Serotonin = nature’s happy pill
Work is really stressing you out. Your partner just broke things off with you. Hitting the gym has become obsolete. Whatever situation you’re facing, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magical potion to get you out of the dumps?
There is! It’s called serotonin—your body’s natural feel-good hormone. Its sole purpose is to help you keep bouncing back from whatever life throws your way.
And there’s no shame in needing an extra dose of feel-good hormones. You can naturally increase your serotonin levels to keep your spirits up and your mental health in check. Here are 3 scientifically proven methods to naturally boost serotonin levels if you’re feeling down in the dumps.
You’ve heard it before—exercise boosts your endorphins and makes you feel happy.
According to recent studies, it only takes 20 minutes of working out to improve your mood for up to 12 hours. Why? When you exercise, your body naturally releases serotonin and dopamine—hormones designed to boost your mood, combat pain and get you hooked on the movements you crave.
The more consistently you train, the better you’ll feel!
Your best approach to exercise? It’s simple—choose something you love, or at least enjoy. Think about it—if you hate every minute of your workout, will it actually improve your mood? Probably not.
If you’ve tried a bunch of different exercises and can’t seem to find something you like, don’t give up.
Dance your way to fit, get into the flow with yoga or get your sweat on with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). There are so many choices out there, so take advantage of the numerous options at your disposal.
Train with Gymondo and explore 25+ diverse fitness programs that will keep you motivated to keep moving.
Soak up Some Rays
I get it—it’s not so easy to find sunny days with winter fast approaching. But there’s still hope. Invest in a lamp that’s specifically designed to combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—yes it’s a thing. SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons.
Natural light helps increase the rate at which serotonin hormones fire, drastically alleviating those down-in-the-dumps feelings you may experience over long, winter months.
While natural light tremendously helps, it’s not the only thing you need to rely on to boost your mood. Consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D is naturally produced by exposure to sunlight. During the winter months, your vitamin D levels may take a drastic nosedive, which could leave you feeling lethargic, depressed and weak.
Taking a vitamin D supplement helps combat depression and naturally boosts your energy levels. The US Institute of Medicine suggests that an average daily intake of 400–800 IU (10–20 micrograms) is adequate for the majority of the population.
Eat Yourself Happy
You are what you eat, especially over the winter months. There are several foods that can naturally boost your serotonin levels. One of the best foods around is nuts. In a recent study, nuts were found to drastically improve levels of serotonin.
Nuts contain tryptophan, an amino acid that converts to serotonin in your brain. Tryptophan is primarily found in high-protein foods, including nuts, pineapple, salmon and turkey.
Research suggests that eating carbs paired with foods high in tryptophan may help the release of serotonin in the brain. It’s suggested to consume between 25 to 30 grams of carbohydrates with tryptophan-rich food.
Call to Action
Regulating your mood is a complex process and may require more than just naturally increasing serotonin levels in your body.
However, research suggests that increasing serotonin through exercise, natural light and diet can help get you out of the dumps.
Don’t take my word for it. Implement these 3 proactive steps and see for yourself!