It’s natural for us as human beings to experience a dip in mood once in a while. It may be because something bad has happened in your life, but sometimes you just feel like a moody teenager for no reason at all.
Well, there is an actual reason.
Scientifically speaking, a person becomes cranky when the serotonin levels in their body drop. Serotonin is known as the “happy hormone” and is a brain chemical primarily produced in the digestive tract. It has a surprising amount of power on our bodies, influencing things like memory, appetite, sleeping habits, and body temperature. It also affects a person’s emotions and mood. Again, this could be due to a troubling time in a person’s life or because of other factors regarding food and lifestyle that you didn’t even know could affect the way you feel.
Here are a few ways to increase your serotonin levels and lift your mood without the need for any drugs whatsoever.
Exercise is one of the ultimate mood boosters. It might be a little difficult to initially muster up the motivation to get up and be active when you’re already feeling down, but it won’t take long before you’re serotonin levels are up. Make it an everyday routine and you’re body will get ready for it like clockwork.
All you need is a 20-minute workout everyday to boost those happy hormones, and you’ll also get fit. Also make sure to pick a workout that you enjoy; going through an exercise routine that you hate doesn’t exactly sound like it would help make you feel better, does it?
2. Hey There, Sunshine
You know how sometime when its cloudy and wet all day, you feel like the weather represents your mood? Well, that’s not a trick, the weather really does affect your brain’s chemistry!
It is the loss of sunlight that is making you feel down – and its even got a name: seasonal affective disorder. The amount of exposure you’re getting to sunlight can directly affect your serotonin levels, and going out into the sun is one of the fastest ways to lift your mood. A good way to get your daily dose of sunlight is by taking a walk in the morning. This way, you’re getting two birds with one stone – sunlight and exercise!
3. Massage Therapy
Who doesn’t love the sound of a massage? Another great way to lift your mood is to get a massage, because it just makes you feel good. Stress is one of the reasons why you feel moody and it can increase the cortisol (the “unhappy” stress hormone) in your body. A massage helps you by significantly reducing cortisol levels and producing serotonin. There’s even been research that proves that massages are good for your mood!
4. Destress Your Life
Stress is something that obviously worsens your mood, and if you want to feel better, you need to get rid of it. As we saw already, massage is a great way to do that, but that’s only a short-term solution. If you don’t make some changes in your lifestyle, the happy high is unlikely to last. Identify what aspect of your life is causing you to pull at your hairs, and shift things around as much as possible. Relentless job? Start applying for others. Unhealthy relationship? Break it off!
5. Eat Your Feelings Away
No, we don’t mean to sit on your couch and empty an entire packet of Oreos. That’s not going to help. What we do mean is that you should start eating foods that naturally boost serotonin levels. Some of the things that have been found to have this effect include plums, pineapples, tomatoes, and nuts. Spices like turmeric and saffron are also known to be powerful antidepressants, so you might want to start eating more Indian or Spanish food!
6. Get Fishy
Seafood is another great source of happiness. Yes, it’s absolutely delicious and you should feel happy just eating it but that’s not all. Research has actually found that omega-3 fatty acids that are present in oily fish actually help the brain to produce more serotonin and help it transmit it across the neurons more evenly. If you don’t particularly like fish, you could also get your dose of omega-3 fatty acids through natural supplements like cod liver oil capsules.
7. Sort Out Your Carbohydrates
You don’t need to cut out carbs entirely from your diet – in fact, you shouldn’t! But it is important to figure out what kind of carbs are entering your bloodstream. While simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, potatoes, and pastries are also known to increase serotonin levels (which is why eating them makes us feel so good), they also end up increasing your blood sugar by producing excess insulin because they are full of refined sugars. Needless to say, this isn’t ideal. That’s why you should opt for complex carbohydrates like blueberries, apples, garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, etc.
8. Emotional Healing & Meditation
Obviously, to lead a happier life, you’ll need a healthy body and mind. If there has been an unfortunate incident in your life or you’ve been hurt by something, take the time to deal with it instead of bottling your emotions.
Consider taking up meditation, and not just for the time being either. A study conducted at John Hopkins University found that regular meditation can lower blood pressure and increase serotonin levels. Meditation is a great way to slow down from our hectic lives that have our brains spinning on wheels 24/7 and clear it. Kind of like clearing the cache on your phone or laptop!