Serotonin is one of the hormones your body naturally produces, known as a “happy hormone”. When you have a boost of serotonin in your brain, it can increase your mood and energy levels, reduce stress, and do so many more amazing things.
Here are some easy and natural ways to increase your serotonin.
Add Exercise to Your Daily Routine
Perhaps the easiest way to start increasing your serotonin every day is by adding exercise to your daily routine. Exercise not only releases endorphins to help you feel happier, but it can also boost your mood by boosting your serotonin levels.
How does it do this? By releasing tryptophan into your bloodstream, which can then reach your brain and trigger a serotonin response. This is similar to the “runner’s high” that you get when you go for a run and experience a release of endorphins. But in this case, you are getting a boost of serotonin. Both of these together make you feel extremely happy and energetic.
Find some easy and realistic ways to add exercise to your routine, whether you go for a walk in the morning before you leave for work, or you prefer going to the gym. You can also try fun activities like swimming, cycling, hiking, kayaking, dancing, or taking fitness classes.
Consider What Makes You Feel Happy
Think about the activities or habits that tend to boost your mood, as these are the ones that help you boost your own serotonin levels. It is a good idea to keep some kind of tracker that allows you to see when your mood is boosted and when you feel happier.
When do you notice you are happiest? Is it when you are spending time with friends? Do you feel comforted when giving or receiving hugs and other forms of affection? Does your quality of sleep impact how happy you feel? What about your diet or movement? Are there activities you enjoy so much they always improve your mood?
Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D
When it comes to supplements, the one that is best for a boost of serotonin is vitamin D, but you don’t have to actually take the supplement in pill form. The ideal way to get more vitamin D is from its natural source, the sunlight. If you can spend a little more time outside in the sunshine, you will start feeling happier without any effort.
This doesn’t need to feel like a chore. You just have to go outside! This can just be sitting on your balcony when you have a break during the day, walking your dog a little bit extra each day, playing with your kids in the backyard, or picking up gardening as a new hobby.
Consider Your Diet
What you choose to eat and drink can also determine how you feel based on your serotonin levels. If you have certain vitamin deficiencies, that might be leading you to have a low level of serotonin. But if you are able to eat a healthy, balanced diet, it can help tremendously. Foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan are a good place to start, including turkey, full-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds, and tuna.
Other foods that can boost your serotonin include oats, salmon, tomatoes, kiwi, pineapple, and plantains.
Engage in Positive Thinking Practices
The more positive your mindset is, the more serotonin you are going to produce. When you do something that makes you feel good, you give your own serotonin a little boost, and this includes when you think positively. Think of some activities or habits that allow you to think more positively, as this will differ for everyone.
When do you feel the most positive? Maybe it is after you have done a brain dump in your journal and your mind feels free of all the stress and worry. Or you might feel more positive after completing a task or talking with one of your best friends. Watching a certain type of movie or TV show may improve your positive thinking or other fun activities.
Make a list of when you feel joy and happy and positive, and try to add more of those to your day in order to increase your serotonin.
Is it Winter? Use Light Therapy
Finally, if it is wintertime, you might struggle to get enough vitamin D and your mood is lowered drastically. In this case, the best thing you can do is get a light therapy machine. Light therapy machines provide artificial light that is as close to real sunlight as possible. You can get infrared light that looks and feels like sunshine and really boosts your serotonin as much as possible. If you live somewhere that is dark and rainy in the winter or other seasons, then these machines really come in handy.