What’s the key to improving your mental state and feeling good?
Some of us might say it’s healthy relationships or doing a job you love.
Spiritual gurus might say it’s living in the moment or positive thinking.
But isn’t it more interesting to find out what neuroscientists say? After all, they’re the ones studying our brains.
And despite what you’re led to believe, neuroscience has many things to say about our mental state and what works. According to several research studies, there’s one particular element to mental wellbeing that you might not be aware of.
It’s called serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can influence many things throughout your body like your mood, memory, sleep cycle, and even your sex drive.
1. Eat Tryptophan.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that majorly helps in your body’s production of serotonin. Foods that include tryptophan include eggs, dairy, lean meats, nuts, and seeds.
2. Get a massage
Getting a massage can boost your mood no matter what, but did you know that it can reduce your cortisol levels? Cortisol is a stress hormone that is produced when you’re “under attack” or in stressful situations. When you have too much of this hormone in your body, it can block serotonin from being produced.
3. Increase your B Vitamins.
Especially B12 and B6 can help with serotonin production. There is even research suggesting that increasing your intake of these vitamins can help with depression. Most people can enhance their intake of B vitamins with 50-100 mg/day but check with your doctor to be sure.
4. Get some sun.
Unsurprisingly for those of us who live in the north, not getting sun can affect our mood. Sunshine can initiate serotonin production in our brains!
5. Increase your intake of Magnesium.
It’s thought that up to 75% of the American population is deficient in Magnesium. This mineral can help to control blood pressure, regulate nerve cell function enhance serotonin. Magnesium can be found in supplements and foods like dark greens, bananas, and fish.
6. Be positive.
Increasing serotonin isn’t just possible with external things. By changing your attitude, self-talk, and perspective, you can also influence your brain. When you do things that you enjoy, you feel better. These new patterns of positivity can help you create more serotonin.
7. Eat less sugar.
One of the symptoms you may feel when you’re low on serotonin is a craving for sugary foods. But by consuming these foods, you will feel a crash soon after. Be healthy and increase your serotonin in more natural ways.
8. Start a meditation practice.
Meditation raises an acid called 5-HIAA in the brain that is directly related to serotonin. By sitting in meditation every day you can reduce stress, and the production of cortisol and other stress hormones and also enhance the production of serotonin.
Any activity that gets your blood going and your heart pumping also contributes to the production of serotonin. Exercise also produces positive chemicals in the body like endorphins, which can enhance your mood right away.
10. Get lots of Vitamin.
Vitamin C is strongly connected to mood and also has antidepressant properties. One study even found people who took in an increase in vitamin C for a week felt happier. Vitamin C may not be directly related to serotonin but it definitely helps the brain to make other neurotransmitters like epinephrine and dopamine, which both make us feel great.
11. Reduce stress by taking care of yourself.
When you you’re stressed, do thing to prevent becoming overwhelmed. The best way to combat stress chemicals like cortisol is to do what you can to stay positive and take care of yourself.