Why does coffee make me happy?

Coffee is a magical elixir brewed from beans that makes us happy and functional.  Sometimes it can feel like coffee brings us back from the dead.  There’s really nothing mysterious about it though, coffee actually does play with our brains to make us happier humans.

The biggest reason?  Coffee signals our body to produce more dopamine.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain, and it produces feelings of happiness, contentment, satisfaction, and a bunch of other good stuff.  Since coffee plays with our neurotransmitters, it’s considered psychoactive.  This also explains why it’s so addictive.  We like those good feelings, and we want to keep them coming.

Plus, I mean, it’s delicious.

Coffee is able to “arouse” or wake up our brains, and it’s only partially due to the caffeine content.  This effect triggers all of our neurological reward systems, which means those feelings of euphoria get permanently attached to the craving for coffee.  More and more coffee.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as you can keep a handle on it.  A few cups of coffee to transform you into the best version of yourself?  Cool!  A couple of pots of coffee and hand tremors might be a bit much.  Coffee is actually addictive because of how wonderful we can feel when we drink it.  This means you have to practice moderation, and it can be hard some days.  It’s smart to keep your coffee to the mornings only, so that it’s out of your system before you try to sleep.  Trying to go to bed an hour after your last brew is a recipe for a bad night.

The other down side of drinking coffee frequently is that over time it can lose its effectiveness.  You build up a tolerance to the amount you usually drink, meaning that you need more to get the same effects.  When you notice this happening, take a few days off, and your neurotransmitters will reset themselves.  Withdrawal from coffee is a rough time, so be prepared for some headaches, but rest assured that you’ll need less coffee for a while to get the same amount of joy.

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