Serotonin: key to happiness; Making joy of holidays

Mekenzie McCann, H/S Editor

December is a time for family, friends, and the holidays. Everyone knows that in December, it is time for happiness. But what is really behind this happiness that we all express?

     Serotonin is the answer. This hormone, “is a chemical that carries messages between nerve cells in the brain and throughout your body,” according to Cleveland Clinic. 

     The hormone is produced in the gut and can act in two different ways: “a neurotransmitter that communicates via the enteric nervous system in the gut, and [the hormone can be] released into the bloodstream where it operates as a hormone on the body’s tissues,” says Atlas Bio-Med.

     “Serotonin plays several roles on your body including influencing learning, memory, happiness as well as regulating body temperature, sleep…and hunger. Lack of enough serotonin is thought to play a role in depression, anxiety, mania, and other health conditions,” states Cleveland Clinic.

     Serotonin can be found in your brain and it regulates your mood. The hormone is “often called your body’s natural ‘feel good’ chemical. When serotonin is at normal levels, you [can] feel more focused, emotionally stable, happier[,] and calm. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression,” adds Cleveland Clinic.

       According to Happy Feed, “serotonin can help build both sides of social dynamics. Serotonin is what motivates a leader to excel and grow their influence.”

     Many things can contribute to happiness but can differentiate for every person. Some include: “doing the things you want to do and having the freedom to choose your own path in life, maintaining positive relationships and being accepted into society, feeling content with your situation and not comparing yourself unfavorably to others, [etc.],” according to Samitive J Hospitals. 

     To boost your serotonin levels, you can also spend more time outside in the sunlight. According to Healthline, “exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can increase the production” of the hormone. 

     Serotonin can also be brought into your body to boost your serotonin happiness within the foods that you eat. You can do this due to the foods that “add more probiotic foods to your diet that support the good bacteria who produce short-chain fatty acids. [Some foods include:] apples, onions, wheat, pasta, [etc.],” according to Atlas Bio-Med.

     During the holiday season, lots of happiness is present. Senior Kian Pucher states that when he “gets off of school” during the holidays, it makes him happy. Senior Braiden Crow comments that during the holidays “getting off of school, being with family, and possibly being with friends” make him happy.