What is Happiness?

Paige Baker
2 min readJan 16, 2021

Everyone wants to be happy. For some people, the pursuit of happiness is one of their life goals. But how do you define happiness, and what is the science behind it? Happiness is a term used to express a positive mental or emotional state. It can be used to represent contempt, pleasure, intense joy, and many other positive feelings.

The feeling of happiness occurs when our body releases neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin, known as the “happiness chemical”, and dopamine, known as the “reward molecule”.

Both of these chemicals are released into the body when we do things that are good for us. They travel through our bloodstream and help with our other bodily functions.

Serotonin is made by an amino acid called tryptophan, which is found in foods like nuts, cheese, and red meats. An insufficient level of tryptophan leads to low levels of serotonin, which can cause depression or anxiety. Serotonin helps with digestion, sleeping, eating, bone health, and preventing nausea.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced by our brains, that effects our movements, our mood, and our decision making. It is released when your body is expecting a reward, such as experiencing somthing or even thinking about somthing that you enjoy. A favorite activity, food, place, or even person are all examples. Like serotonin dopamine also aids in many bodily functions. It helps with blood flow, digestion, heart function, and sleep. Dopamine also improves your mood, memory, ability to deal with stress, and increases your motivation.

There are many easy ways to improve your seotonin and dopamine levels. Eating a healthy balanced diet, getting plenty of rest, and simply doing things you enjoy.


Pietrangelo, Ann. “Dopamine Effects on the Body, Plus Drug and Hormone Interactions.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 5 Nov. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/dopamine-effects.

Scaccia, Annamarya. “Serotonin: Functions, Normal Range, Side Effects, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 19 Aug. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/serotonin#:~:text=Serotonin is made from the,such as anxiety or depression.

“What Causes Happiness? Learn About the Science of Happiness.” Tonyrobbins.com, www.tonyrobbins.com/mental-health/science-of-happiness/#:~:text=There's a scientific reason for,just seems to happen naturally.

Paige Baker

Mrs. Butell-Huntoon Hr.3