Our body produces hundreds of neurochemicals. Only a small fraction of these have been identified by scientists. We will not know in our lifetime exactly how all of these molecules work. Albert Einstein believed that, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Based on this philosophy I have applied simple tags to 7 brain molecules and general descriptions of how each is linked with a feeling of well-being.
THE NEUROCHEMICALS OF HAPPINESS
1. Endocannabinoids: “The Bliss Molecule” Endocannabinoids are self-produced cannabis that work on the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors of the cannabinoid system. Anandamide (from the Sanskrit “Ananda” meaning Bliss) is the most well known endocannabinoid. Interestingly, at least 85 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the Cannabis plant. The assumption is that each of these acts like a key that slips into a different lock of the cannabinoid system and alters perceptions and states of consciousness in various ways. It is likely that we self-produce just as many variations of endocannabinoids, but it will take neuroscientists decades to isolate them.
There is not a one-size-fits-all prescriptive when it comes to creating a neurochemical balance that correlates to a sense of happiness. Use this list of 7 neurochemicals as a rudimentary checklist to take inventory of your daily habits and to keep your life balanced. By focusing on lifestyle choices that secrete each of these neurochemicals you will increase your odds of happiness across the board.
Brain science is a triad of electrical (brain waves), architectural (brain structures) and chemical (neurochemicals) components working in concert to create a state of mind.