Being happy is a lot like being healthy. You can do all the right things, but you have to have the right tools. That’s where this list comes in: it’s full of tips that will help you stay on track and reach your happy goals. So if you want to be happy and healthy, read on!

Happiness Chemicals

SEROTONIN: the calm chemical

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with mood, behavior, and sleep. Serotonin is converted from tryptophan, an amino acid you get from food. It plays a role in regulating sleep, appetite, and mood.
Serotonin helps you to feel calm and balanced. If you have low levels of serotonin, this can lead to symptoms such as depression or anxiety.

  1. Get outdoors; nature brings happiness.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal.
  3. Spend an hour outdoors every day
  4. Eat good lean protein, like lean meats or beans, nuts, lentils, tofu
  5. Have a daily probiotic. For example, common fermented foods that naturally contain probiotics or have probiotics added to them, including yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread, and some cheeses
  6. Meditate
  7. Take photographs of nature
  8. Watch butterflies (read my new children’s book, “Hello Franklin!”)
  9. Go for a Sunday drive into the country
  10. Visit a farmer’s market
  11. Lay in the grass and watch the clouds roll by
  12. Listen to ocean sounds
  13. Watch the stars appear in the sky
  14. Try sunrise or sunset yoga
  15. Walk your dog

OXYTOCIN: the touch chemical

Oxytocin is a hormone released during orgasm and breastfeeding, but it’s also released when you hug someone you love or pet a dog. It increases trust, generosity, and social bonding.

  1. Hold hands with someone you love
  2. Do a random act of kindness
  3. Give compliments
  4. Hug a puppy or kitten
  5. Rub someone’s feet
  6. Brush someone’s hair
  7. Practice yoga
  8. Listen to your favorite music
  9. Hang out with friends
  10. Be happy for someone
  11. Be a good hugger (hold on a little tighter and a little longer)
  12. Smile at everyone you see today

ENDORPHINS: the pain killers and the cuddle chemicals

Endorphins are your body’s natural painkillers. They’re released when you exercise or get a massage—and yes, endorphins also make you feel happy and relaxed! Endorphins are released during sex, so it makes sense to have more if you want to be happier.

  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Laugh every day! Watch a comedy, tell a joke daily, and watch funny animal videos.
  3. Try acupuncture
  4. Sex
  5. Dark chocolate will help you release those endorphins…yummmm (be sure to read my blog post on the healthy benefits of eating dark chocolate).
  6. You don’t have to be good at dancing… dance!
  7. Savor every bite of your favorite food
  8. Bake bread
  9. Go on a date (with your spouse, significant other, kids, parents, or dogs…)
  10. Tickle someone

DOPAMINE: the future chemical

Dopamine is a chemical that is associated with motivation and pleasure. It is released when you experience something new, exciting, or pleasurable.
Dopamine can help you learn new things because it’s a reward chemical that makes you feel good when you do something right.

  1. Finish a task and then praise yourself for finishing the task
  2. Please write in a journal; look at some of my journals!
  3. Get quality sleep
  4. Celebrate small wins every time!
  5. Start a new hobby
  6. Schedule a self-care routine at least once a week
  7. Speak a new language
  8. Play the piano
  9. Paint
  10. Do a crossword puzzle or sudoku
  11. Read a book
  12. Clean out your closet
  13. Wash your car
  14. Try a new recipe
  15. PrayThis information can help you stay on a happy, healthy path.

● Avoiding junk food and alcohol is essential. Junk food is high in calories with little nutritional value, while alcohol can interfere with your sleep cycle and affect your hormones.
● Exercise and meditation are great ways to keep your mind and body in good shape. Both get the blood flowing, which gives you energy and pumps away any negative thoughts hanging around in your brain for too long—and there’s no need for expensive gym memberships or exercise classes! Just get outside for some fresh air, then sit somewhere comfortable (preferably outdoors) where you won’t be distracted by anyone else around you. Close your eyes for 30 seconds if it helps clear out extra noise from your surroundings; eventually, wean yourself off complete darkness as long as it doesn’t bother you too much! It might take some time before results materialize, but soon enough, those worries will fade away like mist on an early morning dewdrop; patience pays off!

This is just a sample of the research that’s been done on happiness chemicals and how they can help us live better lives. Many more studies have been done, and many more are still to come.

But if you want to stay on the path of health and happiness, remember these five simple things:

First, don’t worry about what other people think!
Always make time for yourself (even if it means saying no).

Smile, even when you don’t feel like it!

Breathe.

Take risks in your life; don’t be afraid of failure!

Happiness is uncovering what you already have

Feeling Down? Sing a Song!