The Happiness Quartet: The Neurotransmitters That Affect The Mood

We have all been happy at one time or another, but do you know what the happiness quartet is? We will introduce you to the neurotransmitters that can take that feeling of happiness to the next level.
The Happiness Quartet: The neurotransmitters that affect mood

The ability to release the positive effects of serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins (SDOE) is sometimes called the “happiness quartet”, because it gives us a comfortable, warming feeling. Each person can unleash their happiness through specific behaviors because happiness is a subjective emotion.

The most curious thing about the happiness quartet is that it has nothing to do with how much money you have, your social status or your job. Each person can be happy with their own means in a simple way, which we will explain later.

Find out more in this article!

The role of each substance in the happiness quartet

The substances that make up the happiness quartet interact and have their special effects. The neurotransmitters serotonin, as well as dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins, are all part of a biological formula that creates a feeling of well-being.


Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, food intake and certain cognitive processes. When the percentage of serotonin in your nervous system is balanced, you feel happy, satisfied and see the positive side of things.

When serotonin is deficient, however, it can cause depression or sadness, lack of motivation, lack of energy and pessimism. Therefore, it is important to maintain adequate serotonin levels for the neurons.

A woman on the phone
The neurotransmitter serotonin affects mood in humans depending on concentration.


This is another important neurotransmitter for our brain, as it provides pleasant emotions. It works when we achieve something we want, such as a goal, to eat something we like or to buy what we wanted for a long time.

Like serotonin , it has motivating factors, only in a much more direct way. People with low dopamine find it harder to feel happy and discouraged.

Dopamine is widely studied in patients with depression, as an insufficient level interferes with the process of recovering from the depressive situation. Some medications quite properly inhibit the reuptake of the neurotransmitter to increase it in the body.


This hormone is released through social contact. For example, we may feel it with our partner, friends and family, or a mother with her young child.

It is known as the hormone for emotional bonds. This is very important since it makes interaction with others enjoyable. Depriving people of social contact can consequently prevent the excretion of oxytocin with consequent damage.


Endorphins are endogenous opioids that the human body produces, and not from external factors. One of their functions is to act as a natural painkiller.

Their action releases a kind of pleasant feeling that can mask physical pain. For example, we can feel the effect of endorphins after intense sports. Who has not felt the comfortable feeling in the body after a workout?

A woman who runs
Exercise releases endorphins that mask pain and give a feeling of well-being.

Can you increase the happiness quartet naturally?

The answer is a resounding yes. Happiness is within reach, to a large extent. It is our responsibility, no matter what happens around us. We can take the following steps to stimulate neurotransmitters:

  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Stroll through nice places
  • Think about future goals and happy memories
  • Training

Dopamine increases especially when we celebrate our achievements. We can divide a large end goal into small sub-goals to celebrate every time we take a successful step in the right direction.

With oxytocin, we need to think and act around social conditions to stimulate it. We must get as much physical contact as possible, for example through hugs. Intercourse naturally increases oxytocin levels and is an excellent form of contact.

Finally, exercise is an ally of endorphins. We are not talking about extreme training, but about regularity and training that gives us joy due to the fact that we just move. Relaxation and meditation techniques are also helpful in guiding us to happiness.

Unleash the happiness quartet

Finally, liberating the quartet of happiness is in your power. You can implement some of the activities we have mentioned, and you will notice the benefits of these activities for your physical and emotional well-being.

Changes do not happen overnight. However, the most important thing is to get on track and make happiness a regular part of your life.

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