There’s undoubtedly a connection between our happiness and health — but what does that look like? The brain, hormones, and mind & body connection all play a role in your happiness levels. Your perception of your health status also has a serious impact on your happiness. The best way to break down the relationship between your happiness and health is to break it into parts.
The Relationship Between Happiness and Health
Most obviously, the brain heavily influences whether you feel happy or sad. Dr. Alice says,
“The parts of the brain that you want to consider when it comes to happiness and sadness, or just emotions in general, is the amygdala. That’s the emotional center of the brain… In regard to happiness, appreciation, and gratitude — that’s the prefrontal cortex.”
She points out that many people who suffer from head injuries begin feeling symptoms of anxiety, depression, and anger.
Estrogen is linked directly to depression. So if your body isn’t producing enough estrogen, you may begin to feel symptoms of depression. Dopamine is the body’s pleasure center, so lower dopamine levels could affect your happiness. Oxytocin is usually referred to as the body’s love hormone as it is produced during hugs, cuddling, and sex. Dr. Alice says, “If you have an imbalance of the combination of those three, then you’re going to have issues with depression, mood, anxiety.” We recommend getting your dopamine, oxytocin, and estrogen levels tested if you’re feeling symptoms of depression or anxiety. You’re going to feel much happier if your brain is functioning optimally!
To put it simply, the hormones that impact your happiness the most are testosterone and progesterone. It’s important to note that both men and women have testosterone! Dr. Alice notes that nearly 90% of STARK patients have a deficiency in testosterone. She says, “You’re going to have a lack of motivation, feel depressed, and not feel great. One of the most common improvements we see in patients who engage in testosterone replacement therapy is an improvement in mood, cognitive function, and energy. It’s all due to the amount of testosterone receptors in the brain.” Further, many people with a lack of progesterone will find that they have higher levels of anxiety and disturbances in sleep, which leads to a decrease in happiness levels.
Mind and Body Connection
Lastly, the connection between mind and body directly affects happiness. Your journey and how you view it will heavily affect if you’re going to feel happy or sad. Essentially, how you look at your circumstances will determine how your experiences will physiologically affect you. The happiest people tend to practice gratitude and meditation; it’s important to understand that happiness is directly related to the mind’s connection with the body. We encourage you to find ways to feel like you’re a part of a bigger picture.