What part of the brain is responsible for happiness?

Happiness is a complex concept that can be understood, for example, as an emotion, a feeling of well-being or an intellectual condition of being satisfied with what is happening.

Different areas of the brain participate in all these experiences, including the frontal lobes that are very important in planning and organizing the behaviors that may eventually result in being happy or not.

However, most people understand happiness as an emotion and in this sense, the areas of the brain that most participate in it are those related to the limbic system, which in turn is made up of a series of brain structures.

Happiness depends on certain brain circuits.

In this post we are going to answer the question ‘’ What part of the brain is responsible for happiness?’’ We will explain how happiness is produced in the brain and what are the substances in charge.

What part of the brain is responsible for happiness?

The area of the prefrontal cortex on the left side, mainly, is associated with the emotions of happiness, of joy.

Do you want to know where happiness comes from? Well very good. What is happiness? It’s a feeling, or an emotion, or a state of mind, or a state of mind, or something like that. However we define it, it is extremely difficult to deny that, at its fundamental level, it is something produced by the brain.

Despite its few hundred grams of weight, the human brain does a staggering amount of work and has hundreds of different parts doing thousands of different things every second, all of which give us the rich and detailed existence that we so unconsciously take for granted.

So of course happiness comes from the brain, but we need to know exactly where happiness comes from, what part of the brain produces it, what region sustains it, what area recognizes the presence of events that induce happiness.

Is there a zone of happiness in the brain?

A team of neuroscientists seems to have found, almost by chance, what could be the zone of happiness in the human brain. A specific area of ​​the cingulate beam could act as an access point to various networks that regulate mood.

Today we are talking about a study that has been presented in relation to the fascinating functioning of our brain, about which we know something more every day. It seems that the zone of happiness that can be electrically stimulated could have been found. This opens a new range of possibilities for the treatment of certain pathologies.

Actually, the research began as a brain mapping by electrical stimulation of patients suffering from epilepsy.

What they found by chance is that electrical stimulation of the cingulum produced an incredible number of laughs. It also seemed to induce incredible well-being and a pleasant sense of calm.

We already knew that stimulating certain parts of the brain can cause an uncontrollable urge to laugh.

But the novelty of this discovery is that this is the first time that one of them has been identified; the same that also seems to significantly reduce anxiety when stimulated.

The investigation

The team of neuroscientists at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta that carried out the research was studying patients with epilepsy. Small electrodes had been placed in their brains in order to electrically stimulate some areas of the brain. The goal was to find information about the neural source of seizures in their patients.

The researchers could not believe when stimulating the cingulate bundle of one of the young patients, a tract of white matter connecting various regions of the brain caused the patient to start laughing uncontrollably. She also smiles and feels relaxed and calm.

They then decided to show the patient a set of facial expressions that ranged from happy to sad to neutral. It was found that she rated faces as happier when she was subjected to electrical stimulation. This is an indicator that she was in a better mood.

The level of cognition was also measured when this zone of happiness was stimulated in the brain. The patient was subjected to memory, attention and language tests.

Cognition was not found to be affected positively or negatively. That is, electrical stimulation does not appear to interfere with cognition.

The study continued with the same tests in two other patients suffering from epilepsy. These subjects showed the same responses to electrical stimulation of the cingulate bundle as in the first patient. In all there was a feeling of calm and uncontrollable laughter.

The reason why this area of ​​the brain causes a feeling of calm and laughter

The bundle of the cingulum is located under the cortex and curved around the midbrain. In its upper frontal part is where this zone of happiness in the brain has been located. This area has many connections that link regions of the brain linked to complex emotions.

The white matter that crosses the bundle of the cingulate connects several lobes. When stimulated, other networks that extend throughout the rest of the brain may be affected. That is, it appears to be intermediate chaff between other regions of the brain.

Jon T. Willie, a scientist who was part of the team, likens it to a super highway with many on-and-off ramps. The team believes that they could have found access to various networks that regulate mood, social interaction and emotions.

What does this discovery mean for the future?

The main idea around which future research on this extraordinary discovery will revolve seems to focus on the use of electrical stimulation as part of intervention in anxiety disorders, depression and even chronic pain.

Another line of research could be opened with the use of electrical stimulation in this area of ​​happiness of the brain as it helps better and more pleasant experiences during neurosurgery in which patients are forced to stay awake.

In any case, we must wait for the technologies to improve since this type of treatment would require invasive surgery right now, since the electrodes should be placed directly on the brain, which implies an operation with serious risks.

Be that as it may, it is a discovery of tremendous importance that brings us one step closer to the real knowledge of our brain and that is drawn on the horizon as a hopeful path for all interventions that have to do with the state of mind, be it replacing or complementing them.

