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How to increase serotonin: 7 natural strategies to improve your overall well-being






Serotonin and the effects on well-being


Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a critical role in regulating our mood, sleep, appetite, other bodily functions, and overall well-being. It is often referred to as the "feel-good" hormone because it helps to create a sense of happiness and well-being. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to several mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and even some eating disorders. Make sure to check this blog out in order to learn more about what serotonin is. However, if you find yourself asking how to increase serotonin levels, keep reading.


While medications are available to increase serotonin levels, there are also natural ways to boost serotonin production. Many of these methods involve lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly, getting enough sunlight, eating a healthy diet, and practicing mindfulness and meditation. These habits not only boost serotonin levels but also contribute to overall physical and mental well-being.


By incorporating these natural methods into our daily routine, we can help regulate our mood and improve our overall quality of life. It's important to remember that boosting serotonin levels naturally may take time and patience, but the benefits are worth it. In this blog, we will explore how to increase serotonin levels in your body and feel the improvement both mentally and physically. Here are 7 tips on how to increase serotonin levels:


1) Exercise Regularly


Exercise is one of the most effective ways to increase serotonin levels naturally. When we exercise, our body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that trigger positive feelings and reduce pain. In addition to endorphins, exercise also stimulates the release of other neurotransmitters, including serotonin.


Studies have shown that regular exercise can increase serotonin levels in the brain, leading to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. One study published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience found that participants who engaged in regular exercise had increased serotonin transporter binding, which is a marker of serotonin activity in the brain.


It's important to note that the type and intensity of exercise can affect serotonin levels. Aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, is particularly effective at boosting serotonin production. However, even light to moderate exercise, such as walking or yoga, can be beneficial.


Incorporating exercise into our daily routine can be challenging, but there are several ways to make it more manageable. Finding an exercise buddy or joining a fitness class can provide motivation and accountability. Additionally, setting achievable goals and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of our workouts can help us build a consistent exercise routine.


Regular exercise is an effective way to increase serotonin levels naturally. It not only benefits our mental health but also has numerous physical health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health and weight management. By making exercise a priority in our daily routine, we can reap the rewards of improved mood and overall well-being.


Here is a list of exercises that have been shown to increase serotonin levels:

  1. Running: Running is a great way to increase serotonin levels because it is a form of aerobic exercise that raises the heart rate and stimulates the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters.

  2. Cycling: Like running, cycling is a form of aerobic exercise that can boost serotonin production.

  3. Swimming: Swimming is another form of aerobic exercise that has been shown to increase serotonin levels.

  4. Dancing: Dancing is a fun and social way to get moving and increase serotonin production.

  5. Yoga: While yoga is not an aerobic exercise, it has been shown to increase serotonin levels through its focus on deep breathing and relaxation.

  6. Weight lifting: Weight lifting can also increase serotonin levels, as it involves resistance training that can stimulate the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters.

  7. Interval training: Interval training involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest or low-intensity exercise. This type of workout has been shown to increase endorphins and other neurotransmitters, including serotonin.

It's worth noting that any type of physical activity can be beneficial for increasing serotonin levels, alongside for mental health and physical health. Alongside these exercises, even low-intensity activities like walking or gardening can help increase serotonin in your body. The key is to find an exercise routine that you enjoy and can stick with consistently. By incorporating regular exercise into your routine, you can help boost serotonin levels and improve your overall mood and well-being. As regular exercise becomes a habit, serotonin levels in your body will be consistently higher. You can use habit tracking apps such as Insumo, which can help you make exercise a regular habit and boost your overall well-being.


2) Get Enough Sunlight


Getting enough sunlight is another natural way to increase serotonin levels. Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, which plays an essential role in serotonin production. Studies have shown that people with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Sunlight exposure triggers the release of serotonin in the brain, which can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.


One reason why sunlight is effective at boosting serotonin production is that it helps regulate the body's internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. Exposure to sunlight during the day can help regulate the circadian rhythm and improve sleep, which in turn can increase serotonin levels.


While the amount of sunlight needed to increase serotonin levels can vary depending on factors such as skin tone and geographic location, it is generally recommended to get at least 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight exposure per day. It's important to note that excessive exposure to sunlight can also have negative effects on health, including an increased risk of skin cancer.


For those who live in areas with limited sunlight or have difficulty getting outside, there are other ways to increase sunlight exposure. One option is to use a light therapy box, which mimics the effects of natural sunlight and has been shown to increase serotonin levels.


It's also important to note that some medications, such as certain types of antidepressants, can make individuals more sensitive to sunlight. In these cases, it's important to speak with a healthcare provider before increasing sunlight exposure.


