What makes you happy? The answer to this question could be different for every one because happiness is relative. But one thing’s certain: Increasing your serotonin levels can boost your mood and keep you from sulking and wallowing because of a bad day. Most commonly known as the “happy hormone” serotonin does more than boost your mood. It also has other health benefits, which is why having more of this will make you happy and healthy at the same time. Here are ways to boost your serotonin levels:
- Eat some animal protein – Feelings of sadness oftentimes feel like they’re just in our heads. Sometimes when you feel bad, you think that your brain (or heart) is responsible but know that thoughts and feelings are more than that. These are results of physiological reactions that happen inside your body. An amino acid called tryptophan help produce serotonin so you can start feeling happy. Animal protein is an excellent source of tryptophan so include more chicken, fish, eggs, beef, dairy, even lamb in your diet. Whey and egg protein are scientifically-proven to increase this amino acid in the brain.
- Get out and enjoy the sun – Natural light have a positive effect on your mood. Sunlight triggers serotonin synthesis. The brighter sunlight you are exposed to, the more serotonin the body produces. This is a possible explanation why people feel gloomy on rainy weather.
- Get enough vitamin D – Vitamin D helps in converting tryptophan into serotonin. You can get this from sun exposure or taking supplements.
- Add more seafood to your diet – Cod liver oil and marine fat contain vitamin D and long-chain omega-3s that are helpful in boosting the serotonin production in the brain. Ample amounts will also help transport it to the neurons efficiently.
- Try some more curry – Curry has turmeric, which is considered as a potent anti-depressant. This natural mood-lifter helps increase serotonin in the brain.
- Perk up – There’s a reason why most people need coffee to jolt them out of lethargy. Caffeine, according to some research, has a positive effect on the levels of serotonin in the brain.
- Break some sweat – Exercise is known to be effective in increasing serotonin levels because motor neurons activated during physical activity boost the release of serotonin. Furthermore, regular exercise will spike tryptophan levels in the brain, which means more serotonin for you.
- Get a massage – When you lie down on the massage table, you feel happy not only because you finally got the chance to relax. You feel good and happy because massage therapy is scientifically-proven to reduce cortisol and increase happy hormones by as much as 28 percent.
- Munch on more nuts – Nuts contain tryptophan, so the more of these you eat, the happier you should be. Also, nuts can help prevent cancer, heart disease and respiratory ailments.
- Drink green tea – Drinking green tea is relaxing, no doubt. But it’s also good for the mood. It contains 1-theanine, an amino acid that boosts serotonin levels. It also has a powerful antioxidant that prevents brain damage.
Now that you know that there’s more to feeling happy, you can easily find ways to pull yourself out of a rut and start smiling.