Serotonin and how to increase happiness

Reading Time: 2 minutes Have you ever thought about how the neurochemistry of your brain relates to your emotions? Serotonin, a brain chemical normally associated with happiness, joy and laughter is a perfect example of such neurochemistry.

A digital rendering of a serotonin bottle.Reading Time: 2 minutes

The brain is an organ of vital importance because its neurological and chemical elements make it possible to carry out all varieties of physical and mental activities.


Within the brain lie neurotransmitters, also known as the “body’s chemical messengers,” according to the University of Queensland. Furthermore, according to Daniel Kondziella, a neurologist for Copenhagen University Hospital, among the most notable of the brain’s neurotransmitters is serotonin. 

Serotonin is dubbed the “feel-good hormone [because of its] role in staving off anxiety and depression,” claims Henry Ford Health. Serotonin is part of the pleasure system in conjunction with dopamine and sometimes adrenaline or noradrenaline, resulting in cheerful feelings with high levels of satisfaction when it is released into your body. 

Increasing serotonin

Fortunately, there are many methods through which people may improve serotonin flow throughout the brain. Although some methods necessitate medication, there are many natural ways by which individuals can also help themselves feel happier. For example, Cassandra Vazquez, a UVU student majoring in English and literature, mentioned that she likes going to the gymnasium because she likes the feeling of happiness after her workout. 

Additionally, Stephanie Watson, the executive editor of “Harvard Women’s Health Watch,” published an article detailing methods by which individuals may be able to increase serotonin levels in their bodies. Listed below are some of her recommendations:

1. Engaging in sports or relaxation activities. When exercising, “your body releases more tryptophan, the amino acid your brain uses to make serotonin. This boost in serotonin … is why many people get that feeling of euphoria known as a ‘runner’s high’ after an intense workout.”

2. Exposure to the sun or bright light. “Light therapy is one of the main treatments recommended for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the winter blues that may be triggered by a drop in serotonin levels,” Watson explained.

3. Change your diet. “One way to sneak more tryptophan into your brain is to get it from complex carbohydrate sources, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. When you eat these carbs, your body produces insulin, which helps your muscles pull in more amino acids, giving tryptophan a better chance at reaching your brain,” Watson recommended. 

By following some of these recommendations, you may notice an increase in serotonin and happiness in your life. Keep in mind, however, that the recommendations given here do not rule out the importance of adhering to medical and psychiatric treatment plans. In cases of severe sadness, intolerable stress, or a persistent desire for social isolation, individuals are recommended to reach out to medical professionals for more advanced treatment.