Tuesday 29th November 2016 – Increase Serotonin Naturally

After a week of birthday celebrations, getting through lots of customer orders in preparation for Christmas, birthday gifts and even a special 50th Vegan wedding anniversary cake, life has been busy.

I can’t complain as I love being busy and knowing that I can be of service in offering a wide variety of food/baked/raw goods that suit many dietary requirements is most satisfying.

Moving on from this, I came across a great article about how to increase Serotonin levels naturally and I for one, could do with a little more of this as I don’t get the opportunity to spend as much time as I would like to outdoors in the natural light and fresh air as well as not getting in tune with myself as much as I like, although I do religiously keep a journal which I update daily (full of things I am grateful for, blessed with, plans and goals and so much more).

So here goes:

1. Enjoy The Light

When you’re exposed to sunlight (and even just daylight on a cloudy or cold day), your brain starts to produce more serotonin in response. So, make a habit of going for a walk for 10-20 minutes each day. You may also find that this time gives you a great opportunity to reflect and plan for the day ahead.  I love getting out for my walk first thing in the morning (weather permitting) where it gives me the chance to take in the great fresh air, the quiet surrounding me when most people are still asleep), clean for the day ahead both for business as well as food and recipe planning and simply clearing the mind of the night time cloudy/fogginess!

2. Cut Back On Sugar

People with low serotonin often report intense cravings for sugar, which may be your body’s way of signaling that you need more of this crucial neurotransmitter (because sugar produces insulin, which then provides some of the building blocks required for serotonin). 

However, this isn’t a good way to stabilize your body, as it increases your risk of illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, and sparking a crash in mood further down the line.  A good recommendation to get a ‘sugar hit’ is to enjoy natural sugars like enjoying a fresh glass of mixed fruit and vegetable juices, making some fresh raw energy balls which contain good healthy sugars (dates) and fats (walnuts/cashes/hazelnuts etc.) for that healthy treat.  

 

3. Get More B Vitamins

All B vitamins help to support good mental and physical health, but vitamins B6 and B12 are particularly famous for improving mood thanks to their ability to boost the amount of serotonin in your brain. 

4. Actively Work On Positivity

It isn’t just your treatment of your body that can increase serotonin levels in your brain—psychologists have discovered that deliberately establishing and maintaining a positive outlook leads to large gains in serotonin. 

For example, keeping a gratitude journal, spending time with good friends and listening to soothing music can all help to regulate your neurotransmitters and assist in alleviating depression.

Some other ways of working on positivity include:

  • Getting rid of negative influences (including toxic people)
  • Using affirmations – both write them down and say them out loud)
  • Smile more
  • When you talk about your problems, focus on the solutions more than the problem itself
  • Listen more to happy songs instead of sad ones
  • Read positive books and watch funny films (as opposed to horror films and thrillers)
  • Meditate regularly (ideally morning and evening to both charge you and relax you either end of the day)

5. Add More Protein To Your Diet

The protein content of foods for meat eaters are eggs, cheese and lean meats which can dramatically boost the levels of tryptophan in your blood, thereby leaving you with more serotonin. However if you are VEGAN/Vegetarian or Lacto-intolerant, the good proteins you can add to your diet are:  Avocado, lentils, grains, beans, nuts and seeds (see No 6 below for more benefits on nuts and seeds).

6. Load Up On Nuts And Seeds

All nuts and seeds are a source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid needed to synthesize serotonin. This means you choose your favorites as a snack, and reap the associated benefits—not only for mood, but also for your heart, respiratory system and cell production. A handful of nuts also gives you a nice dose of fiber, keeping your digestive system in good working order.

7. Book A Massage

While everyone knows that a massage feels great on tired muscles, fewer are aware that this form of healing touch has a direct impact on serotonin levels. This benefit comes from the fact that massages reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that blocks your brain from producing the right amount of serotonin. In fact, research suggests as much as a 31% reduction in cortisol, leading to a much better mood. 

8. Get Plenty Of Exercise

As well as going for walks to elevate the amount of sun exposure you get per week, do your best to engage in regular cardiovascular exercise. The endorphins produced by a thorough workout immediately make you feel in better spirits, partly due to changes in serotonin levels. 

Plus, people who exercise frequently appear to have stronger immune systems, so you’ll be helping your body fight disease as well.

9. Meditate

Finally, it’s worth noting that a regular meditation practice is a wonderful way to keep your serotonin at the right level. At this stage, there are dozens of credible studies proving the connection between meditation and psychological health, so you have multiple reasons to stick to this habit. 

If you haven’t tried transcendental meditation (TM), now might be a good time to start—it has a particularly potent stimulating influence on happiness, as it elevates levels of 5-HIAA (which are necessary for the production of serotonin). Like massage, meditation also cuts levels of cortisol and leaves you feeling much calmer.

Serotonin information courtesy of:  http://www.thelawofattraction.com

This is a great way to see where we can make some changes to maximise benefit into our own lives, track it by keeping some form of journal and regularly track your own progress.  When you review the past week/month/3 months and see how far you have actually come, its positively joyous and will give you a sense of accomplishment, achievement and most of all gratitude of all that you have put your mind to achieving.  I highly recommend making a start, even my taking on 1 of the above steps and see how you feel in a months time.

I would love to hear more from you about your experiences, your goals, and what you feel you have put your mind to and achieved.

So just to share with my plans and goals for the coming week, from the list above I have planned for the following:

–  a massage (booked for tomorrow)

–  regularly meditating (I aim to have about 20 minutes first thing in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening with some soft music playing in the background just to help me stay focused)

–  walking:  although it is cold and frosty in the morning, which can in turn be quite slippery, I leave my walks until around lunch time, especially on a sunny day, when I know I can go and walk safely and get some fresh air (regardless of how cold it is) and take in the beautiful scenery of the local streets and parks.

For now…….this is my great place to start.  Have  a great week x

If your thoughts are pure, it becomes easy to say what you think and do what you say!
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