Thursday, December 10, 2015


This is what happiness really looks like: Molecules of the motor protein myosin drag a ball of endorphins along an actin filament into the inner part of the brain's parietal cortex, which produces feelings of happiness.  They are "strutting' as they "walk", seemingly aware of their impressive powers.

Below is also myosin walking along an actin filament. This is a bit harder to see because these are real electron microscope images pasted together into a sequence.

This single molecule of myosin is "walking" because of an oscillating chemical reaction causing the molecule to rotate, attach, detach its other "foot", rotate again, attach, repeat. 

This is one little protein doing one little tiny thing, inside one tiny little cell, somewhere in your body. 

This is only one kind of protein performing one kind of action in one cell in your body. 

There are things like this, there are enzymes, there are all kinds of other mechanisms doing little "jobs" like this within each cell in your body. 

We're talking large numbers of things like this happening all the time in every cell, billions or trillions of actions. That's a lot of shit happening.

Perhaps, due to an error made by one of these little proteins at conception, or a change in your metabolism, your body doesn't "know" how to produce this or other molecules. 

Perhaps your body makes a little bit more or less of this myosin than another person
When you begin to realize the utter complexity of what's going on in the body, you can understand it isn't that easy to feel happiness, let alone actually finding happiness.

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.

You can buy an education, but happiness comes separately. 

You can buy a new car or you can buy a new house, but happiness comes separately. 

You can go shopping and buy everything you want, but happiness comes separately. 

You can get married or you can get divorced, but happiness comes separately. 

You can make a lot of money, but happiness comes separately. 

You can win the Lottery, but happiness comes separately.

You think you will be happy when you buy the new car or the larger house. And you will, but not for very long. 

Money can buy you a new car or a larger house. 

Money can buy you many things, but money can't buy you happiness.

Happiness is sold separately and it cannot be bought with money.

Money buys things, and happiness is not a "thing." Happiness is an inner state of mind.

We all want happiness. People want to be happy. This is the basic reason we do everything that we do.

We may think we are trying to get things, so we can feel more secure, be more loved or maybe we feel more important. 

The truth is that we do everything we do to derive happiness. 

If we learned that the main reason we desire the things we want are to experience happiness, we would value happiness more than just "things."

Happiness is probably the most important feeling that a human being can attain in their life. It is also sometimes the most elusive of all emotions.

We know the pleasurable feelings inside when we are happy but now we know what happiness actually look like in our brain.

Endorphins are chemicals that are able to cross through the gaps between neurons in order to pass along a message from one to the next. There are many different kinds, and much remains to be learned about their different purposes and functions.

One thing is known for certain about endorphins: their ability to make you feel oh-so-good. When your body is subjected to certain stimuli like sex, food or pain, your hypothalamus calls for endorphins, and the cells throughout your body that contain them heed the call. 
When endorphins lock into special receptor cells, called opioid receptors, because opiates also fit them, they block the transmission of pain signals and also produce a euphoric feeling, exactly like opiates.
Endorphins act as both a painkiller and as the pay off for your body's reward system. When you hurt yourself you may get a big dose of endorphins to ease the pain. 
You may also get an endorphin surge from talking to a stranger, eating chocolate, eating a satisfying meal, especially a sweet dessert, or being exposed to ultraviolet light. 
Everyone has different amounts of endorphins, and what may trigger an endorphin rush for one person could very well produce a dud for someone else.

Are you less happy than your parents were at the same age? 

It may not be all in your head. Researchers led by San Diego State University professor Jean M. Twenge found adults over age 30 are not as happy as they used to be, but teens and young adults are happier than ever.

Researchers,including Ryne A. Sherman of Florida Atlantic University and Sonja Lyubomirsky of University of California, Riverside, analyzed data from four nationally representative samples of 1.3 million Americans ages 13 to 96 taken from 1972 to 2014.

They found that after 2010, the age advantage for happiness found in prior research vanished. There is no longer a positive correlation between age and happiness among adults, and adults older than 30 are no longer significantly happier than those ages 18 to 29.

"Our current culture of pervasive technology, attention-seeking, and fleeting relationships is exciting and stimulating for teens and young adults, but may not provide the stability and sense of community that mature adults require," said Twenge, who is also the author of "Generation Me."

Data showed that 38 percent of adults older than 30 said they were "very happy" in the early 1970s, which shrunk to 32 percent in the 2010s. Twenty-eight percent of adults ages 18 to 29 said they were "very happy" in the early 1970s, versus 30 percent in the 2010s.

Over the same time, teens' happiness increased: 19 percent of 12th graders said they were "very happy" in the late 1970s, versus 23 percent in the 2010s.

"American culture has increasingly emphasized high expectations and following your dreams,things that feel good when you're young," Twenge said. 

"However, the average mature adult has realized that their dreams might not be fulfilled, and less happiness is the inevitable result. Mature adults in previous eras might not have expected so much, but expectations are now so high they can't be met."

That drop in happiness occurred for both men and women, said Twenge.

 "A previous study in 2008 got quite a bit of attention when it found that women's happiness had declined relative to men's. 

We now find declines in both men's and women's happiness, especially after 2010."

Sure we can feed ourselves sweets, ice cream, good food, drugs, alcohol, or exercise and they will temporarily create happiness by pushing the myosin onto stimulating the endorphins.

If you can find a way to bottle consistent happiness, you will be the "richest" person in the world.

For now, eat your chocolate, choose your favorite flavors of ice cream, find someone you can love, do whatever it takes, and if you are lucky enough, you will feel happy some of the time.