Most folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.

-Abraham Lincoln Through the centuries, men have sought to explain the meaning and art of happiness. Most schools of philosophy have called happiness as the eternal quest of mankind. Science too has ventured to answer this eternal truth. According to latest studies, happiness is nothing but a ‘chemical locha’, that is, an emotional state affected by the neurochemistry of the brain. The feeling we call happiness is nothing but the varying levels of the four important happy neurochemicals in the brain – Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin and Serotonin. Each happy chemical triggers a different good feeling, including joy, warmth, pride, euphoria, happiness and many more. These chemicals evolved over time to promote survival not to provide permanent ecstasy.

Engineering student Spriha Chandrayan looks at chemical process of feelings

Our body is motivated towards things that trigger happy chemicals and avoid those that trigger the unhappy chemical – cortisol. It causes bad feelings such as stress, fear and pain. The question is, how do we gain happiness and avoid pain and the bad feelings? The fallacy in this is avoiding pain and bad feelings. It may sound harsh, but accepting the bad feelings is as important as triggering the good feelings. These feelings are the reason we are alive today as they promoted survival of the human race. Positive outlook is method of creating a new neural circuit to trigger happy chemicals. One should avoid over dependence on one happiness circuit. A good feeling promotes activation of the neural pathway and it soon becomes a vicious cycle.

To tackle this problem we should have more than one happy circuit. To break a habit is tough as the brain favours old happy circuits rather than the new ones. It’s not easy to manage the brain, but it’s a worthy challenge that comes with the gift of life.

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