It seems that everyone just wants to be happy. Yet there are so many reasons why we are not. Serotonin plays a role in our mood and happiness levels.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is involved in a broad array of physiological and behavioral procedures such as cardiovascular regulation, appetite, pain sensitivity, sexual behavior, mood, respiration, cognition, learning etc. It also has an essential function in a variety of psychiatric conditions (from anxiety disorders to schizophrenia) in addition to behavioral impulse-related disorders (violence, attention deficit disorder, substance abuse, obsessive control, etc.).
Serotonin is noticeably absent when you are feeling lonely or depressed. This much studied neurotransmitter is important for mood, sleep and behavior. Studies done on gang members and violent offenders who wind up in prison have found a profoundly low level of serotonin in their brains. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter released after orgasm to help the body feel blissful and relaxed. That’s why the class of anti-depressants known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors actually decrease libido.
Some natural serotonin “hacks” you can do at home
The food and mood connection is real. Tryptophan is the amino acid that is converted into serotonin. There are many foods rich in tryptophan, but that does not necessarily translate to serotonin production in the body. Here are some foods that will help with actual serotonin levels:
- nuts and seeds
5HTP is a great way to increase serotonin. A caveat though…increasing serotonin can decrease dopamine. I always believe that testing rather than guessing is best. I like to do neurotransmitter testing so we can see where you are starting as a baseline before randomly trying amino acids. Taking 5HTP safely can be assured with the formula I have carefully compounded called 5HTP Plus:https://functionalsexology.com/store/products/5htp-plus-90-capsules/
Life Style Hacks
- Exercise: Research from the United Kingdom shows that regular exercise can have antidepressant effects.
- Sunshine: Light therapy is a common remedy for seasonal depression. Research shows a clear relationship between being exposed to bright light and serotonin levels. To get better sleep, or to boost your mood, try to work in a daily lunchtime walk outside.
- Positivity: Research shows that facing daily life and your interactions with others with a positive outlook can significantly boost your serotonin levels. As the Spice Girls once sang: “All you need is positivity!”
- Gratitude Attitude. Reflecting on past achievements allows the brain to re-live the experience. Our brain has trouble telling the difference between what’s real and imagined, so it produces serotonin in both cases. It’s another reason why gratitude practices are popular. They remind us that we are valued and have much to value in life. If you need a serotonin boost during a stressful day, take a few moments to reflect on a past achievements and victories.
Here’s to your happiness and vitality!
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