The Happy Chemical


As a positive psychology practitioner and life coach, I help my clients through all sorts of issues that prevent them from living their best lives as their best selves. If I had to distill what I do into one sentence it would be: I teach happiness. Yes, happiness can be taught and learned—just like mastering a foreign language or learning to play tennis—it never needs to be a result of something happening to you. 

One way I teach happiness is by helping people increase their "happy chemical" serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate your mood naturally. When serotonin is at an optimum level, you feel happier, calmer, more focused, less anxious, and more emotionally stable. In fact, most anti-depressant medications are focused on the production of serotonin. 

You probably already know that regular exercise, exposure to sunshine and eating a healthy diet are all natural mood-boosters. But what you may not know is that you can also increase your serotonin simply by reflecting on past achievements. This is why gratitude practices are so effective: They are reminders and mental pictures of all the good things and joyful times you've experienced. 

Technique of the week: Boost your serotonin during the day by taking a few moments (preferably sitting in a sunny spot!) to think about a time you excelled or reached a goal. Relive past positive experiences. Your brain doesn’t distinguish between what is happening in real time vs. what you are remembering, so it produces serotonin in both cases!



Melissa Garson