Are you feeling happy, content and at ease with yourself and your life?
If not (or if not enough), then you are probably deficient in serotonin.
Sero-what? Well, if you remember, we talked about this in a previous article about the 2 main neurotransmitters which influence your behavior and basically determine your quality of life.
One of those neurotransmitters is dopamine, which we talked about in an earlier article – and why it is so important that you keep high levels of dopamine for motivation, determination and feeling energetic enough to do great work.
Today I would like to expose the other side of neurotransmitters – the more “happy” and “enjoy life” part. Dopamine is more about action, doing and achieving – while serotonin is more about enjoying life, relaxing and kicking back.
Like any other thing in life, the most important goal here is to balance them out. If you push yourself too hard and too much (which means that you are over-producing dopamine) then it is only a matter of time until you burn out or you will grow frustrated, tired and grumpy. In short, you will become a time bomb that’s about to explode any minute now. This can accurately describe most of the working population, because we are so used to achieving and doing that we take little time for ourselves and our wellbeing.
On the other hand, if you “take it easy” too much or “lay back” excessively, then your motivation and drive are sure to suffer, as your productivity – all due to too high serotonin levels. You see, the most interesting part about these two neurotransmitters is that if you produce too much serotonin (the “feel good” chemical or the “laid back” neurotransmitter) then dopamine levels are lowered. Interestingly enough, if you think about it, that’s how nature created us to self-regulate. For example, if you have been on a successful hunt and ate well, slept and relaxed, then you would be less likely to go hunting again because your dopamine levels would be much lower.
Again, life is a game of balance. Err too much on either side (and for too long) and the other areas in your life (and the other neurotransmitter) will diminish in importance.
Maintaining high enough levels of serotonin is very important for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Here are the best 5 ways to do so, naturally and in the healthiest way possible…
Serotonin Boosting Activity #1 – Get Some Sun
Sun exposure is not what we have been led to believe. It’s true, excessive exposure might be dangerous – but so is excessive exposure to any other natural element. The truth is that most of us are deficient in vitamin D, which is a very important vitamin (which acts as a hormone as well) regulating numerous systems in our body, which is produced when we are exposed to sunlight.
Getting some sun is not only great for enhancing dopamine levels (which means increased motivation, drive and action) but it also means increasing serotonin levels (which means you will also be happier and more content).
It’s a win-win, right? Plus, studies have shown that employees who are content are much more productive as well. Go out there, get some sun and see for yourself how much better you will feel – even if it is for just 5 minutes.
Serotonin Boosting Activity #2 – Have A Tasty Meal
Eating a good meal will skyrocket our serotonin levels and will make us much happier and relaxed afterwards.
I am not talking just about tasty foods – it should be a carbohydrate-rich meal as well. That is because serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is built with the building blocks from carbohydrates – which makes it really important that you make them a priority in your diet.
However, in order to not over-indulge in them, I suggest you only them once per day and usually in the evening. This way you will also train your mind to feel rewarded at the end of the day when you have already worked hard and achieved whatever you wanted. Plus, putting off rewards will increase your willpower as well!
Green veggies such as spinach, broccoli, as well as legumes such as lentils, buckwheat and beans are great natural sources of the building blocks for serotonin – which will also keep your carbohydrate intake low and in normal ranges (which can help you in weight loss as well).
Bananas, pineapples, kiwis, plums and tomatoes are delicious fruit which boost serotonin as well.
Serotonin Boosting Activity #3 – Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is important both for improving dopamine levels and boosting serotonin production as well.
That’s because during sleep your brain self-regulates and basically “restarts” itself for a new, challenging day. If you don’t get enough sleep you will be ill-equipped for the following day, which increases the chances of making more mistakes, being groggy, lowering productivity and so on.
If you prioritize sleep you will notice that all the other things in your life will be better. Try it and you will see.
Serotonin Boosting Activity #4 – Meditate Regularly
Meditation has been shown to boost both dopamine and serotonin levels. This means that not only meditation makes you happier but it can make you more productive and determined as well.
Start with just 5 uninterrupted minutes per day, with no music and no distractions, and you will be able to take back your attention and your willpower – along with a greater sense of wellbeing, peace and calm.
Serotonin Boosting Activity #5 – Have Some Chocolate
Chocolate is fantastic both for boosting dopamine levels as well as boosting serotonin levels. Science doesn’t yet fully understand why chocolate is so satisfying but what we are sure about is that chocolate contains complex molecules which boost the brain’s capacity to produce these two neurotransmitters.
However, I am not talking about “regular” chocolate – make sure you avoid the sugar-laden supermarket chocolate and instead eat dark chocolate (with at least 85% cocoa) or drink a hot cocoa made with cocoa powder.
Want to feel happier, more content and productive? Then implement these strategies – and if you are also motivated to be part of an exciting company working in a fantastic team, Tribehired is here for you – we can help you achieve that dream.