Got Serotonin? Be Kind. Feel Good. Repeat.

I grew up on a 71-acre serotonin farm. Well…technically it was a Kentucky Bluegrass sod farm, but the Jackson farm definitely produced massive amounts of serotonin.

Serotonin is a chemical in the human body, known as a neurotransmitter, that regulates mood in the brain. In other words, it makes you feel good.

So how did we produce serotonin at the Jackson farm? One act of kindness at a time.

Numerous studies have shown that receiving, giving, or even witnessing an act of kindness increases the production of serotonin in the brain.

Kindness was a way of life at the Jackson farm. My parents lived their lives in the service of others. I was taught the importance of kindness at a very young age. They were the best role models that I could have hoped for. Kindness was their default setting. It has become mine, as well. It’s a wonderful way to live.

My parents loved to share the fruits of their labor. Those fruits included all kinds of fun stuff – a swimming pool, trampoline, golf carts, old school 7-Eleven hot dog machine, soft serve ice cream machine, and punch machine ( Dad loved going to auctions). It was kind of like Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch. The only thing missing was Emmanuel Lewis and Bubbles the chimp.πŸ˜‚

One day a week, my parents extended an invitation to all of the local kids to come to the farm to swim, play on the trampoline, ride golf carts, and pig out on hot dogs, punch, and soft serve ice cream.

I’ll never forget the look of joy on their faces. Many of the children were underprivileged, so it really meant a lot to them.

My favorite memory of an act of kindness, involved my mom. She would pick up the kids that didn’t have transportation. She would also drive them home. I would usually ride along.

Mom noticed that one of the little girls was very self-conscious about her swimsuit. She wore a flannel shirt t…

Gratitude is a Miracle Magnet

Early in my golf industry career, I had a coworker who loved to complain. I know you’re thinking that every work place has someone like that. Maybe so, but this guy took it to a whole new level. If complaining was an Olympic event, he’d be a world record holder. He’d be the Michael Phelps of complaining.

During that perod of time, the biggest song on the radio was by a rapper named Sir-Mix-Alot. So of course, our nickname for our habitually complaining coworker was Sir-Bitch-Alot. Easiest nickname designation ever. Abbreviated to S.B.A.

S.B.A. could ALWAYS find the bad in any situation. Here’s what a typical conversation with him sounded like:

Me – “Beautiful day, huh?”

S.B.A. – “It’s supposed to rain tomorrow.”

Me – “But man, it sure is gorgeous now!”

S.B.A. – “It won’t last.”

Yep, he actually refused to acknowledge and enjoy today’s weather, based on the forecast for tomorrow. That is some next level pessimism, right there.

His typical response to any suggestion or idea was, “nah, that won’t work.”

When I proudly showed him the tool room that I had just finished neatly organizing, his response was, “it’s just gonna get messy again in a few days.” Really, dude? Really?!?

I could fill a War and Peace sized book with examples of S.B.A. negativity, but I’ll just give you one more.

A golfer rewarded us for the beautiful condition of the golf course, by baking us some apple pies. As we dug into the pies, S.B.A. just couldn’t resist asking everyone why she didn’t give us ice cream to go with it. “Everyone knows apple pie is only good with ice cream.” We all just looked at each other and shook our heads.

All these years later, believe it or not, I actually consider S.B.A. to be one of the most important teachers that I’ve ever had. He showed me the value of making choices. In every situation in life, we can choose to see the negative or the positive. S.B.A. always chose the negative. No matter how good things were, he could always find something bad about it. As a result, his life was miserable.

Conversely, when we look for the positive in every situation, our lives become more positive. The best way to cultivate positivity is with the awesome power of gratitude.

When I tell people that I’m a coach, they usually ask me to give them one life changing piece of advice. My advice is always the same: Practice Gratitude.

An attitude of gratitude will change your life, immediately. The title of this post isn’t hyperbole. Your life will never be the same.

When you wake up in the morning, as soon as your eyes open, thank God for blessing you with another precious day of life. Before you check your phone, before you check emails, before you turn on the TV …