Throughout this site, I often talk about Serotonin, the hormone known as the "happiness chemical". It is a neuro-transmitter in your brain that is responsible for sending signals from one area of the brain to another.
Serotonin influences a wide range of cells in the brain including ones responsible for our mood among many others.
Both Serotonin and another hormone called Dopamine are thought to be the main cause of happiness. Keeping these hormones at balanced levels will go a long way in keeping your mood stabilized and helping you to feel the feeling known as "happy".
Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical in our brains. And when we're stressed, our bodies use more of this hormone to help us stay calm and relaxed. In order to avoid depleting our resources, we must learn to initiate a relaxation response when stressed. Or simply put, it's important to practice effective stress management in order to avoid a deficiency in Serotonin.
There are many anti-depressants these days that are designed to increase Serotonin levels. And in addition, there are certain foods that can increase these levels too. This can be helpful if you are experiencing an actual Serotonin deficiency.
Low levels can create feelings of being overwhelmed, sleep problems, loss of interest in activities you enjoy, appetite abnormalities, and problems with memory and concentration among other things.
Serotonin deficiency is also linked to depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
However, you can also have too much of a good thing. To allow these chemicals to create feelings of happiness, they need to be balanced. Too much Serotonin can be quite dangerous. Therefore it is never recommended that you attempt to increase your levels without the supervision of your doctor.
The best way to assure that the "happiness" chemicals in your brain are level and working the way they should is to maintain a proper diet and exercise program as well as practice effective stress management. By doing these things and living a healthy lifestyle, you can help assure that the known causes of happiness are working in your favor.