Oxytocin is one of the 4 main culprits we think are associated with the distinct emotion of happiness. The other three are Dopamine, Seratonin and Endorphines. On their own accord, each neurotransmitter or hormone, affects our body and brain to create the unique sensation that we ultimately labelled as happiness. When these chemicals are secreted in our bodies and brains, the person should sense particular set of responses which include; a relaxed state, a diminished sensation of pain and/or discomfort, a sense of satisfaction, a general sensation of muscle relaxation, a diminished (or absence) of fear, and a sense of being rewarded and pleasure. These combined in one event, make us happy. However, happiness is rather complex and hard to understand. The very same neurchemicals can be present in part or in full in other operant emotions. It is obvious that the physical responses mentioned here are not exclusive to happy moments, but people often feel relaxed, comfortable and pleased in a number of occasions which they would not call happy. The runner’s rush, for instance is one of those moments, where the runner gets a similar sense of elation exactly after a good workout. But s/he may not necessarily say this is happiness. Some studies even suggest that some of these chemicals can be active even during negative stimulation.
Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness. He offers parent coaching and social work sessions. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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