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23 May

The Science of Happiness

iStock_000016887310SmallScience? There’s science to a bad joke? There surely is. Like all our emotions, happiness can be best explained as a chemical reaction. We do something, hear something or see something we enjoy and we feel happy, right? Well, that feeling is a bunch of hormones churning out of the liver or pituitary gland to tell your brain, “Hey, this is fun.” So what are they, and where can we get more of them?

First up is Serotonin (known to its friends as 5-hydroxytyptamine). It works as a monoamine neurotransmitter, which means it’s there to keep all those electrical signals in our nervous system on the move. Made in the liver, its primary purpose is actually to control those nerve signals needed for digestion in the intestine. And it’s because of this close connection with digestion that serotonin is a big controller of our moods. Eating – particularly carbohydrates – means more serotonin, and this means we will feel happy – or perhaps better described – contentment. This why some people comfort eat – eating literally makes you feel better.

On the other hand, not eating enough reduces our serotonin levels, which induces feelings of worry or melancholy – mostly to encourage us to find more food, but these days usually diagnosed as obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety or depression. Even so, low serotonin levels shouldn’t automatically be considered a bad thing. That little bit of food anxiety in laboratory testing has been shown to increase lifespan and slow the ageing process…well, at least in worms.

The other big ‘happy’ of hormones are the Endorphines. These are actually opioids – just like codeine and morphine – made by the body to do what opioids do, and that is to inhibit nerve signals – pretty much the exact opposite to serotonin. They stop you feeling pain – particularly in a dangerous or ‘scary’ situation, and instead make you feel good – when in actual fact you should be having your pants scared off. This is best described as the roller coaster hormone. If you get off a roller coaster and feel so totally thrilled you want to get straight back on, that’s the endorphines talking. Driving a fast car, getting a kick out of something dangerous…that’s all endorphines.

So where does all this science leave us? Well, you can see both serotonin and endorphines, despite doing the exact opposite to each other, can leave you wanting more – be it food, be it thrills. They both give us a yearning to be happy, and they both explain why we find happiness in different things. These two hormones shape our personalties and behaviours more than most others and that, folks, is what we need inside our bodies to be happy.

What can Bowen Therapy do for me?

Image-24Bowen therapy is versatile and a dynamic remedial therapy which assists with a varied assortment of health concerns. We at Setter’s Health Centre realise that everyone is an individual with very individual needs. Contact us today about tailoring a specific Bowen Therapy Treatment range for your needs.

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The Science of Happiness

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