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May 28, 2024, vizologi

How to hack your neurotransmitters to achieve happiness? *BONUS – Includes equation and playlist.

Each person is born with a unique DNA sequence, and each human is unique from birth, so the perception of happiness should be unique. However, this is not the case. Society creates generalized patterns of joy that are primarily understood as absolute truths when perhaps we should think of happiness as one chance among 8.1 billion possibilities, at least one for every inhabitant of the planet.

Happiness is often associated with income level, social class, and financial security. We try to rationalize in some way. We collect data and make reports of happiness indexes by countries in which Finland, Denmark, Iceland, and the Netherlands always come out on top. We create parallels between per capita income and an intangible called happiness index. At the same time, we contradict ourselves, creating other scientific studies in which Tibetan monks, deprived of material goods, beat all records in happiness tests.

This is such an abstract subject that, as a good human who continually errs, I will try to rationalize it again, but from a different point of view. If I know anything about this aspect, it is about neural networks.

I have spent time understanding how they work through the reading of How to Create a Mind? I learned years ago how the human neural network works as the basis of the algorithm that surrounds us today; from that knowledge, I ventured to learn at a technical level how the neural networks of Generative AI work, and then I came to a book called Habits of a happy brain, in which I learned how neurotransmitters work in a human brain.

I intend to obtain a happiness equation by mixing all the ingredients in the shaker. At this stage of the text, I do not know how I will do it, but this is the challenge posed by this article.


There is a parallel between the mechanism of your human brain and how the neural networks that govern the algorithms of generative AI work. At a low level, it tries to mimic the brain’s functioning. When we speak of X number of parameters in a model, we refer to neurons; when we talk of vectors, we talk about neurotransmitters, and when we speak about multimodality, we mean our senses, vision, hearing (which already work very well with GPT-4o), the touch at the level of robotics, and about the smell and taste, I doubt that technology can replicate it someday.

As humans, we will always have what is impossible to replicate by an AI: intuition, instinct, emotions, spontaneity, adaptability to the environment, even if it is unknown, empathy, morality, and consciousness. No matter what version of the GPT, these values will always be ours, human and unique.

Four neurotransmitters (also called happiness chemicals) circulate through the highways of your human neural network: dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin, and serotonin. Each of the four chemicals of happiness has a “mission” or result that provides our brain with good sensations through the release of that chemical. Dopamine is oriented to seek rewards, endorphin is released by ignoring physical pain, oxytocin flows when we establish social alliances, and serotonin regulates mood.

Dopamine (D):

The role of dopamine in the brain’s reward system is vital for motivation, goal-setting, and pleasure experimentation; its role is critical to the development of the individual. But it has a dark face and is the most controversial and hard-to-manage neurotransmitter. It’s released in an instant, and for your brain, the feeling is enjoyable; then you’re never going to say no to a good dose of dopamine; as the song says, I like dopamine; give me more dopamine.

Like on social networks, most drugs, junk food, or gambling generate this chemical; the problem is that taken to the extreme, it creates addiction because to generate the same level of dopamine, you have to increase the amount of stimulation and much worse can annul the rest of neurotransmitters, even destroy neurons by overexcitation.

If you impose this neurotransmitter on the rest, instantaneous gratification kidnaps your neurons and imposes itself on everything else. It becomes the antithesis of the concept of happiness, which is always presented as a long-term mission, not as an ephemeral pleasure or a fugitive reward. This is pleasure, not happiness.

However, other healthy activities, such as exercise, yoga, meditation, creating something creative, eating well, listening to music, or simply making to-do lists and completing them, increase dopamine levels naturally (this exercise always works to release dopamine).

Endorphin (E):

Endorphins, which act as natural stress calmants and promote relaxation and resilience, are released during exercise. When laughter and other pleasant activities occur, endorphins contribute to euphoria and relieve pain.

To increase endorphins, people must laugh more often, cry when needed, and vary their exercise routine to make it fun and varied. Routine can be the enemy of endorphins, so improvising and making minor changes is very good for the proper functioning of this neurotransmitter.

