Think of walks on the beach, that first date with the person you married, the phone call saying you got the job. How do you feel? Happy, yes? Thrilled, excited? Like you could do a hundred cartwheels? All these feelings are because of serotonin and endorphin—or “happy hormones???— at work in your body. Serotonin and endorphin are hormones in your body used to transmit nerve signals, determining feelings like being happy or sad, cheerful or depressed, lively or lethargic. These hormones are produced naturally by the body, but at different levels for different people. Some people have less than ideal levels of serotonin or endorphin, but the good news is, you can spike your serotonin and endorphin levels naturally and without medical intervention. A little walk or a jog every morning, breath-regulating exercises like swimming, meditative and controlled exercises like Pilates and yoga, or a good old-fashioned dance workout can boost your happy hormones. Also make sure to eat a lot of protein-rich foods that promote serotonin production, such as white flaked fish, soy, beans, and low-fat dairy. Other happy hormone boosters include carb-rich cereals, oatmeal, seeds and nuts, as well as veggies like spinach, cauliflower, and celery, tuna and salmon fish, or lean meat such as chicken, turkey, and beef tenderloin, which are high in vitamin B6. These food items naturally increase levels of serotonin and beta-endorphins in the body. That laughter is the best medicine carries more value than its weight in bumper stickers. When the body is well nourished and taken care of, the mind and mood follow suit. One’s state of mind is just as important to health and wellness as quantifiable health indicators like physique, blood sugar, or cholesterol levels.
Get Your Happy On!
Relax with a few rewarding bites of chocolate. It contains natural endorphin-boosting oils and, taken in moderation, can promote serotonin production in the brain. Try KITKAT, delicious crispy wafer fingers covered with milk chocolate, or BABY RUTH, a chocolate-covered candy bar bursting with peanuts, rich caramel, and chewy nougat.