4 substances in the brain responsible for your happiness

Many times the person responsible for a depression or a situation of unhappiness or dissatisfaction is none other than the absence, or low levels, in our brain, of one of the four chemical elements that make us feel happy. To alleviate these imbalances there are natural formulas that we can carry out, we will tell you:

  1. Endorphins

First, we will talk about endorphins, also known as “hormones of happiness”, they are chains of proteins, made by the body itself, which are responsible for stimulating the brain areas that produce pleasure to the body. 

These substances are also known as endogenous opiates, because their chemical composition and performance is very similar to that of opium derivatives, such as heroin and morphine.

Other benefits of endorphins in the brain are their ability to inhibit physical or emotional pain, stimulate the immune system, as well as improve attention span.

To generate endorphins we can perform activities such as singing, dancing, laughing, playing sports, eating spicy foods, having sex, watching sad movies, or sleeping.

  1. Serotonin

Another element that causes well-being is serotonin. 

This hormone, synthesized by the body through the amino acid tryptophan, is responsible for our sensation of pleasure since, among other functions, it acts as a modulator of the functioning of other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine or dopamine (related to problems such as anxiety, fear or aggressiveness).

To increase its levels in the brain, naturally, we can sunbathe, play sports, eat dark chocolate or foods rich in omega-3, remember happy moments, have sex or receive relaxing massages, in addition to trying to have a sleep cycle neat and regular.

On the contrary, you should avoid stress, staying up late, smoking, drinking alcohol, drinking a lot of coffee or energy drinks or certain drugs or drugs, such as antihistamines that block the production of serotonin.

  1. Dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter generated by our body responsible for our well-being, our motivation to undertake new actions, (it is generated with curiosity and learning), and it is also responsible for providing us with rewards both when making decisions to make something, as in the moment of having fulfilled a marked objective.

Our personality largely depends on this substance, people who have high levels of dopamine have great curiosity and motivation for learning, the level of overweight also depends on it, (obese people have a low level of dopamine because they need to stimulate more with food), or memory capacity, the higher the dopamine levels, the more memory.

When we lack dopamine in our brain, we can feel unmotivated, bored, depressed or even distressed.

To increase its levels naturally we must avoid stress, practice physical exercise, have adequate rest and eat foods rich in antioxidants.

  1. Oxytocin

Oxytocin is an important brain compound in building confidence, which is necessary to develop emotional relationships. It is the hormone of love par excellence. In fact, hugging a person or breastfeeding your baby is a very fast way to increase its levels in the brain.

This chemical substance is the engine that ignites and shapes much of our prosocial behaviors, such as empathy, trust, friendship, affection, trust, generosity, altruism or compassion. It also plays a basic role in our dopamine reward centers: it is she who, for example, generates pleasure during orgasms.

But not only that, according to a recent study, oxytocin not only connects us with others, it also favors psychological and emotional mechanisms that help us connect with ourselves, in search of our internal balance.

In short, almost everything comes down to leading healthy and orderly lifestyle habits, not only in relation to food, physical exercise or rest, but also in social relationships. Avoiding toxic people and having more contact with loved ones is a formula to stimulate happiness. Do the test!

FAQS: What part of the brain is responsible for happiness?

Is the amygdala responsible for happiness?

Our emotional state is governed partly by a tiny brain structure known as the amygdala, which is responsible for processing positive emotions such as happiness, and negative ones such as fear and anxiety.

How the brain works with happiness?

We are happy thanks to hormones that our body secretes. Dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin are the neurotransmitters responsible for different areas related to happiness. And it is not so difficult to activate these hormones, we can fool the brain.

Do emotions come from the heart or brain?

Emotions come from the brain. 

What does the amygdala do?

The amygdala is, therefore, the main control nucleus of emotions and feelings in the brain, also controlling the responses of satisfaction or fear. … It is a complex structure, being an almond-shaped structure located in the limbic system of the brain.

How can I make my brain happy?

6 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain for Happiness…

Thinking positive. …

Memorize a list of happy words.

Use associations. 

Practice gratitude. 

Spend a few minutes each day writing about something that made you happy. 

Celebrate your successes, even the small ones.

In this post we answered the question ‘’ What part of the brain is responsible for happiness?’’ We explained how happiness is produced in the brain and what are the substances in charge.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know!

References

Herculano-Houzel, S. (2009). The Human Brain in Numbers: A Linearly Scaled-up Primate Brain. Hum Neurosci.

Maton, Anthea; Jean Hopkins; Charles William McLaughlin; Susan Johnson; Maryanna Quon Warner; David LaHart; Jill  D. Wright (1993). Human

Biology and Health. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall.

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