Serotonin levels are important to good health. When they are too low, then it can be difficult to get the right amount of rest every night.
Over time, the fatigue begins to build up and affect a person’s overall health. It can also create instability within a person’s mental processes and increase the chances of depression, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders developing.
If you are feeling fatigued, then there are several ways to increase serotonin levels naturally so that the negative feelings can go away. Here are some of the best ways that have been proven to work time and time again.
#1. Let yourself experience sunshine every day
Did you know that serotonin levels are affected by the amount of sunlight that you receive?
If you aren’t stepping outside to enjoy some sunshine, then you could be affected by low serotonin levels and the increased risks of that condition.
Give yourself 60 minutes of sunshine every day and you’ll naturally increase the levels of serotonin throughout your body.
If you live somewhere that has more cloudy days than sunshine days, you can still get sunlight. Purchase a 300 watt light bulb and then place yourself within 3 feet of it for 20 minutes, 3x per day.
This won’t replace sunshine, but it’s a pretty good alternative.
When you’re feeling tired and down, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to get some exercise. Even just 20 minutes of exercise, however, can improve your mood and your serotonin levels.
The exercise also has a secondary benefit: it limits the cravings for sweets AND it is an effective way to cope with stressful emotions.
Most people with low serotonin aren’t going to jog 3 miles on a treadmill or spend an hour on a stationary bicycle. You could, however, spend 15 minutes dancing to your favorite songs.
Taking a walk around the block can be beneficial. If you’ve got a tablet, put on one of your favorite shows and just walk in circles around the house if need be.
#3. Think about your eating habits
There are certain foods that drive serotonin levels through the floor. There are also certain foods that drive serotonin levels through the ceiling.
Simple carbohydrates raise blood sugar quickly, which increases insulin outputs and suppresses the serotonin. White breads, anything that is a pastry, and semolina pasta are also big contributors to serotonin issues.
Look for long digesting carbs, like oatmeal, brown rice, and high fiber foods to give you a serotonin boost.
#4. Lay off the coffee
Caffeine suppresses serotonin production. Although you will feel better at first when you have a cup of coffee [or an energy drink on a really bad day], you’ll pay a price in your serotonin levels later on.
Regular caffeine consumption actually creates an adrenal dependency on the stimulant that will further lower serotonin levels.
If you can’t lay off the caffeine completely, then only have a coffee, a soda, or an energy drink when you’re eating something.
There are a number of medications that have caffeine in them as well. If you’re taking a painkiller, you could be putting in an entire soda’s worth of caffeine into your body.
Look for alternatives if possible to avoid the caffeine and over time your body will heal and serotonin levels will rise.
#5. Timing is everything
If you want to know how to increase serotonin levels naturally, then knowing when to eat is almost as important as the foods that you are eating.
Instead of having three large meals at specific times in the day, consider breaking them up into 5 smaller meals. This will limit the high carb, sugary snacks that tend to be eaten between the meals.
It also limits hunger, encourages weight loss, and naturally boosts serotonin levels.
The body gets more consistent energy throughout the day with this type of eating, so caffeine cravings may be reduced.
If you’re not seeing many benefits with this change, then make a proactive effort to remove all white starches. This includes potatoes.
You’ll feel better, but you’ll also have to stick to the new eating habits to keep getting serotonin benefits.
#6. Natural serotonin supplements may also help
If you’re looking to enhance the serotonin levels that you already have, then certain herbal supplements may help to make better use of what you already have.
Here are some of the top supplements to consider.
- St. John’s Wort: Even the National Institutes of Health are looking at this herbal supplement as a way to treat depression. Early research indicates that it may block nerve receptors that would absorb serotonin. This allows for serotonin levels to increase because the current supply isn’t being over-utilized.
- Ginseng: Siberian ginseng in particular appears to balance out serotonin levels very rapidly. It also affects the neurotransmitters in the mind, such as dopamine, so people are able to feel more like themselves. The better balance brings about mood stability and an enhanced mental alertness that is comparable to caffeine intake.
- Kava: Although research is limited, people in the Pacific region have used it to treat depression and anxiety for generations. It is believed to help stabilize serotonin levels.
- Cannabis: High levels of marijuana can be detrimental to serotonin levels, but small amounts can actually increase serotonin levels. Just remember that it isn’t legal for recreational purposes except for a few places on the planet [increasing serotonin levels doesn’t qualify for medical use], so take this supplemental option at your own risk.
#7. Have a great massage
Cortisol, which is a hormone that is produced when stress levels are high, naturally reduces serotonin levels. If exercise isn’t an option to help reduce stress, then consider having a massage.
A therapeutic massage enhances blood flow rates throughout the body and helps it to process the cortisol more effectively. In return, serotonin levels naturally increase.
Massage also helps with a number of potentially linked health conditions that could be contributing to low serotonin levels.
Migraines, hypertension, and even joint pain can all be relieved under the hands of a skilled masseuse. If you want to know how to increase serotonin levels, then look for this kind of relief on a regular basis.
#8. Pick an alternative to meditation
People who pray regularly in any religious or spiritual practice have naturally higher levels of serotonin.
Those who practice Yoga in physical or spiritual ways also have higher levels of serotonin on a regular basis.
Even if you only have 2 minutes right now, a few deep breathing exercises in that 120 seconds can help to balance you out.
#9. Get involved with a hobby that you enjoy
Did you know that personal joy has a direct impact on serotonin levels?
If you have a hobby that you are passionate about, then your serotonin levels begin to level out whenever you are engaged in a favorite activity. Painting, writing, or even playing video games can all give serotonin levels a quick boost.
The boosts that people receive from doing a hobby are temporary. Once the fun goes away, the balanced serotonin levels go away as well.
