Happiness seems to be in scarce supply these days. With a new world-altering issue popping up at every corner, it’s no wonder that most of us are having a hard time finding the upside in all of it. How can we? Headaches, depression, and anxiety aren’t exactly a recipe for happiness. On the contrary, all of these symptoms point to one thing – low levels of serotonin, a chemical responsible for everything from our everyday mood to complex cognitive processes and sleep schedules. In short, serotonin is pivotal for our overall happiness. While its low levels can be treated medically, there are also many natural non-medical ways of approaching this issue – below are just a few!
Run that negative energy out of the place
Be it a lack of time, money, or willpower, people always find a reason to avoid exercising. Although it may seem like a good idea at the moment, you’re not doing yourself any favors in the long run. Alongside obvious physical benefits, exercise does wonders for your mental health too. Simple activities such as a morning run have been shown to increase brain serotonin. In some cases, regular exercise may even act as a natural antidepressant. Of course, regular physical activity doesn’t mean moving to the gym indefinitely. You won’t be up for a 45-minute HIIT session every day, and that’s alright. The important thing is listening to your body and keeping active throughout the day. A simple activity like a walk or hike is enough to get your brain and legs going!
Don’t be afraid to treat yourself!
Even though treating yourself isn’t always an option, it’s doable every now and again, and sometimes, it’s also necessary. However, with an economic crisis on the horizon, experts will often advise putting every spare penny into the piggy bank. While there’s nothing wrong with putting money aside, they’re also nothing wrong with splurging on yourself from time to time. Studies have even shown that surprise purchases tend to increase our serotonin levels. Of course, this doesn’t have to be anything grand – a favorite dessert or piece of jewelry is more than enough. The trick is finding something that works for you. This is much easier in larger cities like Melbourne or Sydney, where you have everything you could ever wish for and more. Just the number of quality gold sellers in Melbourne is envious – thus, if you’re in the mood for a piece of unique jewelry, you know where to look!
Get a good night’s sleep
It’s no coincidence that doctors recommend between seven and eight hours of sleep every night. A good night’s sleep allows your brain and body to recover, recapitulate, and produce serotonin. Anything less than a solid seven to eight hours will leave you feeling anxious and exhausted the next day. However, getting enough sleep is often easier said than done. People around the world struggle with their sleep schedules and oftentimes end up with a prescription to get through the night. Fortunately, there are a couple of things to try before resorting to pharmaceuticals. The first is reducing blue light before bed, meaning all electronics go in the drawer. Another option is late-night exercise – once you’ve completed a two-mile run, your body will be ready to rest up for a bit!
Chance the sunshine
Winter blues aren’t just an overused song lyric, they’re also a medical phenomenon. Serotonin production is directly linked to the amount of sunlight we receive, and during the cold months, that doesn’t amount to much. Because of this, most people are typically more anxious and depressed during the colder months. A simple solution is going out into the sun. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. The majority of people work or study on a 9 to 5 ratio, meaning that the little sunlight we could get in the winter is not on the schedule. Luckily, it appears that designers also suffer from seasonal blues and have thought of a solution – specialized lamps that make sure you get all the sunlight and serotonin you need!
Even though we won’t always be able to find the upside in life, it’s pivotal that we try. The truth is, there are always going to be curve balls down the road, but if we know how to find the upside, they’re going to be just a bit easier to overcome. Thus, don’t let a day go by without at least trying to increase your serotonin level and with it, your happiness as well!