With a bright outlook and good mood, it’s easy to feel like you’re walkin’ on sunshine, but did you know a good mood is good for your health? It’s no secret that feeling good makes life go more smoothly. What you may not know is there is a link between one’s mood and physical health.
Our mood can be easily affected by hearing good news, or by a friend sharing a funny video with us, but there’s a chemical component as well. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects our mood, as well as our sleep, appetite, blood circulation, and memory by way of nerve cells throughout the body. Interestingly enough, serotonin is most principally found in the digestive system. A major way to regulate levels of serotonin is through the stomach and diet.
Because of its vast responsibilities, managing serotonin levels is an important part of wellness. Low serotonin levels can bring on irritability, irregularity in bowel movements, nausea, and muscle stiffness. Those with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue can be subjected to greater physical effects and pain as a result of low serotonin. Encompassing so many body processes, good serotonin maintenance can be an easy way to achieve total wellness.
Here are a few ways to work on your own serotonin levels:
1. Diet: Serotonin isn’t something you can look for in the Nutritional Value label on your food, but tryptophan is an amino-acid from food that has a direct relation to serotonin levels. The name may conjure images of thanksgiving turkey and a subsequent food coma but tryptophan is not a “sleepy-time” tactic as much as we are led to believe. It can promote healthy sleep, which is an area serotonin has a hand in. Eggs, nuts, salmon, pineapple, and leafy greens are just a few examples of foods that can supply your brain with the biological materials to affect your mood.
2. Exercise: How many times have we found exercise linked to wellness levels? Aerobic exercises, or those targeted at using oxygen and blood circulation, are the best for elevating one’s mood. It increases the production of tryptophan and reduces the production of other amino acids. Just 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day, can be enough to help boost your mood!
3. Sleep: Check out our article on sleep for techniques to try, so you can wake up on the right side of the bed (even if you aren’t a morning person).
4. Sunlight: This might be harder to get during the winter months, but the body can produce serotonin with sunlight through the skin. Research in 2013 found that 10-15 minutes of sunlight is enough for the body to work with, just don’t forget your sunscreen!
5. Mood induction: Your favorite show, a funny meme, or thinking of a happy memory can all be extremely good for your mood. For better sleep we know to limit tv an hour before bed. Consider meditating on good times you’ve had with loved ones or times that you’ve experienced real euphoria, while going to sleep.This can be especially helpful to those struggling with negative thoughts that seem to purvey with anxiety and depression.
6. CBD: CBD can mimic serotonin and not only help with mood, but also help the body with serotonin’s other responsibilities and protect our natural endocannabinoid levels, further supplementing the level of serotonin.
Feeling good is a simple and easy path to wellness. Maintaining serotonin levels is important in managing diet, sleep, and health and enhancing our mood. Research has even found a connection between general mood and life expectancy. Happiness is out there, and you have the right to enjoy life.