Serotonin is a chemical in your body that impacts every part of you, from your emotions to your motor skills. It’s considered a natural mood stabilizer that also helps with sleeping, eating, and digestion. So, when your serotonin levels are normal, you feel happy, calm, more focused, less anxious, and more emotionally stable, but when those levels are a bit off, you can start to feel off balanced and unstable. We’ve got a few mood-boosting tips that you can try simply by increasing the level of serotonin in your body.
Testing for Serotonin Levels
If you’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, your care team may have given you a blood test to measure serotonin levels in your blood. If you are taking an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), it means your body needs help increasing your levels of serotonin. That’s also why it’s important to take it as prescribed and ask your care team or pharmacist about any new medications (even over-the-counter and supplements) to make sure nothing interferes with your SSRI.
How can I boost my own serotonin levels naturally?
Besides SSRIs, there are other scientifically proven ways to boost serotonin levels naturally. According to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, here are some ways you can boost your serotonin levels (none of which should be used to as a replacement for taking any depression medication you have been prescribed):
01 Increase your exposure to sunlight. Bright sunlight improves serotonin production and keeps the serotonin transporter from sucking it away (which is also one thing that antidepressants do).
02 Get a massage. A massage can boost your serotonin by as much as 30 percent. It also decreases stress hormones and raises dopamine levels.
03 Get moving! Regular exercise increases both serotonin production and release. Aerobic exercises, like running and biking, are best at boosting serotonin. Exercise also helps reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga works too!
04 Eat healthily. Eggs, cheese, turkey, nuts, salmon, tofu, and pineapple are all serotonin-boosting foods.
05 Meditate. Meditation relieves stress. Anything you can do to relieve stress and promote a positive outlook is going to greatly increase your serotonin levels.
06 Remember the good times. The simple act of remembering positive events that have happened in your life works two ways. It increases serotonin production and also keeps you from thinking about negative events.
Serotonin is a necessary and natural part of your body that helps you get through the day. If you have an imbalance, that’s going to impact everything. Pay attention to your body and what it needs and ask your health care team about more ways to boost your mood.