I have been on hiatus for some time now. In that time, I have really been focusing on self-care and stress management.
This pandemic has been doing a number on my overall well-being, which I am sure many of you can relate to. I am keeping my head above water, but not really thriving fully in the ways that I desire. Working from home, along with motherhood sometimes feels like a disastrous experiment of work-life balance. Nonetheless, I am getting better at managing my overall well-being.
One of the major components in your wellness is serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain, and is responsible for regulating your mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. It also helps regulate appetite, sleeping and digestion.
Increasing serotonin requires no grand gestures, but small repetitive acts that become habits. Here are 4 ways to boost serotonin and your overall well-being:
1. Go for long walks outside
There is nothing better than communing with nature. The quiet, the stillness and the solitude have a way of clearing the mind of all the clutter. When done well, a long walk gives you an opportunity to let your mind float, and just really immerse in what can feel like a moment to exhale. Psychologists…suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout. If a short walk has such a great benefit, imagine the benefits of longer walks. Bask in nature. Enjoy a great view if you’re lucky enough and savor living in the moment.
Exercise promotes health throughout the body and is also shown to increase brain serotonin function, increasing overall mood. The experience of fatigue during exercise is associated with elevated brain tryptophan and serotonin synthesis. Physical exertion also acts as a distraction from stressors. Whether it’s brisk walking, jogging, or even swimming, whatever way you choose to exercise serves as a way to activate the production of serotonin.
3. Enjoy some bright light
Exposure to bright light is another approach to increasing serotonin. A few studies suggest that bright light is an effective treatment for nonseasonal depression. There was also a positive correlation between serotonin synthesis and the hours of sunlight on the day the measurements were made, independent of season. Regardless of whether it’s a cloudy or sunny day, light exposure from the outdoors is truly beneficial to improving your mood.
4. Meditate and visualize
Meditation can be life changing for those who choose to practice. The good thing is that you do not have to be an expert at the practice, to reap the benefits of its serotonin boosting effect. Changing your mood can be difficult to shift sometimes, but something as simple as redirecting your thoughts from a place of stress to a positive experience can do the trick. Visualizing a happy moment, a place or a person that induces positive thoughts is a great way to increased the levels of serotonin in the brain. Add some deep breathing and you’re now in your happy place.
Try to make these four strategies a part of your daily life. and see the transformation.
What do you do to improve your mood?