Make sure that you use this particular method with other serotonin enhancers and stabilizers. If you don’t, the peaks and valleys that are experienced may be more bothersome than just having persistently low serotonin levels.
#10. Recall a happy moment in life
Sometimes a serotonin boost can happen just by reliving a happy memory. Have you ever had a random thought that led you to a fun time you had?
Did the muscles in your body relax just a little as a smile crept up on your face? That’s because the serotonin levels in your body are balancing out.
When low serotonin levels are making it a struggle to do anything else but stay miserable, you can still give yourself a small boost even if you can’t remember a happy time.
Pull out a photo album and visually look at the memories that were made. These pictures can trigger the joyful memories and begin raising serotonin levels.
Even something as simple as pulling up an old Facebook album of pictures can have the same effect.
#11. Establish a regular pattern of sleep
The internal clock of your body, its circadian rhythms, can disrupt serotonin production when they are themselves disrupted.
This is why parents of young children have higher levels of depression, mood disorders, and other mental health issues.
Their sleeping patterns are off, which means their serotonin levels are off, and when that’s combined with the higher levels of stress with young children around, a recipe for disaster begins to develop.
You replicate these problems by going to bed at different times every night.
Sleeping in on the weekend might sound like a great idea, but it actually drops your serotonin levels.
The same is true if you stay up and party the night away on a Friday. Every disruption to your sleeping habits will also disrupt your serotonin production.
It’s better to establish a regular routine and get up at 6am every day, including on a Saturday, rather than allow yourself to sleep in.
There aren’t many people up on a Saturday morning that early, so you’ve got the perfect time to take a quiet, relaxing walk to further boost and balance your serotonin levels.
#12. Find a place of contentment
We all have great times where we seem to be on top of the world. We also all have bad times where it seems like we’re in the darkest moments of our lives.
In those dark times, serotonin levels are typically at their lowest as well, but there is one exception to that rule: when contentment is being experienced.
Being content means more than just accepting life’s circumstances, no matter what they might be. It also means finding a way to be thankful in all things, including tragedy.
That might seem to be an impossible task some days, but a logical look at life can really help.
Is there a roof over your head? Is there food in your belly? In grief, was there joy that a now missing soul was able to bring into your life on a consistent basis?
When all life is approached as a celebratory event, depleted serotonin levels can become replenished.
There can even be joy found in grief because it is evidence of life itself. Every day has something to celebrate, even when there has been great tragedy.
Find that perfect moment, celebrate it, and you’ll know how to increase serotonin levels naturally.
#13. Focus on love
There is some ancient advice about love that is still very applicable today. Love is an emotion that is more than just kind – it is patient.
Love continues to endure because it forgives first, forgives often, and thinks nothing of itself.
Love seeks to serve others before it seeks to serve itself. Love doesn’t fail because love finds success and joy when others are able to achieve great things.
This type of attitude is not only reflective of every major religion, but is also a key component of meditation.
Specifically it is the foundation of loving kindness meditation. People can be stupid and frustrating. You can run into someone at the grocery store that is so irritating that it seems like your entire day is ruined.
Spend 20 minutes in loving kindness meditation and actively think of the wellbeing of others, including that irritating individual at the grocery store, and your serotonin levels will increase dramatically.
Focusing on love means focusing on personal balance. If you are unbalanced, then your love is unbalanced. If your emotions are unbalanced, then your serotonin levels are unbalanced as well.
#14. Raise serotonin levels by taking a mental health day
If you are having a tough stretch at work, then it will impact your serotonin levels. Although you can’t always control your work loads, you can control how much work you decide to take on during the day.
Sometimes taking a mental health day can eliminate the burden that is felt on one’s shoulders to the point that they’re able to find their serotonin stability.
There is a difference, however, between taking time for yourself and taking time to run away from a problem.
Running away from stress [figuratively, not literally] might give a temporary boost to your serotonin levels, but only until you stop avoiding the situation.
Once you stop running, the stress slams you and your serotonin disappears.
Be proactive in fighting against difficult situations. Take a mental health day to create plans that you can follow to navigate through tough times.
Use that momentary lack of stress to rejuvenate, refresh, and recover. Your serotonin levels will do the same thing.
#15. Increase the amount of alpha waves that are in the brain
An increase in alpha waves is directly attributed to an increase in serotonin levels.
All you’ve got to do to increase your alpha waves is to close your eyes. Fatigue, sleep, and having one’s eyes open are all associated with reduced alpha waves.
REM sleep is associated with alpha waves, but the purpose of them is not yet understood.
This means the key to having an increase in alpha waves is to sit back, relax, and take a few deep breaths. Consider light meditation.
Programs by iAwake Technologies help to contribute to an enhancement of alpha waves as well. There are several series that are available that use neural and biofield entrainment to bring the mind to a state where it can create more serotonin naturally.
Considering how easy iAwake Technologies products are to use and how affordable they are, this is easily a top solution to the problem of low serotonin levels.
One of the most unique programs in the iAwake arsenal is their Harmonic Resonance Meditation program. It focuses on all brainwaves, but also allows users to specifically target their alpha waves when needed.
The returns are profound. You feel more calm and centered. There’s a sense of stillness that can be seen in the world. Some even say they feel closer to God or their preferred deity in the 15 minutes they use the program.
Here’s the bottom line: your habits could be decreasing your serotonin levels. The result is an inevitable negative spiral that can lead to mental health concerns.
Your habits can also put a stop to this negative spiral very quickly. Follow these tips and you’ll know how to increase serotonin levels naturally whenever you feel a void beginning to appear.
The results? A life that feels happier, more rewarding, and is extremely fulfilling.