Our brain is a complicated and beautifully intricate organ. It is arguably one of the most important organs because it is responsible for so many of the things that make us human. From thinking, feeling, storing memories, and so much more our brains allow us to do so much in this world. Think of the brain as the control centre, telling the body all of the other things it needs to do to keep you alive and thriving! Pretty amazing right?
Many of us have heard about serotonin and how it’s also known as your body’s “feel good” chemical. Many people don’t know this but majority of serotonin is found in the gut, 90% to be exact! Only 10% of serotonin is produced by the brain. Serotonin is not only essential for regulating our mood but also helps to regulate attention, behavior, and body temperature.
If you experience depression, anxiety, or OCD oftentimes doctors will prescribe SSRI’s. While these might be a temporary solution to increasing serotonin levels in the body, there are some natural ways you can get those levels up as well and feel better all around! If you’d like to learn more, keep on reading.
Natural Ways to Boost that Serotonin:
We’re always told how important exercise is. It’s important for weight management, our hearts, and confidence. Did you also know that exercise is fantastic for boosting dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals responsible for helping us feel great. For moderate to severe mental health disorders moving your body can act as a form of therapy.
2) Refine your diet with serotonin boosting foods
It’s no coincidence that what we consume has a direct correlation with how we feel. To boost serotonin levels, eating foods with tryptophan can really help. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps make melatonin and serotonin. This can be found in milk, canned tuna, turkey, chicken, nuts, fruits, and more.
There’s a link between parts of the world that get less sunlight and SAD disorder (seasonal affective disorder). A lack of sunlight can lead to lower levels of serotonin which can trigger depression. There’s a reason why so many people want to flee the dark and cold winter days to go somewhere more warm and sunny, it truly makes a difference. Not all of us have the ability to travel enough so one of the ways you can incorporate more sunlight is to get outside for the parts of the days where the sun is shining.
4) Gratitude Journalling
Research actually shows that adopting an attitude of gratitude actually helps increase happiness! You will feel more positive emotions, better health, and have the ability to endure greater hardships through practicing gratitude. One fantastic way to do this and boost those serotonin levels is to grab a journal and write down three things you are grateful for every day.
5) Manage stress levels
It goes without saying that high levels of stress are taking on the body and mind. Did you know that chronic stress can actually lead to low serotonin levels though? If you find that you’re in a state of high anxiety, burnout or fight or flight these are all signs that your cortisol levels are high. Some great ways to reduce stress include:
- Deep breathing
- A warm bath
- Listening to calming music
6) Physical touch
Physical touch is super important, but did you know that massages in particular are a great way to boost dopamine and serotonin? A good massage should help you to relax physically and mentally. If you can’t get a massage from a clinic or a loved one, hugging, cuddling, or holding hands can also help to boost serotonin.
One amazing supplement that has been shown to help raise serotonin levels in the brain is 5-HTP! This chemical is not found in the foods that we eat but comes from the process of consuming tryptophan which then converts into 5-HTP. Some studies have shown that consuming 5-HTP may work as well as certain antidepressants. It also has potential to help with fibromyalgia, insomnia, obesity, migraines, and more!
If you start to consistently practice these tips you should notice a difference in your mood, energy, and stress levels. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, or suicidal we highly recommend speaking with a healthcare professional and ask them about implementing these tips. Every body is different and sometimes it’s just a matter of trial and error to find what works best for you!