Dopamine Oxytocin Serotonin— Which One Is Your Favorite?
This is your “high” octane. It is the chemical that causes you to chase a thrill and feel excitement. It is there to tell you, “Yeah, yeah, do that; you’re gonna love this!” Dopamine is released when an anticipated reward is due, causing you to chase what your brain thinks is good for your survival.
The profile of a person driven by dopamine varies because our life experiences mold these urges and drives, See if you can relate to any of these behaviors: A person might seek out challenges or a quest. They are willing to push themselves to achieve goals because their brains give them a hit of dopamine from just the thought of reaching one.
Serotonin is our “well-being” drug. It is present when we look at a sunset and feel total contentment. Serotonin evolved to tell us that our needs have been met, that we are safe and secure. It is released when we eat a good meal, are highly praised, or accomplish a task. Serotonin gets released anytime we are considered better than others.
When lacking serotonin, you may feel obsolete, unimportant, empty, and (in severe cases) depressed. If you find that you are worrying about possible future events or that you are feeling vulnerable, you need serotonin.
Oxytocin = Being loved.
Oxytocin is known as the “cuddle hormone”. This neurochemical is responsible for bonding a mother with her newborn after giving birth. It is also released after sex and during cuddling, nursing, or a nurturing moment with a loved one. When people hold hands with someone or feel included in a group, oxytocin rewards them so they continue to stay close to others.
Therapy Dogs have become popular in hospitals and nursing homes because any patient engaging with the dog will have a spike in oxytocin, not only helping the person feel better both physically and emotionally but actually aiding in the healing process.