- Aerobic exercise is well known to increase serotonin. Aerobic exercise can be defined literally by “with oxygen” Any exercise to stimulate heart rate and respiratory system. ie. jogging, swimming, running, biking, etc.
- Pilates is shown to greatly improve self-confidence as opposed to other forms of exercise. This should definitely help your sense of self-efficacy and pleasure from your daily activities.
That’s right, light. As a species, we are used to being outside a lot, particularly in the sun. The amount of light on a sunny day outside is 5 - 20 times brighter than your brightest office.
- Get out in the sun whenever possible. Full-spectrum light can be helpful but the serotonin boosting effect can is still very low versus a “Happy light”
- I personally use a Kasina Unit which is great for absorbing the rays during the dark months of winter, as well as avoiding the harmful UV rays of the sun during the summer
- The Kasina is helpful for a variety of issues such as sleep and recovery but they are also excellent for mood and bringing a sort of color to your eyes when Alaska goes grey and dark.
Light therapies should be approached with some caution if you have a history of manic depressive issues. The lights on the Kasina could be problematic for people with seizure disorders.
Ensuring that you indulge in nutritious foods full of essential Amino Acids plays a crucial role in maintaining a happy mind and body.
Tryptophan rich foods can help to elevate your serotonin levels. To better absorb tryptophan, it may help to include about 25 grams of wholesome carbohydrates.
Tryptophan rich foods:
- Eggs - eggs also have choline and other brain-healthy nutrients
- Tofu - if you tolerate soy well, it also has calcium
- Nuts - a handful a day are great for overall health
Supplementation may sound like a process that is only for hardcore bodybuilders and athletes. The number of daily nutrients our bodies need to function at its best is harder to meet than you may think. Vitamins and supplements contain essential nutrients that are difficult to consume in a normal diet.
Before taking any supplements, ensure you speak with your health professional.
Supplements that are good for mood and general health:
- Fish Oil
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B
Specific serotonin boosting supplements: (Check with your Doctor before taking!)
- SAMe (great for joints and liver as well)
- Saint John's Wort
- Meditation - load a free meditation timer or get a class
- Practice gratitude - keep a gratitude journal
- Look into the past for happy events
- Make something fun to look forward to this week month & year.
- Pilates, yoga, dance.
Body Therapies: Regular massage has been shown to increase serotonin levels
- Massage: No cash? Trade with a friend or spouse…
- Citrus smells such as orange and bergamot are shown to improve mood. Men should avoid lavender as it can lower testosterone levels.
- Clear your house of scented cleaning products. If a product says it contain “Fragrance” it is probably pretty toxic. Problems include, hormone imbalances (bad skin, hair, mood, brain), cancer, low sperm counts, allergies, and nervous system disorders.
- Dryer Sheets
- Scented laundry products
- Mrs. Meyers & many “natural” products can be very dirty
- Many cosmetics.
Load the ThinkDirty app on your phone and stay informed on your favorite products.
Depression is complicated. Feelings of despair can make you feel like things will never improve. If you have major depressive issues or feelings of suicide, you may find it harder to even desire contentment. It’s important to reach out for support from the people you trust when you begin to notice consistent feelings of apathy and lethargy. Healing is difficult when these feelings consume you. The point when you least desire healing is when you most likely need it the most.