Serotonin And Dopamine
Robert Lustig recently wrote a book about two chemicals in the brain: dopamine and serotonin.
Dopamine, he says, is secreted when we seek short term pleasure. That is, anything that can become addictive. Sweet foods, alcohol, sex, etc.
Serotonin on the other hand is secreted when we connect to other humans, when we cook, when we contribute to society, and when we cope (through sleep and exercise).
Dopamine is pleasure, and serotonin is happiness. Most of us tend to seek out dopamine spikes, and according to Lustig, seeking pleasure actually decreases Serotonin and therefore happiness.
That’s the part that I find remarkable. By actually riding a short term high, we’re killing our long term sense of serenity. We’re wandering the world searching high and low for the penny we lost — the one that is, unbeknownst to us, still sitting in the folds of our pockets.