Monday, April 20, 2015
Utilitarianism: How Happiness Works
Perhaps the most well known of the happy chemicals are endorphins. Endorphin translates into “self-produced morphine.” Endorphins are commonly known as “The Pain-Killing Molecule.” They are produced in the pituitary gland during periods of physical exertion. Endorphins help us naturally cope with injury as well as give the “runner’s high” associated with exercise. The next chemical is adrenaline, “The Energy Molecule.” Adrenaline is the chemical associated with feelings of energy and alertness caused by exciting, scary, or threatening events. It is the hormone that activates the fight or flight response. GABA is the exact opposite of adrenaline, causing feelings of well-being and calmness. GABA is responsible for what is known as “The Relaxation Response.” A release of GABA into the body would relieve anxiety or feelings of discontent. Oxytocin is a hormone that is linked with human bonding, love, and trust. It is what drives our desire for intimacy and friendship. Dopamine, the reward molecule, is what controls all reward and pleasure driven behaviors. It is what gives us the feeling of satisfaction after completing a difficult task or achieving a goal. Endocannabinoids are molecules that provide blissful or uplifted feelings. Although cannabinoids are typically associated with the cannabis plant, there are just as many, even many of the same, produced in the human body naturally. The most general chemical responsible for happiness is Serotonin. Serotonin is active in mood changes, reward, and curing anxiety.
Section 8-1 Wesley Cloud