Here is what Tista Ray mentioned about sunlight, and how it impacts the body and your overall well-being:


Quote about the sun: "When Sun shines, it not only brightens our day; it enlightens us, our soul, cleansing it of the gloominess that the night's darkness had brought in."  - Tista Ray
Quote from Tista Ray about the sun


In conclusion, getting enough sunlight is an effective way to increase serotonin levels naturally. By spending time outdoors or using a light therapy box, we can help regulate our circadian rhythm, improve sleep, and boost serotonin production, leading to improved mood and overall well-being.


3) Eat a Healthy Diet


Eating a healthy diet is another way to increase serotonin levels naturally. Serotonin is made from an amino acid called tryptophan, which is found in protein-rich foods. When we consume tryptophan, it is converted to serotonin in the brain, leading to increased levels of the neurotransmitter.


In addition to consuming foods that are high in tryptophan, there are other dietary factors that can affect serotonin levels. For example, foods that are high in carbohydrates can increase insulin levels, which in turn can help tryptophan enter the brain more easily and increase serotonin production.


Conversely, consuming foods that are high in saturated fat can reduce serotonin levels. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that participants who consumed a diet high in saturated fat had lower serotonin levels and increased symptoms of depression compared to those who consumed a diet low in saturated fat.


To increase serotonin levels through diet, it is important to focus on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Foods that are high in tryptophan include:

  • Turkey

  • Chicken

  • Fish

  • Eggs

  • Cheese

  • Tofu

  • Nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds and almonds

In addition to consuming foods that are high in tryptophan, it is also important to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. These foods provide the nutrients that the body needs to function properly, which in turn can help improve mood and overall well-being.


It's also important to note that certain dietary supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, have been shown to increase serotonin levels and improve symptoms of depression. However, it's important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.


In conclusion, eating a healthy, balanced diet is an effective way to increase serotonin levels naturally. By consuming foods that are high in tryptophan and other nutrient-dense foods, we can support serotonin production and improve our overall mental and physical well-being. These foods provide the necessary nutrients for the body to produce serotonin. Also, try to avoid processed foods, sugar, and caffeine, which can lead to a serotonin crash.


4) Practice Meditation and Mindfulness


Practicing meditation and mindfulness is another way to increase serotonin levels naturally. Meditation and mindfulness involve focusing the mind on the present moment and reducing stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that regular meditation practice can increase serotonin levels in the brain, leading to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.


One way that meditation can increase serotonin levels is by reducing stress. When we are under stress, the body releases cortisol, a hormone that can decrease serotonin production. By reducing stress through meditation, we can help regulate cortisol levels and increase serotonin production.


Another way that meditation can increase serotonin levels is by changing the structure and function of the brain. Studies have shown that regular meditation practice can increase the density of gray matter in areas of the brain that are involved in emotional regulation, including the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. This structural change can improve the brain's ability to regulate emotions and increase serotonin production. The brain and mind is just as important as the rest of the body. Check out what Idowu Koyenikan said about the mind:


Quote about the mind: “The mind is just like a muscle– the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets, and the more it can expand.” – Idowu Koyenikan
Quote from Idowu Koyenikan about the mind

To practice meditation and mindfulness, there are a variety of techniques to choose from. Some popular techniques include:

  1. Mindfulness meditation: This technique involves focusing the mind on the present moment, often by paying attention to the breath or bodily sensations.

  2. Loving-kindness meditation: This technique involves generating feelings of love, compassion, and goodwill towards oneself and others.

  3. Body scan meditation: This technique involves focusing the mind on each part of the body in turn, often in a systematic way.

  4. Transcendental meditation: This technique involves repeating a mantra, a word or phrase, to help focus the mind and induce a state of deep relaxation.



There are also many apps and online resources available to help beginners start a meditation practice. For people who ask how to increase serotonin levels, meditation and mindfulness is a must. As meditation becomes a regular habit, the benefits will also increase exponentially. Using Insumo, a habit tracker app, can help with making mediation a regular habit.


In conclusion, practicing meditation and mindfulness is an effective way to increase serotonin levels naturally. By reducing stress and changing the structure and function of the brain, meditation can help regulate emotions and improve mood, leading to increased serotonin production and overall well-being.


5) Get Enough Sleep


Getting enough sleep is another important factor in increasing serotonin levels naturally. Serotonin plays a crucial role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, and lack of sleep can disrupt this cycle, leading to decreased serotonin production and increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is recommended to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Also, try to establish a regular sleep schedule and avoid screens and other stimulating activities before bed.


Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can decrease serotonin levels in the brain, leading to increased feelings of sadness and irritability. In addition, lack of sleep can also disrupt other neurotransmitters that are important for regulating mood and emotional well-being, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.


