Happiness, what are the friendly hormones of good mood


Happiness and good mood are important not only in everyday life, they have even been recognized as rights from the UNthe United Nations Organization, which in a 2012 resolution wanted to establish a World Happiness Day.

International Day of Happiness, celebrated every year on March 20, reminds us how mental and physical condition can make a difference. But how can you be happier? If the events that happen are not always the result of our decisions, everyone can try to increase their happiness, with small gestures, actions that contribute to well-being or foods that stimulate the production of special hormones. See what they are and how they work on the body and mind.

Serotonin or “hormone of happiness”

There serotonin is perhaps the most well-known of the so-called hormones, although it is actually a neurotransmitter, that is, a substance produced naturally by the body, which transmits certain messages from one part of the body to another or from one organ to another. , including the mind.

“Serotonin is considered “The hormone of happiness”Why balances the mood in a positive sense. Serotonin is produced by the nuclei of the brain, but it has not only to do with the central nervous system, therefore the brain, but also with the peripheral. For example, the digestion of certain foods stimulates their production,” he explains Anna Colao, president of SIE, the Italian Society of Endocrinology.

How to increase serotonin: foods and activities

So what are the foods that help in a good mood? “These are the so-called comfort foods, foods that provide comfort, such as e.g chocolate and coffeebut some exotic foods such as mango, papaya, pineapple and very mature cheeses. The reason lies in the fact that they contain substances that are precursors of what is used to produce serotonin, so they facilitate its release starting from the digestive system,” explains the expert. Who adds: “Serotonin is also released after sexual intercoursein the post-coital phase, and is what gives the feeling of satisfaction and relaxation after arousal.”

Dopamine, what effect does it have?

Of many there dopamine defined as “hormone of euphoria” or “hormone of satisfaction”because it is what is stimulated, for example, after taking a “like” on social media or, in gaming or betting, when you are pressed to continue in the hope of achieving a win.

“It’s actually more of a depressant hormone, in the sense that it’s sometimes used to calm those in the throes of over-excitement,” Colao explains. “Its action, in fact, is to calm the mood, giving greater peace. In this case, however, there are no foods that can increase it except actions: these are those that have given us positive sensations in the past and which, due to the reward effect, we are led to reproduce in order to experience the same situation again. mind. positive soul.”

“Dopamine is produced, for example, when we have athletic or physical performance, including “amateur”.: unlike serotonin that is released in the post-contact phase, dopamine is present in the previous one,” says the endocrinologist.

Oxytocin, the love hormone

“Oxytocin is an actual hormone, not a neurotransmitter. It is produced by certain neurons and is also known as “maternity hormone”because it not only contributes to the contraction of the uterus during I’m leaving, but it is what the mother feels towards the newborn and is especially stimulated by breastfeeding. It’s a feature of maternal care, but it’s also present in other mammals and humans,” says Colao.

“For example, in the latter case, it is the hormone that stimulates the sense of protection towards children and which, above all, can interfere withmale ejaculation. We don’t know much about this hormone and it certainly intervenes in other situations because it cannot be imagined that it is limited to these actions. However, his influence onappetite: it is that which helps to control the feeling of hunger and which sometimes makes us not feel it after a considerable effort.’

What are endorphins for?

“Endorphins are hormones that come from the ‘cutting’ of a larger molecule that also stimulates cortisol, the hormone associated with stress,” says the endocrinologist. Who continues: “They are actually ours natural pain relievers, those produced when we are attacked, self-injured or otherwise experience physical pain which, thanks to their action, is at least reduced in intensity. It is those produced, for example, after a sports performance, that give a feeling of well-being despite fatigue. But not only that: endorphins are released every time we perform a pleasurable action, including listen to music, observe a view, watch a playso they give satisfaction.”

The other hormones: the role of insulin and the thyroid

In fact, there are other hormones that can contribute to mood.

“The same insulinproduced by the pancreas to lower circulating blood sugar, can modify the sense of hunger and satiety, and this is one of the reasons why sugar can be ‘addictive,'” explains the SIE president. “Then there are also the thyroid hormones, which can act in a positive and negative sense. For example, with hypothyroidism you tend to be short, depressed or absent, while with hyperthyroidism you can become extremely excited or even aggressive. Finally, let’s not forget that sex hormoneslike estrogen for women which, if low, can lead to depression and sadness, and testosterone for men, which, if high, gives a sense of invincibility.”

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