This is why winning a game makes us happy

By William Davis


Jan 31, 2022

Reading time: 2 min

Ever wondered why there’s a tingling feeling after winning something? Or why the stomach drops after a loss?

In recent days, various scientists have been researching what actually happens inside the human brain when people win or lose in a game. It turns out that there really are specific reasons as to why winning a game results in happiness while failure leads to frustration and sadness, thus affecting future decisions. 

A study conducted shows that positive emotions evoked through winning a game trigger the neurotransmitter dopamine which controls the brain’s pleasure response system. Dopamine convinces an individual that they need to continue doing that which makes them happy. This can potentially lead to addiction or other unhealthy behaviors.

Gambling in a casino is another activity that releases dopamine into the system during both winning and losing scenarios. This is why some people who gamble often develop the urge to remain and are unable to quit despite knowing all its negative side effects. Scientists also found that there was a significantly higher level of excitement when participants won compared with those who lost or just broke even with their bets. 

The good news is that there are ways to stimulate this without outside issues. This can be done by taking part in activities that make you happy and successful, such as exercise and video games. These activities help release chemicals called endorphins into the bloodstream which seem to have a similar effect on your emotions as morphine. 

Endorphins block pain messages from being sent from the nerve endings but also stimulates positive messages through releasing serotonin which enhances mood, creating an overall feeling of happiness after engaging in said activity for a long period of time. On the flipside, prolonged stress will lead to reduced amounts of endorphins being released into the blood system.

Not only do physical activities stimulate endorphins, but engaging in sports has also been found to have significant benefits for both physical and mental health. Researchers at the University of Queensland found that patients who did exercise therapy showed significant improvement in their symptoms than those who did not participate in any exercise activities. 

This is theorized to be due to the fact that exercising increases blood flow and oxygen level throughout different parts of the brain, leading to better concentration and moods while reducing stress levels. On top of this, it provides constant positive feedback by releasing neurotransmitters like serotonin while doing something healthy.

The best thing about engaging in sports is that it combines both physical activity and emotional release. It releases endorphins which gives feelings of happiness while also releasing dopamine, which helps improve motivation. Playing sports effectively compounds these two factors, offering both the benefits of exercise and the possibility of an endorphin release from winning. 

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that winning a game can truly make us happy by stimulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. Engaging in sports boosts these chemical reactions even further while also producing physical benefits such as weight loss and gains in strength due to increased body function through oxygen.


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