Let’s face it, your body’s a powerhouse. In addition to looking pretty awesome on the outside, it conceals a secret pharmacy stocked with potent, entirely natural mood-boosting meds waiting for us to tap into. Take serotonin, for example. Dubbed our ‘happiness hormone,’ this upbeat neurotransmitter plays a key role in ensuring good quality sleep, appetite and digestion, memory and sex drive – and all that while keeping anxiety and depression at bay. Dopamine, our hormone of pleasure and reward (pass the chocolates – no, hide them!) couldn’t exist without serotonin’s irresistible trigger. And whenever serotonin’s in the house, stress hormone cortisol’s at its lowest. Serotonin’s talent for mood- boosting is also thought to influence social behaviour – you’re actually nicer to be around with serotonin on your mind and the confidence that inspires makes you all the more popular, too. One study has even found that random acts of kindness can trigger serotonin production. Own that Good Girl Glow – you deserve it!
How else to cultivate this happy hormone? Serotonin is made in the brain from the amino acid building block tryptophan. Foods rich in this, such as milky drinks (but sadly not caffeine-laced lattes!) plus Vitamin B6 and zinc (fresh fish is a great source of both) facilitate serotonin synthesis. But the real action’s all in the mind.
If a sundrenched beach is your favourite fantasy – dream on. Sunlight stimulates serotonin production via the brain’s pineal gland and our levels are decidedly higher by the sea. Algae use tryptophan to photosynthesise, a process which oxygenates the ocean, while crashing waves generate energising negative ions which boost serotonin synthesis – two great reasons that qualify the sun and sea combo as the ultimate uplifting therapy that’s a way of life in the Adriatic.
Dalmatians call this natural high fjaka - the bliss that comes from doing what comes naturally. Whether it’s relaxing with much-loved friends, enjoying bracing walks by the ocean, wandering through fragrant pine forests, surrendering to a deep tissue massage or easing your grateful body into a long, slow yoga stretch – it’s no coincidence that all these fjaka in action moments are serotonin enhancers, too.
Neither is it by chance that fjaka’s relaxed, yet vibrantly alive brand of bliss is often compared to the benefits of mindful meditation. Both are no-brainers for stimulating serotonin and dopamine’s lightbulb synthesis. And here’s an idea: positive thinking boosts levels, too. In cognitive neuroscience, the practise of priming uses sensory cues and encouraging words to create serotonin-friendly moods and feelings. With its blissful Adriatic vibes, could fjaka be your mantra?
We think it just might be…