Why Does Caffeine Make Us Happy?

I have been thinking about my post, starting your day with a smile, and the conversation I had with a friend about how coffee effects her in the morning.  To some, coffee is a miracle drug in the morning.  To others it causes headaches and jitters.  My husband can’t have half a cup of coffee without shaking like it’s 30 below zero.  To my friend, coffee makes her incredibly happy, to the point that she wants to spread good will everywhere she goes.  It is wonderful that she wakes up every morning and feels this way after drinking coffee especially when many people wake up on the wrong side of the bed, cursing the morning and the day, setting them up for negativity and a bad mood.  A morning commencing with positivity, self-love and love of the world is such a positive way of approaching the day.  Because of this, I decided to delve a little deeper into caffeine and see what really happens when coffee is ingested.

First, coffee raises the heart rate, blood pressure and stimulates the central nervous system.  This is why many use coffee as a means to wake up in the morning or to keep high energy flowing throughout the day.  For many of us, this is a comfort in the morning.  As I mentioned in my post, smelling coffee and taking that first sip makes me smile first thing in the morning. So why does this happen?

According to the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center, a balance of cortisol and serotonin are necessary for the brain fully function. When caffeine levels increase, the body increases serotonin to balance cortisol.  As hormones like serotonin and probably endorphins release, a happy feeling will take over.

Now, numerous studies have shown that the risk of depression in women decreased with increased intake of caffeine.  One of the biggest studies was conducted through Harvard University.  According to Dr. Albert Ascherio, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, coffee “…modulates the release of mood transmitters.”  He continued, “I’m not saying we’re on the path to discovering a new way to prevent depression…But I think you can be reassured that if you are drinking coffee, it is coming out as a positive thing.”

So, it is clear that caffeine can prevent depression and it can boost serotonin and endorphins.  Since every body is different it’s hard for me to know exactly what is going on inside my friend when she drinks coffee but I would imagine her overwhelming feeling of love and giddiness has something to do with the chemical reactions going on in there.  And it is nice that she feels so good after she drinks a moderate amount of coffee.  I would like to stress the moderate amount.  One to two cups of coffee per day will do the trick.  Any more is just not necessary and excessive amounts of caffeine may cause anxiety.

If only everyone felt blissful after after drinking coffee.  With the amount of coffee consumed in the world, it could certainly be a better place.

4 thoughts on “Why Does Caffeine Make Us Happy?

  1. Great information on my favorite beverage. One more amazing benefit of caffeine is its positive affect on migraine headaches. It appears to open the vessels in the back of my head and neck, increasing the blood flow and decreasing the “throbbing”. It’s all good.

    • So true! It’s funny how it gives some people headaches and others it helps with headaches. I had a migraine a few weeks ago and before it came on I found myself craving a cup of coffee in the afternoon which is rare for me. I think it was my body’s way of warning me.

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