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Serotonin is the brain chemical that makes us feel calm and relaxed. Dopamine is our brain's reward chemical. When we do something that the brain wants to encourage us to do again, it releases dopamine.
Different activities will produce different levels of dopamine. Do you want to guess at an activity the brain really wants to encourage us to continue, and so releases large amounts of dopamine? It has to do with the propagation of our species.
Eating is another dopamine producing activity. Apparently our brain wants us to continue to find sustenance so it can function. Makes sense, doesn't it. Now I understand why I tend to head for the kitchen when I'm stressed, too.
Other dopamine producing activities are (in no particular order):
- Music (90 beats/min or higher, with easy to remember, non-threatening lyrics)
- Chocolate (actually increases dopamine production by 150%)
- Social Success
- Expectation of Money (such as the anticipation of pay day)
- Vanquishing a known enemy (such as when your football team wins - but I wonder about beating the bad guy on a video game, too)