5 Ways to Hack Your Serotonin in Hawai‘i for a Happiness Boost

These tried and true methods can trigger the release of the happiness chemical.


Teacher gifts Ld Maris Garden Mini Succulent Arrangement 2

Photo: Courtesy of Mari’s Urban Garden


Grow Something

The smell of soil literally makes you happy, thanks to a specific bacterium.

• Head to City Mill for all the tools and supplies you need to start a garden.

• Order local seeds from the Hawai‘i Seed Growers Network.

• Surround yourself with trendy plants from Mari’s Urban Garden.

• Nurture a native garden with plants from Hui Kū Maoli Ola.


If you don’t want to start from the ground up, find out where else you can get plant babies here.



See more Happiness stories



Go for a Hike

Photo: Catherine Toth Fox


Exercising in nature isn’t just good for your health, it can boost your happiness, too. 

• The 2.5-mile Makiki Valley Loop Trail lets you escape the bustle of city life without leaving town.

• Get your heart pumping on the challenging Hawai‘i Loa Ridge Trail that starts in a gated community.

• Take deep breaths as you hike past ‘Aiea Loop Trail’s lemon eucalyptus trees; the fragrance is thought to relieve stress and anxiety.

• Put things in perspective as you head to O‘ahu’s westernmost point along the Ka‘ena Point Trail.


Find more great O‘ahu hikes in our ultimate guide here.



Laugh with Local Comedians

Laughing releases serotonin—so the more you laugh, the better you’ll feel.

• Follow local meme and parody news accounts on Instagram, such as
@bumbaiyoulearn and @dabullehtin.

• Get tickets to see Tumua Tuinei at the Blaisdell on Nov. 12 and 13.

• See more upcoming comedy shows here.


SEE ALSO: Breaking News: Local Haole Never Feels More Local Than When He’s Scrolling Through Posts on “Da Bullehtin”


Boi No Good Still Out Of Place Midnight Web

Photos: James Nakamura, Getty Images. Photo Illustration: James Nakamura


Read Local Fiction

Instead of stressing about your to-do list, focus on the present by escaping into a novel. 

• Get lost in the future in Chris McKinney’s Midnight, Water City.

• See if you can recognize your uncle in Folks You Meet in Longs and Other Stories by Lee Cataluna.

• Scare yourself with Obake: Ghost Stories in Hawai‘i by Glen Grant.

• Check in to Hotel Honolulu by Paul Theroux.

• Enjoy the humor and elegance in Islands Linked by Ocean by Lisa Linn Kanae.


Find our list of 134 essential books you should read next here.


SEE ALSO: 7 Questions with Writer Lee Cataluna


Write Thank You Cards

Writing down what you’re grateful for releases dopamine and serotonin.

• Pick up locally designed Bebehburps and Mistprint cards from Mori by Art + Flea.

• Get sassy with greeting cards from Formidably Impressed.

• Keep it simple with elegant cards from Bradley & Lily.

• Go colorful with Nico Made’s collection of thank you cards.

• Add a touch of elegance with Aloha Letterpress’ handprinted cards.