4 Ways to Improve Your Mood Naturally
Are you feeling anxious, depressed and unhappy? Do you crave carbs and binge eat? Maybe you have sleep issues and feel angry and irritable throughout the day. If this sounds like you, you may be suffering from serotonin deficiency.
Serotonin plays many important roles in the brain’s biochemistry and is intimately involved in maintaining an upbeat mood, regulating your appetite, boosting self-confidence, and sustaining the body’s sleep cycles.
Unfortunately, far too many people don’t naturally produce enough serotonin. In fact, women produce 52% less serotonin than men. Inadequate serotonin is linked to depression, mood issues, negative behaviors, unhealthy sleep patterns, and many other physical and mental problems.
A couple of ways to naturally boost your serotonin include:
1) Vitamin D.
Ensuring that you get enough Vit D by making sure that you get 10-30 minutes of sunlight each day. Vitamin D helps maintain your body’s natural sleep cycle by converting serotonin to melatonin, the main sleep hormone. If you can’t get out in the light, consider purchasing a light box or taking 1000-4000 mg of Vit D in supplement form.
2) Improve Your Gut Health.
It’s estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract. If you are eating a poor diet that doesn’t support good gut health, you are reducing the amount of serotonin production in your body. Eating foods rich in probiotics (think kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha), as well as foods high in l-tryptophan such as pumpkin and chia seeds, grass-fed meats, free-range poultry, wild caught salmon, eggs, edamame, and spinach can support the brain’s serotonin needs.
3) Get Consistent, Good Sleep.
Often, people with mood disorders have sleep issues. Some simple sleep hacks are to avoid watching TV or looking at devices about an hour prior to bed. The blue light from these modern devices stops the production of melatonin which helps you fall and stay asleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night to function at your best.
4) Reduce Your Stress.
Stress totally messes with your brain and can damage the neurons that produce serotonin. Additionally, stress causes inflammation in your body, which is bad news for your mental and physical health. Make sure to prioritize your self-care and other stress-reduction tactics which can go a long way in helping your brain and body work at its peak.
If your issues persist, consider talking to your doctor or seeking a mental health professional who can offer other science-backed ways to improve your mood.
Connect with author, Cindy Shaw. Learn more about her company Headways Performance Group.