As you may already know, serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that sends messages from one area of your brain to another.
Studies suggest it plays a role in a wide range of psychological and psychological functions, ranging from mood to sleep quality, learning ability, libido, appetite and even memory.
Most people are aware that serotonin can be linked to depression, but what you might not realize is that you can influence serotonin levels without taking anti-depressant drugs.
And while you may be better off taking such medication, it’s exciting to know that you can boost production of this neurotransmitter in natural and powerful ways.
It will not only make you feel so much happier, but will help you attract better things into your life. Because, as we know, “like attracts like”.
1. ENJOY THE LIGHT
When you’re exposed to sunlight (and even just daylight on a cloudy or cold day), your brain starts to produce more serotonin in response. So, make a habit of going for a walk for 10-20 minutes each day. You may also find that this time gives you a great opportunity to reflect and plan for the day ahead.
2. CUT BACK ON SUGAR
People with low serotonin often report intense cravings for sugar, which may be your body’s way of signaling that you need more of this crucial neurotransmitter (because sugar produces insulin, which then provides some of the building blocks required for serotonin).
However, this isn’t a good way to stabilize your body, as it increases your risk of illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, and sparking a crash in mood further down the line.
3. GET MORE B VITAMINS
All B vitamins help to support good mental and physical health, but vitamins B6 and B12 are particularly famous for improving mood thanks to their ability to boost the amount of serotonin in your brain.
For example, one recently published study showed that older adults with depression typically improved after just a few weeks of supplementing their diets with B-vitamins. A daily dose of 50-100 mg is recommended.
4. ACTIVELY WORK ON POSITIVITY
It isn’t just your treatment of your body that can increase serotonin levels in your brain—psychologists have discovered that deliberately establishing and maintaining a positive outlook leads to large gains in serotonin.
For example, keeping a gratitude journal, spending time with good friends and listening to soothing music can all help to regulate your neurotransmitters and assist in alleviating depression.
Some other ways of working on positivity include:
- Listen to brainwave audios.
- Getting rid of negative influences (including toxic people)
- Using affirmations – both write them down and say them out loud)
- Smile more
- When you talk about your problems, focus on the solutions more than the problem itself
- Listen more to happy songs instead of sad ones
- Read positive books and watch funny films (as opposed to horror films and thrillers)
5. ADD MORE PROTEIN TO YOUR DIET
The protein content of foods like eggs, cheese and lean meats can dramatically boost the levels of tryptophan in your blood, thereby leaving you with more serotonin. Remember to eat the yolks and not just the egg whites, however, as yolks are also rich in tryptophan and potentially cancer-fighting antioxidants.
6. LOAD UP ON NUTS AND SEEDS
All nuts and seeds are a source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid needed to synthesize serotonin. This means you choose your favorites as a snack, and reap the associated benefits—not only for mood, but also for your heart, respiratory system and cell production. A handful of nuts also gives you a nice dose of fiber, keeping your digestive system in good working order.
7. BOOK A MASSAGE
While everyone knows that a massage feels great on tired muscles, fewer are aware that this form of healing touch has a direct impact on serotonin levels. This benefit comes from the fact that massages reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that blocks your brain from producing the right amount of serotonin. In fact, research suggests as much as a 31% reduction in cortisol, leading to a much better mood.
8. GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE
As well as going for walks to elevate the amount of sun exposure you get per week, do your best to engage in regular cardiovascular exercise. The endorphins produced by a thorough workout immediately make you feel in better spirits, partly due to changes in serotonin levels.
Plus, people who exercise frequently appear to have stronger immune systems, so you’ll be helping your body fight disease as well.
Finally, it’s worth noting that a regular meditation practice is a wonderful way to keep your serotonin at the right level. At this stage, there are dozens of credible studies proving the connection between meditation and psychological health, so you have multiple reasons to stick to this habit.
You may find it more effective to meditate with brainwave audios. They use special tones and frequencies to get your brain to relax faster. And one meditation session is only 12 minutes.
Also, if you haven’t tried transcendental meditation (TM), now might be a good time to start—it has a particularly potent stimulating influence on happiness, as it elevates levels of 5-HIAA (which are necessary for the production of serotonin). Like massage, meditation also cuts levels of cortisol and leaves you feeling much calmer.