Written by Cloé Vaz-Wiggins
Image by @palomija
Ok, this is a lifestyle! Being knowledgeable of what neurotransmitters or happiness chemicals are, their names, how they affect us and how they’re either produced or repressed in our bodies, is like having superpowers when it comes to the decisions you make towards your health and wellbeing. Knowing that you can always naturally self-regulate and make sure you’re looking after yourself and your body in a way that supports what it was built to do for you, is huge.
Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter; it can also be referred to as a chemical that communicates messages between the nerve cells in the brain and throughout our bodies. It plays a vital, a fundamental role in so many important body functions for our health and wellbeing, such as, our moods, digestion, bone health, sleep, emotions and a few more.
It’s also not something we talk about often between families or friends and definitely not mainstream. But here we do, so if you’re interested in learning more about it, dive into some research and take these tips with you.
How can you boost your serotonin production?
Sunshine, sunlight, the point is, the sun is your best, best friend
Spending time in the sun raises your serotonin levels, it’s important to stay protected and we’re big SPF huns – aren’t we – because protecting our skin and all, but it’s also important to get that direct exposure without sunblock. My personal suggestion, first thing in the morning, get those rays on your face and body.
I’m not sure about you, but I only found out about tryptophan when my sleep quality became a priority. I started doing some research on ways I could improve my sleep and learned that tryptophan is an amino acid found in most proteins. Our bodies also use tryptophan to assist in the making of melatonin, which in turn helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle. What’s relevant to what we’re diving into here, is knowing that tryptophan also helps the body to make serotonin. Our bodies might not absorb it well through the protein sources we ingest, so taking a supplemental version can really impact our serotonin production.
These are super important to explore and get familiar with. Our bodies need vitamin B6 to make tryptophan, which, as we now know, is required to make serotonin.
Our guts are the source to so many of the conditions, symptoms and states of our bodies. Amongst so many other things that are directly connected to our guts, majority of serotonin in the body is made – you guessed it – in the gut. Probiotics are essential and help to balance out the gut and support the absorption of vitamins and nutrients from different foods and supplements we ingest.
Honestly, it’s kind of funny how it’s so clear that moving our bodies is the greatest privilege and also the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Exercising raises our serotonin levels amongst so many other benefits. Cardio is said to be ideal, even though all types or forms or exercises raise our serotonin levels. Whichever that is for you, moving your body every day, whatever that day looks like to you, is imperative. A must.
Massages are an amazing way to boost your serotonin levels, they’re able to decrease cortisol (known as the stress hormone) and increase serotonin levels as it helps you and your body calm down and in turn, regulates your mood.
Gratitude and spending time with your loved ones
And lastly, but definitely not least, they both enhance and boost your serotonin levels, they also have so many other benefits not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. When you feel safe, empowered and supported, you experience feelings of empathy, confidence and togetherness that honestly, are all that you need to be the best version of yourself you possibly can.