How you can boost your levels of serotonin hormone

staying physically & mentally healthy during lockdown

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, essentially a messenger that carries electrical signals between neurons in your brain. What’s special about serotonin is that it’s the key hormone that helps to stabilise your mood, along with promoting general feelings of happiness and wellbeing!

It’s a powerful hormone that can affect your whole body, helping with many things such as better sleep, digestion and eating habits. An imbalance in serotonin levels can impact your mental health; contributing to mood swings, memory issues and making it harder to concentrate. 

Serotonin is special, there’s no denying that, which is why there are an increasing number of medications for serotonin imbalances. However, these prescriptions can vary in effectiveness from person to person and can have potential side-effects. We wanted to explore some natural ways to give your serotonin levels a boost and promote better winter wellness…

Exercise is effective

It’s no surprise that exercise is good for you, but did you know that regular exercise is actually one of the most effective ways of releasing more serotonin in the brain? Doing as little as 30 minutes of exercise daily can enhance your overall mood in a big way.

Studies have shown that long-term cardiovascular exercise can boost serotonin, which can then help to lower low-mood symptoms, and encourage feelings of calmness and happiness. There are a number of ideal exercises you can do to get your heart rate up and promote the release of more serotonin, including swimming, bicycling, jogging or just going for a brisk walk.

Get back to nature

This year especially has made things a lot more difficult when it comes to just getting out and about. Perhaps you’re working from home, or are currently furloughed, but it’s likely that you’ve spent longer indoors over the last few months. 

Well, making the effort to go outside even for just a short while each day can be hugely beneficial for your body and mind. In fact, as little as five minutes outdoors in a natural setting can release more serotonin, enhance your mood, improve motivation and boost your self-esteem. Sunlight exposure directly correlates with serotonin synthesis. So, head out for a walk when skies are clear and take andatage for the good of your well-being. 

Try something new

Your brain reacts differently to new experiences, releasing serotonin and dopamine too. Seeking out exciting new experiences is a great way to leave you feeling better, both physically and mentally. 

You may be limited right now, but you can still get into a new hobby from home, or even try some new recipes for cooking etc. The less familiar you are with the activity, the more likely your brain will reward you!

Be more mindful with meditation

Meditation is a great stress reduction technique, and can also help you to become more relaxed and focused at the same time. This is because it helps you to be more mindful, as it’s accompanied by breathing exercises, which allow you to focus your energy on the present. Meditation has been seen to increase the release of feel good hormones in the brain, creating feelings of inner peace – so take the time to meditate each day or every other day if you can. 

Focus on the food you’re eating

Nutrition is an essential part of your mental health. Things like coffee and sugary foods can quickly increase your serotonin and dopamine levels. However, as soon as you stop drinking or eating these, your levels of feel good hormone will soon plummet. It can actually take days for your brain to return to normal after having too much coffee or sugary foods, because your brain gets used to the high levels of neurotransmitters.

This is why eating foods that have a high nutritional value can be greatly beneficial. Especially food that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, as these boost serotonin levels without the withdrawal. Foods that are rich in omega-3, such as salmon, have been shown to help reduce the symptoms of depression. 

When it comes to keeping a nice balance of happiness inducing hormones in your body, opting for healthy, balanced meals is the way to go. Prep can help deliver nutritiously rich meals to your door, and you can check out our menu here.