The Depth of Serotonin – the Diplomat HealthType Hormone

How to understand the thoughts, feelings & behaviours a person expresses, based on the dominant hormone of their Health Type.

Natalie Howard Natalie Howard
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In this series I am exploring the behavioural impacts of the dominant hormone of each HealthType (Personalised Communication & Behaviour is my coaching speciality.)

Firstly, it is important to note that we all have all the hormones that will be discussed (and many others). Their levels are unique to us and our particular context (our epigenetic expression.) The trend of each HealthType is to be the most receptive to a particular hormone, meaning the person requires a higher baseline and consistent turnover of that hormone in order to be in their healthiest state. This is why what is “normal” or “natural” is so different for each of us – we each require a unique balance. Understanding why this is the case from a hormonal level, helps us to understand why our behaviours, thoughts, feelings and needs express the way they do.

In this article I am exploring the serotonin fuelled depths of the Diplomat. (For Connectors & Oxytocin click here, Guardians & Prolactin here, Crusaders & Dopamine here.) This article is long and deep. I’ve written it for our Diplomats, with layers of meaning so you can enjoy reading it multiple times – while some other Health Types will prefer to skim read once 😉 Or the one sentence summary: Their need for steady serotonin levels means Diplomats need to feel steady in their time and space, because they need to feel deeply satisfied from carrying out everything thoroughly – tasks, experiences and connections.

In Diplomat style, I have been working on this article for months. Every time I went to edit it, I added more information. I hit 4000 words and overwhelmed myself with how that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. It’s really a book, or five, not a blog post.

So I went back to being a Sensor, and wrote what flowed from aligning my mind with my heart – an appreciation piece for Diplomats. Because that is what Diplomats deeply need but often don’t directly ask for – recognition of their value.

If you’re new to the Health Types, my references to the “herd” is because Diplomats are likened to buffalos – physically in stature being broader on top, often with longer legs. Behaviourally they are family oriented, and steady grazers of life (also needing a high plant based, low carb, low protein diet.) This piece isn’t the 101 of the Diplomat HealthType – you can learn this in the Health Types course. It’s my weaving of the embodied gift that I see the Diplomat to be. The gift that flows from their deep embodiment of the hormone serotonin.


What does serotonin do?

Serotonin is a mood stabiliser. It is often called the “happiness” hormone, but that is somewhat misleading. Many hormones make us feel happy. The “happy” feeling from serotonin is not a bubbly happy feeling, that’s oxytocin, it’s a deep happy feeling. A more accurate term is contentment, or peace. That is why depression, associated with very low serotonin levels, isn’t just “not feeling happy” – it is deep feeling of emptiness, a deep disconnection with inner peace. We are not “happyful” – we are peaceful. Serotonin brings the feeling of fullness in life.

This relates to how serotonin is produced. 80% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut as we digest. You don’t get a “hit” of it, like with adrenaline or oxytocin. Quite the opposite – you get a slow, steady release that rounds out to a deep feeling of satisfaction, fulfilment. It requires a well balanced gut flora – the right environment – to be produced at optimal levels. So while it is a neurotransmitter, most of it does not actually come from the brain. It is fed into the nervous system by nerve cells in the digestive tract. Diplomats have the longest digestive tracts of all the Health Types, and the highest concentrations of serotonin receptors. Simply put, they need a strong and steady turnover of serotonin being produced and absorbed in order to experience optimal health, wellbeing and energy. Without it it can lead to digestive issues, fluid retention and, of course, mood imbalances.


What do Diplomats do?

Did you thoroughly read the section above? (If you’re a Diplomat, I know you did.) The layers of meaning in how serotonin functions, are those for the Diplomat. Diplomats can be seen as embodying serotonin through the way their behaviour expresses. You can feel it.

They feel peaceful. Steady. Considered and considerate. A Diplomat in flow doesn’t just feel this way themselves, they make everyone around them feel this way too; in the cadence of their voice, their measured use of gesture, their relaxed but grounded pose, the feeling of their well chosen words. Their bodies are solid and strong – full, complete. They make us feel full, satisfied. Which is how they want to feel. Deeply.

These are people who really digest everything – not just food, but information, experiences, memories. They don’t just throw things down, or skim to get the key points and move on (these are references to other Health Type tendencies). The experience is what matters, because that is what unlocks the serotonin, and therefore the energy, after really digesting everything. Thus the experience is not just what’s happening now – it’s the complex interwoven pattern of what has been and what could be. 

This digestive behaviour can really be seen to underpin everything. Taking their time. Their environment being so critical to their overall health (recall that serotonin needs the right gut environment to be produced). Even the concern for the herd – close family, friends, colleagues. The health of any individual is intricately related to the herd, because they are all grazing the same field. If anyone in the herd is unwell or unsafe, that is a marker that everyone could be. The gut knows this. Being well understood as “the second brain” – the gut has a powerful influence over behaviours that seek to ensure safety and stability for the self and others. As such, this “gut-driven” self is defined in relation to others – a trend for Connectors, Guardians & Diplomats especially. These are people who live in, and for, the herd – because of their “other focussed” driving hormones. 

