variants mapping other involved genes) we can provide you with your genetic predisposition to have high or low levels of these hormones.