Are you feeling down constantly, without a clear explanation or resolution?
The problem might lie in your brain.
Specifically, you could be low in an important neurotransmitter called serotonin.
Derived from the amino acid tryptophan, serotonin is a brain chemical responsible for a sense of well-being and happiness.
People with low serotonin levels experience more anxiety, depression, nervousness, irritability, compulsiveness, and crave starchy or sugary foods.
Low serotonin levels also lead to a low sex drive.
If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, explore these ways to naturally boost your serotonin level:
A positive feedback loop occurs with serotonin.
Being in a good mood triggers the body to produce more serotonin, and having more serotonin helps create a pleasant mood.
Be conscious of and start to control your own self-talk.
Learn to regulate your emotions.
There are many ways to do this: meditate, work with a coach, watch comedy, eliminate reoccurring annoyances, or simply re-frame experiences into something positive or a source of personal growth.
Utilizing the ‘winner effect’ is another way to great your own positive mood, thus elevating serotonin.
Have you heard of seasonal affective disorder?
It's a common syndrome where people feel down during the winter months. It’s the result of a lack of sunlight during that time.
Research suggests that exposure to sunlight, particularly light entering the eyes, triggers the production of additional serotonin.
You can buy an expensive ‘blue light’ machine that simulates exposure to sunlight. However, it's probably a better idea to go outside and….
Exercise has multiple benefits, more serotonin being just one of them.
Also an added bonus, strenuous training sessions also induces another feel-good neurochemicals: endorphins.
Working out will also get you into better shape, which will boost your confidence.
Fit people get more respect and simply feel better more consistently.
Diet can have dramatic effects on serotonin levels.
Since serotonin is synthesized in the body from tryptophan, getting enough of the amino acid can help improve your mood.
The foods highest in tryptophan are actually vegan: nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and sesame seeds); and soy products like tofu. Cheese, meat, and eggs also contain tryptophan. But carbohydrates are necessary for releasing serotonin in the brain.
The majority of the body’s serotonin is actually found in the digestive tract, and intestinal bacteria is crucial for its production. Eating fermented foods (such as tempeh, kimchi, miso, and kombucha) or taking probiotics can help boost and maintain healthy levels of microbes in your gut.
It sounds weird. But having ‘healthy’ levels of digestive bacteria may significantly improve your mental state.
Happiness isn't just a mindset or a spontaneous emotion.
Instead, it's directly affected by a series of neurochemicals, serotonin being one of the most important.
By consciously controlling your mood, getting enough sunlight and exercise, and by eating right, feeling good comes more naturally.