Feeling down? Here's how to naturally boost your serotonin levels

·3 min read
Feeling down? Here's how to naturally boost your serotonin levels

Maybe it's all the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, the lack of sunshine, or maybe you're just yearning for warmer weather. Whatever the reason, if you need a pick-me-up, here are a few simple ways to boost your levels of serotonin — a neurotransmitter that's linked to happiness.

ENJOY THE SUN WHEN YOU CAN

Winter can be dark and dreary, and this can contribute to a condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

Part of the reason we tend to feel down is due to a lack of sunlight, which helps with the production of serotonin.

Lack of sunlight exposure can also affect our quality of sleep, which can leave us feeling groggy in the morning.

Get your serotonin spike: Try to get outside when the sun is shining, even if it's only for a few minutes. But remember: sunburns are possible at any time of year so be sure to wear sunscreen.

If the sun refuses to make an appearance in your area, consider investing in a sunlamp or taking a Vitamin D supplement.

MAKE A SPLASH

An October 2019 study of 26,000 people found people living closer to England's coast have better mental health than people who live away from the water -- so if you're feeling blue, consider some time by your favourite lake, ocean, or river.

But if the water is frozen, don't walk on it, because ice can be increasingly unstable this time of year.

The paper, published in the journal Health & Place, found people who live less than a kilometre from the ocean are 22 per cent less likely to report depression and anxiety, compared with people who live 30 km from the water.

Researchers say being near the water can promote physical activity and fitness and can lower heart rate and blood pressure due to its proven calming effect.

Get your serotonin spike: If you aren't near any large bodies of water, you can still enjoy some of its benefits. Consider taking a relaxing bath, or heading online to find audio recordings of the sound of water, which is also known to have a calming effect.

VIDEO: THE CALMING EFFECTS OF WATER

HIKES AND WALKS

If the sun isn't shining and there's no water to be found, there are still health benefits associated with being out in nature.

Going for a hike in a wooded area has calming effects -- just make sure you're dressed for the conditions and have the proper gear with you.

"Many of us have heard that nature is good for us, but what many people don't know is there is an increase in research that tells us it actually changes things like our biochemistry and our brain chemistry in a positive way," psychologist Joti Samra tells The Weather Network.

"Our blood pressure is reduced, our heart rate slows down, and we are more present, which all offers positive impacts on our life."

VIDEO: SPRING HIKING SAFETY TIPS

Thumbnail image courtesy: Getty.

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