Oxytocin (O):

Social bonds and personal relationships activate oxytocin, the neurotransmitter responsible for socialization. Positive social interactions and vigorous bonding activities stimulate the natural release of oxytocin, improving the quality of interpersonal connections.

Oxytocin can be generated naturally through physical contact, active listening, and practicing generosity.

Serotonin (S):

It is the natural regulator of the body and mind, is responsible for mood, sleep, and appetite, acts as a precursor to melatonin, helps regulate sleep and the biological clock, and has a role in appetite control and gastrointestinal function.

Sleep quality is crucial for serotonin production and maintaining all neurotransmitters’ overall balance. Low levels of serotonin are directly associated with mood disorders such as depression or anxiety. Conversely, adequate levels contribute to a sense of well-being and happiness.

The importance of change.

These chemicals of happiness, dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin, and serotonin, have the mission of creating good sensations for your brain to build circuits of neural networks in your brain; however, there is a risk associated with habit if we repeat the same routes over and over again, and our neurotransmitters constantly circulate along the same neural pathways, the good feelings diminish.

Our brains are designed to store experiences. Ever since you were born, your neural network has been processing learning data through the senses. Then, the secret to triggering lifelong or sustained happiness is to develop the habit of creating new neural paths that stimulate the chemicals of happiness and make new sensations.

In my personal experience, when I travel to a destination completely different from my usual environment, creativity shoots me x100. Since I’m under the plane, my brain is alert; it’s processing new information about the unknown, my neurotransmitters create new neural paths, and then I experience an avalanche of new ideas as I break routines and daily habits.


It would be a mistake to think that such an abstract, multidimensional concept as happiness depended solely on brain chemistry since, during life, there are deeper and more personal aspects that go beyond biochemistry.

Then, to formulate a complete happiness equation, I need to add more variables: internal factors, such as purpose in life or personal achievement, and external factors, such as genetics, money, and the environment.

In summary… after more than four hours formulating equations, I have come to a straightforward conclusion: it is a first-degree linear function, the most basic of mathematics:

f(x)=a×x+b+10=(D+E+O+S+R+P) ?x+(G+M+A) +10


f(x) = Level of happiness
x = Change constant (in range 0?x?1)
D = Dopamine (1-10)
E = Endorphins (1-10)
O = Oxytocin (1-10)
S = Serotonin (1-10)
P = Purpose in life (1-10)
R = Personal Achievement (1-10)
G = Genetics (1-10)
M = Money (1-10)
A = Environment (1-10)

Explanation of the equation:

1/ Added levels of dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, personal achievement, and purpose in life (D+E+O+S+R+P) to represent a complete basis of happiness.
2/ This result is multiplied by x, allowing you to adjust happiness according to a change constant (x), with 0 the change zero and 1 a constant change.
3/ Genetic factors (G), money (M), and the environment (A) are added. While these factors can influence happiness, they do not guarantee happiness alone.
4/ Add 10 as a whole.
5/ The final result should be between 13 (unhappiness) and 100 (maximum happiness).

Through the article, I have commented on what activities naturally activate the chemical components of happiness. Set goals, exercise, sleep well, eat well, and maintain good personal relationships with family and friends. This ensures you have four tens in the equation, adding 40 points. The number is multiplied if you also manage to have a constant level of change and a purpose.

Neurotransmitters working OK, with purpose to 10, high randomness, little money, and unfavorable environment:


Neurotransmitters working KO, with zero purposes, minimal change, a lot of money, and a favorable environment:


This calculation demonstrates that money does not bring happiness. It is one more variable that can help, but happiness can be influenced by many other factors that can vary from one person to another. Happiness is a subjective experience that can differ for each individual and depends on the values that the sum of the different variables acquires, with a constant change.


Each master has his booklet, and the formula above is customizable; in my case, it would be impossible to achieve happiness without taking into account the variable MUSIC, and this month I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Estudio Vaca in what they call «the fuck playlist.»

A meticulous selection of songs that accompany me in my daily routine, I share it with you, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I creating it.

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