The Chemistry of Happiness


I have chosen the chemistry of happiness. I thought I might learn something helpful. Why try to reword something that’s already been so beautifully said? "Each of us- in the face of all our daily struggles- has the choice. Are we going to become bitter, are we going to become callous, are we going to become mean? Or are we going to make the incredibly difficult choice to remain open to others, to remain open to love."

Composition of ...

The chemistry of happiness is simply the chemicals in our bodies that alter our moods. Neurotransmitters in our brains allow us to feel emotions such as happiness. Enzymes break down certain chemicals which result in us feeling sad.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components


    • Serotonin- C10H12N2O
    • Dopamine- C6H3(OH)2-CH2-CH2-NH2
    • Norepinephrine- C8H11NO3

Depression (Monoamine Oxidase):

    • Flavin- C14H14N3+
    • Adenosine- C10H13N5O4

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide- C21H29N7O14P2

Background Research

Happiness: Serotonin eases tension. Dopamine and norepinephrine allow us to think and act more quickly. Food increases the level of these chemicals in our brain. Complex carbohydrates increase serotonin and proteins increase dopamine and norepinephrine.

Depression: People who are depressed have a higher level of monoamine oxidase, which is an enzyme that breaks down chemicals like serotonin. People with depression, on average, have 34% higher levels of monoamine oxidase (MAO) than normal people. Monoamine oxidase is made up of flavin, adenosine, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. It is closely linked with depression which is the fourth leading cause of death and disability.


Initial research. What chemicals in our brain give us happiness

Chemical formula for seratonin

What causes depression

Chemical makeup of dopamine

Chemical formula of Norepinephrine

Chemical make up of monomine oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down things like seratonin

Chemical formula for flavin

Chemical formula for adenosine

Chemical formula for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Chemical Structure Other ways to produce serotonin

Increasing levels of dopamine

Dopamine and serotonin information

Provides information on monoamine oxidase. The psychology.

About the Author

Molly Buchanan is a senior at Billings Senior High. She enjoys art, music, and science. Next year she will be attending the University of Montana .