Serotonin, often known as the happinesshormone, is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating mood, memory, sleep, and even learning and cognition.
You might have felt the effects of this “happy chemical” if you have ever felt great after a massage or exercise. Activities that increase the release of serotonin lead to feelings of happiness and contentment and improve overall mood.
Low serotonin levels can lead to depressive moods while, needless to say. Here are some ways a person can naturally boost serotonin in their body:
The smartest way is to derive the hormone from food. Serotonin is made of an amino acid known as tryptophan. Incorporating food items that have high tryptophan into meals can develop healthy levels of the neurotransmitter.
Some of these foods are salmon fish, soy products, eggs, corn, seeds and nuts.
A 2016 review showed that regular exercise can enhance serotonin levels. It can also boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activity, which is a gene that makes a crucial protein responsible for stimulating nerve cells. the BDNF gene also regulates areas of the brain that deal with body weight and appetite.
Any type of exercise that gets your body moving can literally make you a happier person.
A 2005 review showed that massage therapy increases serotonin levels by an average of 28%, reported Insider.
A relaxing massage can decrease the levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. When the body moves out of the “flight-or-fight” mode and feels safe, stress levels lower down and serotonin is enhanced.
“This type of safe and nurturing touch can come from a loved one, partner, or a professional massage therapist,” Mimi Winsberg, MD, a psychiatrist in San Francisco and co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Brightside, a mental health provider, said.
Sunlight is absolutely crucial to happiness and well-being. With winter coming, many people might suffer from seasonal depression, also called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it is necessary to soak in some sun early in the morning.
“The brain produces serotonin in response to sun and daylight,” said Winsberg. The lack of exposure to sunlight, she explained, makes people prone to depression and SAD.
People who spend most of their time indoors should buy specialised lamps that can fulfil their need for light. Winsberg believes that the first 30 minutes of the day should be spent walking in the light.
Studies have shown that gratitude makes people happier. While neuroscientists are still researching the relationship between a grateful attitude and serotonin, it is proven that appreciating positive things around you results in a better mood.
For some people, being grateful means keeping a journal and recording all the good aspects of the day or week. Others keep visual reminders like pictures of their loved ones and other blessings on their work table. Gratitude can also boost self-esteem resulting in well-being.