Have you ever wondered why you feel so much better after working out or getting a really good massage? There could be a reason for this. These activities increase serotonin, also known as the “happy hormone” in your brain.
Indeed, knowing how to naturally boost your serotonin levels may help improve your mood. There are many natural ways to increase serotonin levels without taking medication, such as spending time outside and changing your diet. In this article, we will know the significance of serotonin and 10 natural ways to boost it.
What exactly is serotonin?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) that is involved in many processes throughout your body, including mood regulation and digestion.
It is also well-known for:
- Promoting good sleep by assisting in the regulation of circadian rhythms
- Aiding in the regulation of appetite
- Aiding in learning and memory
- Promoting positive emotions and prosocial behaviour
Low levels of serotonin causes:
- You may feel anxious, low, or depressed if you have low serotonin.
- Make you irritable or aggressive.
- Causes trouble in sleeping or make you tired.
- Feeling rash
- Loss of appetite
- Cravings for sweets and carbohydrates
10 natural ways to boost serotonin.
- Change your diet
You can’t get serotonin from food, but you can get tryptophan, an amino acid that your brain converts to serotonin. Tryptophan is primarily found in high protein foods such as turkey and salmon.
However, due to the blood-brain barrier, it is not as simple as eating tryptophan-rich foods. This is a protective sheath that wraps around your brain and regulates what goes in and out of it.
In a nutshell, foods high in tryptophan tend to be higher in other types of amino acids. Because they are more abundant, these other amino acids are more likely than tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier.
- Increase your physical activity
Exercising causes tryptophan to be released into your bloodstream. It can also reduce the amount of other amino acids. This creates an ideal environment for additional tryptophan to enter your brain.
Aerobic exercise at a level you’re comfortable with appears to have the most effect, so dust off your old roller skates or sign up for a dance class. The goal is to raise your heart rate.
- Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes each day outside
Take your exercise outside to help increase the serotonin boost caused by exercise — just remember to wear sunscreen if you’ll be out for more than 15 minutes.
If you live in a rainy climate, have difficulty getting outside, or are at high risk for skin cancer, you can still increase serotonin levels by using a light therapy box.
Before using a light therapy box if you have bipolar disorder, consult with your mental health professional. Using one incorrectly or for an extended period of time has resulted in.
- Consider massage therapy
Massage therapy boosts serotonin and dopamine, two mood-related neurotransmitters. It also aids in the reduction of cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the body.
Massage therapy may benefit a variety of conditions, including prenatal depression, autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, and dementia. While you can consult with a licenced massage therapist, it may not be necessary. Consider exchanging 20 minutes of massage with a partner, family member, or friend.
- Attempt mood induction
A lack of serotonin can have a negative impact on your mood, but can a good mood help increase serotonin levels? Yes, it appears.
Thinking about something that makes you happy can help increase serotonin in your brain, which can help promote an overall better mood.
- Try picturing a happy memory from your past
Consider a positive experience you had with loved ones. Examining photographs of things that make you happy, such as your pet, a favourite location, or close friends
Keep in mind that moods are complex, and changing your mood isn’t always easy. However, engaging in the process of attempting to direct your thoughts in a positive direction can sometimes be beneficial.
- Control your emotions and stress levels
Chronic stress has been linked to a variety of health issues, which is why stress reduction is critical. Chronic stress, according to research, can even lead to low serotonin levels.
- Spend time with family and friends
Many aspects of wellness require socialisation, and studies have shown that spending time with loved ones can even increase serotonin levels. Spending time with animals has its advantages as well. Cuddle your pet or volunteer at an animal shelter to get a serotonin boost.
- Assist others
There is a reason why helping others feels good: Kindness has been shown in studies to increase serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine levels. According to one study, giving support (rather than receiving it) is an underutilised way to improve one’s mood.
- Laugh more often
Laughter is said to be the best medicine. A 2016 study looked into the therapeutic benefits of laughter on mental health and discovered that laughing can lower stress hormones like cortisol, which in turn reduces the stress response.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences everything from your mood to your bowel movements. Some people may have lower serotonin levels as a result of their brain chemistry, and there isn’t much you can do about it. Furthermore, mood disorders are caused by a complex interaction of brain chemistry, environment, genetics, and other factors.
If you want to increase your serotonin levels, try the suggestions above. However, if your symptoms begin to interfere with your daily life, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.