However, it's not all doom and gloom! Here are 5 ways to help increase your serotonin levels naturally:
1. Increase tryptophan rich foods in your diet!
Serotonin is synthesised from the amino acid tryptophan and research has shown that low levels of dietary tryptophan result in low levels of serotonin in the brain. Examples of tryptophan rich foods are: eggs, tofu, turkey, cheese, nuts and seeds, pineapple and salmon. These foods should be eaten regularly and must be consumed with a healthy carbohydrate such as rice for absorption across the blood brain barrier.
2. Take probiotics or increase probiotic rich foods in your diet!
Yoghurt and fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut are a great easy way to increase your intake. Research has shown that healthy gut bacteria plays a role in serotonin levels in your brain through the gut-brain axis.
3. Get more exercise!
Aerobic exercise, such as running, biking, swimming, dancing and brisk walking are the best exercises to increase your serotonin levels. Try and get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to achieve what is called a ‘serotonin high!’ While anaerobic exercise such as weightlifting can also help increase serotonin levels, it is not nearly as effective when compared to aerobic exercise.
4. Increase your light exposure!
Serotonin is produced by light exposure to your eye so you should spend at least 10 to 15 minutes outside each day (without your sunglasses on!) to help your body synthesise more serotonin. You can also use light boxes and certain light bulbs which mimic the effects of sunlight to increase this affect on your body.
5. Take serotonin boosting supplements!
However, these should NOT be taken if you are taking any serotonin boosting medication, for example, anti depressants.