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Neurotransmitters enliven, delight human existence

Electrical signals travel from neuron to neuron by way of neurotransmitters, chemicals that can travel across the tiny space between neurons known as the synaptic cleft.

Photo Courtesy of Dementilaguide.com

Electrical signals travel from neuron to neuron by way of neurotransmitters, chemicals that can travel across the tiny space between neurons known as the synaptic cleft.

Ethan Singleton, Hook Editor

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Disclaimer: No Illegal substances were consumed in the making of this article.
To give people a vague idea of the role certain chemicals play in their mental health, I experienced them for myself and gave them a rating. If readers find this subject interesting I encourage them to learn some actual science, which I have yet to do.
Dopamine (C8H11NO2):
One of the more well known neurochemicals, and with good reason, dopamine is at the root of much of what makes human beings happy.
The website Selfhacked lists sunlight, exercise, and meditation as major methods of increasing dopamine. The recommended diet includes protein rich foods, vegetables including bananas, avocados and various spices.
To experience this chemical for myself, I went for a run in the hot evening sun, meditated, and then enjoyed a dinner composed of the foods listed above.
At the end of my regimen, I felt a definite sense of accomplishment, but in a content way. Dopamine makes you feel like a warrior monk who is so good at everything that you don’t even have to worry about it.
This one’s pretty sick. I give it 10/10.
Serotonin (C10H12N2O):
According to Medical News Today, serotonin is a regulator of moods, anxiety and happiness. It makes you happier, calmer, more focused and more stable. While generally thought of as the “love chemical,” high levels of serotonin actually decrease sexual arousal. Serotonin is a purveyor of human closeness, but not sex.
Depression has been linked to low serotonin levels, though it is uncertain whether it is a cause or an effect. Some of the most widely prescribed antidepressants, including Zoloft, Prozac, and Lexapro are what are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which increase the amount of serotonin in the brain.
To see for myself the effects of serotonin, I scheduled an hour of sun exposure, followed by a deep talk with my friends, while eating cashews and high carb foods, all with the company of my dog.
The sunlight gave my skin an excellent hot feeling. Heat is a naturally pleasing thing, because it is kinetic energy, which humans need to survive. Having hot skin lets you know your body is filled with motion and is functioning properly.
One of the best ways to increase serotonin is to make out with someone, but I’m not one to kiss and tell. It also plays a big role in bowel movements, but y’all don’t wanna’ hear about that.
Overall I give this one a 9/10. It’s really good, but a bit sleepy, and this slightly undercuts the experience of the good feeling.
Oxytocin ( C43H66N12O12S2):
Another “love chemical” Oxytocin is probably the most risqué on the list. People who are in love have decisively high levels compared to people who aren’t, and this plays a central role in what makes love so lovely. It is similar to Serotonin in that it is triggered by human connection, but in a more sexual way.
My gentleman’s code will not permit me to make a full report on this chemical, but I highly recommend it. 10/10.
Melatonin (C13H16N2O2):
I’m dozing off as I write this, so I’ll keep it brief. This is the sleep chemical, which humans are dependent on for survival, for obvious reasons.
It is also a derivative of serotonin, meaning the more serotonin you have, you more Melatonin.
To maximize my exposure to melatonin, I planned the best night of sleep possible. I exercised during the day, and had no screen time within two hours of bedtime. During those two hours I meditated, went for a walk, and read a relaxing book.
Melatonin evokes a feeling of closure from the day. I don’t want to go on the Internet, check social media or generally ruminate on things. It doesn’t feel like my problems are gone, so I would not rate it as highly as dopamine or serotonin.
It feels more like all my typical worries just don’t apply right now because they are for the day time, and it’s bedtime now. Goodnight. 6/10.
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) ( C12H16N2):
Wait, wait, hold on. I know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t DMT the most potent, and illegal psychedelic drug in existence?” Yes and no. Smoking DMT is extremely illegal, but that is not the only way you can experience this chemical. Try experiencing it by simply dreaming, something that is perfectly legal.
To test the effects of this chemical, I tried to sleep as best as possible throughout the week, and I choose my most intense night of dreaming to be the case study.
This chemical stands apart from the others because DMT puts you in a truly outlandish state of mind, as opposed to a necessarily better one.
It is good, but in a more interesting than purely pleasurable way. Definitely a welcome break to the daily monotony, but not exceptional fun in it’s own right. 5/10

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Neurotransmitters enliven, delight human existence