Word of the Day


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a chemical substance produced in your body that affects your moods and the flow of messages through your nerves

Origin and usage

The word serotonin comes from combining the Latin word ‘serum’ meaning ‘watery fluid’ with the word ‘tonic’, which means ‘medicine’, and the suffix ‘-in’, a common word-forming element in the science of chemistry that indicates an antibiotic, vitamin, hormone or other substance.


Serotonin is a chemical produced in the brain that gives a feeling of happiness and contentment. When the brain releases serotonin into the body, a person’s mood improves and they tend to be happier and worry less.

Some people experience what experts call ‘serotonin deficiency’, which means the brain has too few serotonin receptors or those receptors aren’t working properly. The deficiency could also mean that production of serotonin in the brain has somehow been impaired.

People with serotonin deficiency often report feeling angry, sad, overwhelmed, anxious or overly sensitive to pain, usually without a specific cause.

Serotonin is a natural chemical found in the body, so there are ways to boost serotonin levels naturally to improve mood and inspire a more positive outlook.

Studies have shown that serotonin levels can improve through regular meditation and exposure to bright sunlight. Diet and exercise are also known to boost serotonin levels for many people. Those who participate in vigorous aerobic exercise – like walking, jogging, dancing or cycling – at least a few times a week are more likely to report feelings of wellbeing and positivity. Eating a well-balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, may also improve serotonin levels.


“Research has shown that a simple act of kindness directed toward another improves the functioning of the immune system and stimulates the production of serotonin in both the recipient of the kindness and the person extending the kindness.”
(Dr Wayne Dyer)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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