4 hormones controlling our behavior

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4 hormones Dopamine

Dopamine and its associated dopamine receptors play a vital role in everyday life functions. This hormone and its receptors influence movement, emotion, and the brain's reward system.

That is why dopamine is often referred to as the happy hormone. The brain produces dopamine when we have achieved something or when we expect a reward. For example, when checking off an item from the to-do list, finding lost keys or anticipating a storm of likes for a new photo on Instagram.

One of the most interesting aspects of dopamine is its role in mediating both psychological motivation and the actual physical movement that leads us to a goal. Dopamine drives us forward, motivates us and physically helps us perform better. Therefore, it is important to clearly define your goals, write them down and have them in a visible place. Craving dopamine will increase our chances of completing a task. Dr. Gail Matthews showed in his study that we are 42% more likely to achieve our goals if we write them down . 1

How to increase dopamine

Have you ever wondered why it is so great to look at a freshly cleaned room or a well-done manual job?
This feeling is the concept of effort-based reward at work. So if you want to keep your dopamine high, do something hard and challenging that will lead to a satisfying outcome.

For me, it's writing this article. :)

Gradual handling of a large project in smaller parts has the same effect. With every minor task completed, we get a dose of dopamine that gives us the motivation to continue.

Dopamine has one downside and that is that it is highly addictive. It makes us want more and not stop at any cost. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to recognize when we are using dopamine to our advantage and when, on the contrary, we are its slave.

An interesting fact

The highly addictive nature of dopamine is a major challenge to our physical and mental health if not kept in check. The so-called "cheap dopamine" is to blame. This can cause addiction to alcohol, drugs, porn or even social networks . 2

Endorphin

Its main function is to mask physical pain. 3 During a long and demanding physical exercise, our body starts to release endorphins to relieve the body from sore muscles. It supports the great endurance in which we as an animal species excel. The lives of hunters in the Stone Age depended largely on the ability to track their prey for hours and not bag it after several failed attempts.

Today, endorphins are most familiar to athletes during long runs or intense exercise, when they have to go one step further and overcome their pain threshold. Endorphins help us push this boundary further and gradually improve.

This is the reason why we feel so good after a run or a good workout - endorphins flow freely in our body and we ride a well-deserved wave of ecstasy. It's also the reason why everything hurts the next day and we can't move - the endorphin is gone and all that's left is exhausted muscles.

4 hormones controlling our behavior 1

Attractions

Endorphin is several times stronger than morphine. 4

That's why we develop an addiction to physical activity over time. Are you used to exercising regularly and after a long period of time without physical activity you feel unwell? Then the body's desire for endorphins is behind it.

When we laugh, the body releases endorphins to mask the pain from the contraction of our organs. That's why when we laugh long and hard, our stomachs start to hurt - the endorphin has time to wear off.

Serotonin

Serotonin is linked to our social status. It manifests as a sense of importance, pride and public recognition. We feel it strongly when someone thanks us or praises us.

It serves to strengthen relationships with the circle of people close to us. It mainly plays a big role in the relationship between the child and the parent. Serotonin is the reason why we struggle to finish school that we don't enjoy. We do it for the pride of parents, grandmothers and recognition of others around us.

4 hormones controlling our behavior 2

Attractions

Nowadays, serotonin can be generated artificially and promotes materialism. Brand shoes and expensive cars give us a sense of higher importance in the eyes of others. However, purchasing limited edition sneakers does not strengthen any interpersonal relationship, which is supposed to be the main function of serotonin. This leaves us with a brain that focuses on our own status instead of strengthening relationships with the environment.

The more important material things and social status are to us, the worse we feel. This is confirmed by several studies from different parts of the world. 5

For a happier life in the long run, it pays to invest in shared experiences with your loved ones, as they strengthen your relationship and create shared memories. 6

Oxytocin

Love, friendship and a sense of trust. The brain produces oxytocin when we feel understood and safe. Most oxytocin is produced during physical contact with another person, which strongly strengthens interpersonal relationships. 7

Because of oxytocin, we shake hands with a business partner. We thereby bring a human element into our actions and strengthen mutual trust.

4 hormones controlling our behavior 3

It is the reason why we like to learn and work in groups in one place, although we do not communicate with each other most of the time. Most of us feel good about being around others. It is due to evolutionary development, because people in groups have always had a better chance of survival than individuals, and therefore we feel more secure and comfortable in the company of familiar faces.

An interesting fact

Most oxytocin is produced during childbirth, breastfeeding or sex. But a friendly hug is enough for a good dose!

Sources of hormones:

1 – Dr. Gail Matthews Study, Department of Psychology (2015, May). ( http://www.dominican.edu/academics/ahss/undergraduate-programs/psych/faculty/assets-gail-matthews/researchsummary2.pdf )
2 – Neurobiological Processes in Drug Reward and Addiction. Bryon Adinoff, MD. (2004). ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1920543/ )
3 – Understanding Endorphins and Their Importance in Pain Management. Adam S Sprouse-Blum, BA, Greg Smith, BS, Daniel Sugai, BA, and F Don Parsa, MD. (2010, March)( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104618/ )
4 – Beta-endorphin is a potent analgesic agent. HH Loh, LF Tseng, E. Wei, and CH Li. (1976) ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC430793/ )
5 – The High Price of Materialism. Tim Kasser. ( http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/cs/personal%20well-being.pdf )
6 – Experiences make us happier than possessions. ( http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/10/happiness.possessions/index.html#cnnSTCText )
7 – The orgasmic history of oxytocin: Love, lust, and labor. Navneet Magon and Sanjay Kalra. (2011, September 15th). ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183515/ )

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