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Serotonin – Lets get happy

Serotonin – often touted as the “happy brain chemical” is the focus of this blog.  The ideas presented are not new, and have been well documented in research(1).  The goal is to reiterate and discuss manageable ways to support serotonin moving New Year.  January, at least here in Canada, boasts some shortest days of the year, and also the least amount of sunlight.  Add in the stresses of the holiday season, excessive eating and drinking it’s not hard to see why many people come out of December feeling depressed.

get-happy

So let’s discuss 3 ways to boost your serotonin levels.

Think Positive – This sounds simple enough, but in some cases it may require support of health care practitioner to help cultivate.

Try this – Make yourself a positivity advent calendar (it won’t effect your waistline like the chocolate type), use a bristol board and post its, get the family to join in – it can include things like ~ smile, give a hug etc, check out pinterest if you need a kick start.

Bright light exposure – easier said than done when the weather is dreary, but studies show that light outdoors, even on a dreary day can be 1000 lux, which is higher then ever achieved inside.  Try getting outside for a least 20 minutes first thing in the morning this will also help shut off your body’s melatonin pathway that groggy feeling we have in the morning.  If getting outdoors is absolutely not an option, use a light box that delivers 10 000 lux for 20-30 minutes each morning.

Get moving – exercise has been shown to boost mood, it’s often the motivation that is lacking.  Work toward incorporating exercise into daily tasks, to ensure your body moves more.  The science behind why exercise helps us feel happy is in relation to increase availability of tryptophan (an amino acid precursor for serotonin) that is released with exercise.

Try this – Let’s face it we all have smart phones, utilize them, chose an application or youtube channel like “fitness blender“, and do a quick high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout while you are waiting for the pot to boil on the stove, while you are supervising bath time or folding laundry.

The information presented are ways to implement a healthy lifestyle into the New Year.

For a more detailed health assessment including exploration into nutrient deficiencies, and other barriers to optimal health discuss with your health practitioner, or book an appointment with me I’m excited to be part of your health journey.

 

References:

(1)  Young, S. N. (2007). How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience : JPN, 32(6), 394–399.

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