Diplomats will express their care and concern for others by consistently putting others first. If out of balance, this can go to excess. Too much worry or fussing over others. Too much self sacrifice because it “doesn’t get done if I don’t do it.” Overly passive indirectness to “keep the peace.” Excessive rumination that renders inaction (note that “ruminant” animals are the grazers, like buffalos – standing still and chewing the cud.) These behaviours are easy and understandable for Diplomats to go to, because of the way their biology drives them. It can lead to overwhelm, and then a self-fulfilling belief that “things will always be this way” when they are left unsatisfied, unfulfilled, without the energy of serotonin, which then reinforces more avoidance and inaction. We must acknowledge and accept this as just a biological predisposition, in order to support to reset it. 

Any change, even a positive one, takes time for a Diplomat, because they have the biological feedback that tells them to keep going – keep digesting, keep storing, keep monitoring, keep following those well trodden tracks. Their naturally resilient and enduring bodies tell them they can sacrifice “a bit more” for others. Their exceptionally thorough, deep and pattern spotting minds notice – or think they notice – all the ways others “need” their sacrifice. This makes Diplomats prepared for anything – because they have “seen it before” either in their memory, or in their predictions. They are the ones who have a Mary Poppins handbag, plus a spare. They are the ones who have checked and researched absolutely everything, just in case. They are the ones whom you can ask almost anything and they will have an answer for you – or they will go get it.

Serotonin To Finish – Gratitude to Satisfy

I love Diplomats. As a Sensor, they bring me a grounded steadiness from the familiar reason and depth of their minds, combined with the protectiveness of their physical presence. It is a physical build that can be very much like a warrior – think Viking or Amazon – strong and enduring, but with a mind that seeks diplomacy, peace. It is peace, not war, that requires the longest endurance. The ultimate protection. 

Blessed with a Diplomat mother, I know their gift for endurance  – she managed five strong willed male Crusaders, and an equally driven female Sensor. My best friend, a Diplomat, has steadily stood by me through 20 years, and I know she will for the next 200 (even after this life I know she will still check up on me.) A beautiful, proud, Diplomat that I worked with in ph360 was always the one to make sure I had everything I needed – all the information, all the physical conditions that she could possibly optimise for me, any time. She did this for the whole team. My Diplomat teaching colleagues – of whom I have had many, as Diplomats make exceptional teachers – have always inspired admiration for their ability to navigate their relationships with students, staff and parents with such depth and sincerity. And they have a resource for anything, because they saved it, just in case.

 Many cultures give thanks before a meal. It brings us together and puts us in a state of alpha, which we need for optimal digestion. It is well worth extending this to give thanks at the end. Really deeply. That is what serotonin is – it is the thanks that we feel from within our bodies after full, deep digestion of a meal, an experience, a connection. This is the feeling we all need to finish with, to feel fully satisfied, satiated. That deep, pleasurable exhalation of a job well done, a challenge navigated through, the journey home completed. Homeostasis – that feeling of inner balance – is home. 

We all want to feel “at home.” Diplomats are that, so powerfully. Home. Theirs are the bodies & minds that are designed to deeply remind the whole tribe what home is, what it really means. It’s not just safety and survival, nourishment, achievement, not even connection or evolution – it’s all of it. The deep, full, pleasurable, measured experience of every piece of life, in the vast, beautiful pattern of the tapestry, each of us an interwoven thread working together to form the whole.

Diplomats know this, deep in their gut. That is why they take their time. Why they can worry. It is even why they can be stuck or stubborn. They see the enormity of what has been and what could be, and what is happening beyond their control – and it can all become “too much.” That is why their time and place matters – really, truly, deeply. It is home. They must feel home, because they carry that feeling of home for the herd, the tribe. The wisdom of the tracks we have made. The memories that know how to sow and harvest. The bodies that can do this, every day, ploughing on through thick and thin, after others have folded, forgotten, fled, or fallen over. 

This can grow a steady but deep resentment for not being acknowledged for this vital role, because so much of its true power is intangible, or does not bear obvious fruit for some time (which Diplomats know, but others can forget). And so much of the actual work can be taken for granted. Everyone “just knows” how reliable their Diplomat friend / partner / colleague is, so that’s the end of it. But it’s not the end. The end must be the satisfaction that comes from sharing gratitude. Diplomats don’t just “want” to be satisfied with this – they NEED it. They need their serotonin like no other Health Type – because this is what gives them energy in body, mind and heart. They will seek the feeling of fullness and satisfaction from experiences, food, objects and  knowledge. Because they need it. Yes, they can get it themselves by optimising their foods, movement, their mental patterns, their schedules, their physical place.

But they need it from their tribe. From us. No amount of self acknowledgment and affirmation really truly makes up for the deep acknowledgement of another. Diplomats give us their time, their energy, the place in their minds and hearts with their consideration and concern. And so, we must return that to them, to satisfy them. Give a Diplomat your time, the depth of your presence, a place of value in your life, so they know how worthy they are.

And Diplomats, if you are still waiting to receive that, after all these years (I know, you can wait for many, many years) – ask. Ask – directly – for what you need to receive. And then ask again. (Or give them a nudge and share this article with them.) But know that even if someone is not able to give you the recognition in the way you want it – you are seen, you are heard, and you are valued.

You are an embodied gift to the world, and you give that gift so generously.

Thank you. For being you.


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