4 happiness chemicals: endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin

By | December 22, 2014




Ran across some articles on the four chemicals that are responsible for our happiness. Sad to think that our happiness is just a bunch of chemicals – but science does a great job of de-constructing our world, for the good of our health, but the death of mystery.

Apparently, these are the four ingredients to much of our happiness (EDSO). Simon Sinek, (yes, of the TED “Start with the Why” fame) talks how these 4 chemicals apply to the corporate world, organizations, and leadership here. It is a 45 min talk based on his book called, “Leaders Eat Last.”  Same with book here (affiliate link). Very watchable, fascinating.

Happiness Chemicals

Endorphins. Diminishes our perceptions of pain.  Keeps us going during work-outs, gives us a “runner’s high”, and helps us to endure difficulties. Good for those late nights, 70+ hour weeks, and back-breaking middle seats.

Dopamine. Motivates us to achieve incremental goals. Rewards motivated behavior. Kind of like the “greed” function of our brain. Makes us feel good when we check things off the “to do list” or get through project milestones. Highly addictive.

Serotonin.  Provides the feeling of significance, pride, status. It drives us to seek the recognition of others. Want to do it “for my mom, my boss, my wife.” It reinforces the sense of relationships with the group, allegiance.  imon Sinek calls this the Leadership chemical and what creates a sense of allegiance and organizational cohesion.

Oxytocin. Creates intimacy, trust; feeling that someone will protect you. Moms, babies, lovers feel this when they are protected and loved. Feeling of safety.

happiness chemcials in consulting

Simon Sinek argues that these chemicals – over the long evolutionary arc – have wired us to be driven, organized, relationally-motivated creatures here. We succeed because we understand the benefits of cooperation and teamwork. He argues that we are mentally wired to submit to organizational hierarchy, and when leaders betray that trust, we get pissed and disengaged.  Believe he is correct with a lot of his arguments.

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6 thoughts on “4 happiness chemicals: endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin

  1. Sandeep

    Just watched the Simon Sinek video you referenced. 45 mins well spent….and to take a line out of Simon’s talk – I watched it because I trust you, because I know you will not recommend a video that is not worth the time. Thank you and happy holidays!

    1. consultantsmind Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it. So much of business succeed depends on leadership and culture. I just had no idea it was all seratonin. . .

  2. diana

    I dont have any of that what the hell where can I buy these chemicals

    1. consultantsmindadmin Post author

      Too funny. Take care, don’t stress yourself out about not-being-happy-enough. Also, a small glass of red wine does wonders.

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