To get enough sleep and increase serotonin levels, it's important to practice good sleep hygiene. This includes:

  1. Establishing a regular sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and improve sleep quality.

  2. Creating a sleep-conducive environment: A dark, quiet, and cool bedroom can promote restful sleep.

  3. Limiting screen time before bedtime: The blue light emitted by electronic devices can disrupt the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep.

  4. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime: Both caffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep quality and reduce serotonin levels.

  5. Engaging in relaxation techniques before bedtime: Activities such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing meditation can help reduce stress and promote restful sleep.

In addition to these strategies, it's also important to address any underlying sleep disorders or medical conditions that may be interfering with sleep. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle and decrease serotonin production, leading to symptoms of depression and anxiety.


In conclusion, getting enough sleep is an important factor in increasing serotonin levels in the body. By practicing good sleep hygiene and addressing any underlying sleep disorders or medical conditions, we can promote restful sleep and improve overall mood and emotional well-being.


6) Socialize and Connect with Others


Socializing and connecting with others is another important factor in increasing serotonin levels naturally. Humans are social creatures, and socializing with others can help reduce stress, improve mood, and increase feelings of happiness and well-being.


Studies have shown that social isolation and loneliness can decrease serotonin levels in the brain, leading to increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. In contrast, socializing with others can increase serotonin production and promote feelings of happiness and contentment.


To increase social connections and promote serotonin production, there are many strategies to try:

  1. Join a club or group: Joining a club or group that shares your interests can be a great way to meet new people and connect with others who share your passions.

  2. Volunteer: Volunteering for a cause that you care about can be a great way to meet like-minded people and give back to your community.

  3. Attend social events: Attending social events such as parties, concerts, or sporting events can be a fun way to meet new people and connect with others.

  4. Connect with friends and family: Spending time with friends and family members is an important way to increase social connections and promote feelings of happiness and well-being.

  5. Practice active listening: When socializing with others, make an effort to actively listen to what they are saying and engage with them in meaningful conversations.

  6. Use social media mindfully: While social media can be a great way to connect with others, it's important to use it mindfully and not let it interfere with in-person social connections.

In conclusion, socializing and connecting with others is an important factor in increasing serotonin levels naturally. By joining clubs or groups, volunteering, attending social events, connecting with friends and family, practicing active listening, and using social media mindfully, we can promote social connections and improve overall mood and emotional well-being.


7) Try Supplements


While lifestyle changes are the most effective way to increase serotonin levels naturally, some people may also consider trying supplements to support their efforts. It's important to note that supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, but rather as a complementary approach.


Here are some supplements that have been shown to potentially increase serotonin levels:

  1. 5-HTP: 5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin. It has been shown to increase serotonin levels in the brain, leading to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

  2. Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that are important for brain health. They have been shown to potentially increase serotonin levels and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

  3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for overall health and has been shown to potentially increase serotonin levels. Getting enough sunlight and eating foods rich in vitamin D can help support serotonin production.

  4. B-complex vitamins: B vitamins are important for overall health and brain function. They have been shown to potentially increase serotonin levels and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

  5. St. John's Wort: St. John's Wort is an herb that has been traditionally used to treat depression. It has been shown to increase serotonin levels in the brain, leading to improved mood.

It's important to talk to a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen, as some supplements can interact with medications or have side effects. Additionally, supplements are not regulated in the same way as prescription medications, so it's important to choose a reputable brand and do your research before starting any supplement.


While supplements may potentially support serotonin production, lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sunlight, practicing mindfulness, getting enough sleep, and socializing are the most effective way to increase serotonin levels naturally. Supplements should only be used as a complementary approach and with guidance from a healthcare provider.


How to increase serotonin with habit building


In conclusion, increasing serotonin levels naturally is an important way to support emotional well-being and improve overall health. There are several ways to increase serotonin levels naturally, including exercising regularly, getting enough sunlight, eating a healthy diet, practicing meditation and mindfulness, getting enough sleep, socializing and connecting with others, and trying supplements. Making these habits a regular part of your lifestyle can have significant benefits for your emotional and physical health.


By tracking your progress and habits, you can better understand what works best for you and make adjustments accordingly. One way to track habits is by downloading and using the Insumo app, which helps you set and achieve your wellness goals by providing personalized insights.



If you are wondering about how to increase serotonin levels, but don’t want to make much of an effort, here we present a few easy ways to do so. Remember, it's important to prioritize self-care and take the time to care for your emotional and physical well-being. By incorporating these natural strategies to increase serotonin levels into your daily routine, you can support your overall health and well-being.


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