Whether you're feeling low due to a bad breakup or because it's getting dark at 4pm, there are ways to make yourself feel better without dramatically altering your lifestyle.The neurotransmitter serotonin is known to improve mood and aid social functioning in people, so when you're stuck in a rut and down in the dumps the key to brightening up is to boost your levels. Here are some natural methods to increase the serotonin in your brain and improve your mood.
Sunshine: You may be tempted to hide away in your bedroom when you're unhappy, but taking a stroll in natural daylight can really make the world of difference. Sunlight triggers the production of serotonin, with the condition seasonal affective disorder making sufferers feel extreme moods depending on the time of year. So, even if you're in the middle of winter right now, just wrap up warm and catch some rays before the sun sets at a ridiculously early hour.
Exercise: Working up a sweat can also increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, both of which help you focus on the rewards of exercising rather than the aches and tiredness that comes with it. You also release endorphins, feel-good hormones, when exercising, with previous study findings claiming just 20 minutes of moving can increase one's mood for up to 12 hours. If you're not a fitness fanatic, simply pick an activity which you enjoy to make the whole process more bearable (dancing counts!).
Sneak in some TLC: A little tender, love and care for the self is a great way to feel better; from a massage to a relaxing facial, choose whatever gratifies you most! It was previously found that a massage can relieve depression, stress and anxiety, with participants of a study seeing their levels of the stress hormone cortisol dropping by 53 per cent after a good rub done, as well as their serotonin levels increasing. Book us in!
Food: We don't mean eat whatever you want - we suggest tucking into foods that have previously been found to improve mood. Eggs, cheese, pineapples, salmon and even tofu have all been linked to raising the levels of serotonin, as have nuts and seeds.