What is serotonin and why is it important?
Ever wonder what causes the changes in your moods, sleep patterns and behavior?
Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters that deal with our perception and it is involved in pain, pleasure, sleep, relaxation, learning, appetite and even our mood.
Serotonin: The Happiness Hormone:
Princeton University calls serotonin the "happiness hormone" because it actually contributes to our feeling of well-being.
By taking steps to improve serotonin levels in the brain, you will actually start to feel like you are leading a better, happier life.
Serotonin and Depression:
Serotonin is responsible for your mood and your mood greatly affects your life and overall well-being.
Who does depression affect?
Depression is a common mental disorder in the United States. In fact, major depression affects approximately 14.8 million Americans every year of people 18 years and older.
Depression is often considered a state of mind or a position where a person feels sad and unwilling to take active part anywhere outside of their inner, personal world.
Depression is one problem that is prevalent in the youth too. A young boy/girl who may just be a teenager may fall prey to this problem. A depressed person looks out for attention, empathy and at times sympathy too.
On not receiving support, a person may soon become introverted and may remain isolated from a particular group. One should thus practice the natural ways to manage their serotonin and lead a serene life.
The Serotonin and Depression Connection:
Scientific research has proven that people with low serotonin levels are more likely to suffer from depression.
In fact, it has been show that increasing serotonin levels would help to alleviate an individual's depression, maybe even eliminating it altogether.
How to Increase Serotonin without Drugs:
Increasing serotonin levels is not as easy as it sounds. There are drugs available in the market-place that claim to do this.
It is a misconception that natural herbal supplements are harmless. You should always consult with your doctor before putting anything questionable into your body.
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to naturally improve serotonin levels in your brain and effectively help overcome depression.
How to Naturally Improve Serotonin Levels in the Brain
Here are some effective natural ways to increase your serotonin levels to help you address depression. Implementing the suggestions below will help you shift your outlook on life, leave you finally feeling happy.
Do you think that your feeling of well-being will increase if you actively try to be around and in communication with people?
By keeping yourself active and agile, you can increase your serotonin levels. This does not happen when you are isolating yourself and not socializing.
By going out of your way to be around people and communicate, you make your brain work through processing your activity. The more time you spend socializing, the higher your serotonin levels will be.
The less time you spend in isolation, the better. You can imagine that if you did, this would perpetuate feelings of unhappiness. Nobody wants to feel alone.
2. Take Vitamin B and Inositol
You can get this in the form of a pill. A B6 or B12 multi-vitamin tablet has proven effective in curbing depression among patients.
Apart from these, adding inositol to the drinks that you consume may prove highly effective too.
Inositol and Serotonin: What is inositol?
Inositol is a vitamin-like substance and has properties which boost the serotonin levels in the body and has proven to be an effective chemical against the feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression.
3. Improve your diet and increase your protein intake
Another natural way of ensuring the serotonin levels are high is to consume a healthy diet.
People who consume protein rich food are less likely to have low serotonin levels and less likely to be depressed and sad.
Too Much Sugar: Influence on Serotonin and Depression
If you intake large amounts of sugar and carbohydrates over an extended period of time, your serotonin levels will eventually crash. This will lead to long periods of intense carbohydrate cravings and will leave you feeling more depressed.
There are certain foods that can help fight these sugar cravings. Reaching for a fruit (grapefruits especially) will satisfy your sugar cravings, even if you're just not in the mood for fruit.
4. Increase exposure to sunlight
Although extended exposure can be dangerous to health, sunlight absorption through the skin is actually a natural source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays important roles in our body. It helps us build stronger, denser bones, helps our immune system and even helps our serotonin levels.
Doesn't sunlight just make you feel good? That's the serotonin talkin'!
How to Balance Serotonin Naturally and Become Happy
5. Regularly exercise
Exercises that involve cardio have been linked to increased serotonin levels.
- Running would be an excellent for your serotonin levels and will allow you to release your mind.
It'd be more beneficial if you found a running buddy to tag along- remember, the less isolation, the higher your serotonin levels.
Having the Right Mindset toward Exercise:
However, if you approach exercise with the mindset of feeling like you have to, or even if you exercise and exert yourself too much, it may not have the desired affect of increasing your serotonin levels.
Before you begin your cardio- exercise, try to really understand and accept that you are choosing to exercise.
If you think this is odd, consider an animal being hunted.
- This animal is being forced to run and is presumably not very happy.
Now consider an animal running because they're hunting for food.
- This change in mindset will makes all the difference. Its the difference between hunting for food and being hunted for food.