How to Boost Happy Hormones Naturally
Have you ever wondered what can you do to boost happy hormones naturally. While taking medication is an option for boosting serotonin and help people manage anxiety, there’s also the natural path which can help people manage their emotions and response to stress. So how can one boost happy hormones naturally?
What has become known as happy hormones is actually referring to neurotransmitters. These ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters contribute to how one feels. The ones that make us feel good are dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins.
When these neurotransmitters are low in our brains, we feel anxious, sad, unconnected and increased physical pain.
Let’s look at how we can incorporate natural ways to boost happy hormones.
Boost happy hormones with
1 Ketogenic diet
When the human body switches to burning fat as it’s energy source instead of carbohydrates. It helps to produce ketones which gives the brain the fuel it thrives on, while giving it the right nutrition to work at an optimum level. The ketogenic diet relies on real food sourced from nature.
It aims to consume no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates or 5%, between 90 – 120 grams of protein, equivalent to 25% and 65% of your diet of healthy fat. Healthy fats consumed such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, grass-fed butter and naturally occurring fats from nuts and seeds helps the body get into the state of ketosis. This state helps the body reduce inflammation and allows it to function at optimum level, ensuring nutrients are absorbed effectively.
2 Eat more fish, meat and eggs
Always go for the fattier cuts of beef and fish to help increase the fat and have less protein. Leave the skin on fish and chicken as this contains more fat which is better for the ketogenic diet. Ideally, choose beef steak (rib eye), pork loin, and lamb chops as they have higher fat content and less protein than cuts that have had the fat taken off or are lower in fat.
One way to work out how much fat, protein and carbs are in food is to use an app such as Myfitnesspal which can calculate how much of each macronutrient your body needs.
3 Healthy fats
These include coconut oil, olive oil, butter, avocado, duck fat, ghee, and lard.
Eating more fat leads to feeling fuller and consequently eat less which leads to weight loss. This also helps with reducing inflammation which occurs when one’s body isn’t able to digest foods effectively due to excess strain from unhealthy foods over a long term basis.
Also, without fat our body’s don’t work well. The function of fat is to repair cell membranes, regulate the metabolism and hormones. Our cells are made up of fat, so without it, our cells simply can’t work. In particular the brain uses a lot of energy and thrives on ketones to help it work effectively.
Meditation helps relax tension from the day, as well as allow the neurotransmitter GABA to be present which allows other neurotransmitters such as serotonin to be absorbed at a slower rate, thus allowing the body to feel a sense of relaxation. There are many apps that can guide one to listen to which will help create a calm space for the body to switch from a state of tension and stress to a calm feeling. When this is done on a regular basis, the brain is able to better manage stress when stress occurs.
It’s like learning to ride a bike, one doesn’t just simply get on a bike and ride with the wind in your hair on the first go generally! No, it takes at least a few goes without the trainer wheels on to get the balance right before getting the hang of it. The same goes for meditation, it takes time to get used to noticing the tension in the muscles then become adept at relaxing them to allow the body to create a calm space for the neurotransmitters to work in a conducive environment.
5 Green tea
Green tea has been shown to reduce anxiety and help the body to relax without causing drowsiness. It also helps with mental clarity and staying alert. The same nutrient which contributes to this feeling of being relaxed can also be found it black tea as well as white tea.
Chocolate lovers will be happy to hear that chocolate helps create happy feel good neurotransmitters, aka boost happy hormones. Reach for the dark chocolate variety as it is lower in sugar which isn’t helpful in the management of the positive neurotransmitters. It also reduces inflammation and blood pressure. It’s an antioxidant which supports the health of the body.
Moderate exercise of 20 – 30 minutes at a time is enough for the body to release endorphins and serotonin which can improve how a person feels including helping them feel more relaxed and less depressed. It is known to be an effective treatment for depression.
Practice yoga regularly. This is an ancient form of stretching which research is backing up. For more information on the benefits of yoga go here. It can help with reducing cardiovascular risks, enhances fitness and encourages people to be more aware of their bodies.
9 Positive Affirmations
Practice saying something nice about yourself at least 5 times a day. Set a reminder on your phone to help become more conscious of doing this practice throughout the day. ‘I am’ statements can also boost how you feel about yourself and over time create new neural pathways to help you feel better about yourself.
10 A Positive Attitude
Notice how you respond to others. And how you view yourself. Do you make positive or negative comments to yourself? How do you handle stress? Are you kind to yourself or put yourself down and use unkind words. While this is very common for many to do, it also stops you from feeling good within yourself.
We all have a negative self critic. It’s about becoming aware of it, and how you respond to yourself when you notice it which can help you learn different ways to respond to that negative commentary going on inside.
Become aware of your thoughts and rather than judge them in a positive or negative way, simply notice them and notice your response. By becoming more aware of your thoughts, you can learn how to manage them better and have less of a negative response when you’re not happy with them.
You can also learn how to choose to focus on them or not. This takes practice and time to help your brain manage thoughts. If you can find 7 minutes a day you can practice mindfulness with this program. It improves your mind, reduces your tension, and allows calm to become a regular part of you day.
12 Stay connected
Your support peeps such as your friends, family, professional supports are your network who help you feel connected. As human beings we are made to be socially integrated within our community. The neurotransmitter of oxytocin, the love hormone, which is released following child birth, sexual intercourse and massages is also released when we feel connected to those around us.
13 Get a massage
The neurotransmitter oxytocin has been shown to be released during a massage. It involves human contact and touch as well as releasing tense muscles and tension.
Get into the practice of saying at least one thing you are grateful for especially to begin your day. You can either say it to yourself, write these down daily, or use an app that reminds you to record something to be grateful for. Click here for more ideas on practicing gratitude.
15 Herbs and Spices
Valarian Root has been used for many centuries as a natural herb to assist sleep difficulties. It can also help in reducing stress and anxiety.
St John’s Wort, ginseng and licorice have also been shown to help support serotonin.
Turmeric, also known as Curcumin, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can also reduce symptoms of anxiety. Find recipes to incorporate this golden spice online.
16 Discuss Supplements with your Natural Health Practitioner
Supplements such as Gamma- Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), folinic acid, B group vitamins including vitamin B6, & B12, and magnesium can all help boost happy hormones for the body.
Go outside and spend a few minutes in the sun. This helps to absorb vitamin D which helps to produce serotonin which supports the production of melatonin naturally which leads to a good night’s sleep.
The power of sleep gives your body the chance to recover from the day’s activities and stresses. Our bodies need sleep for many internal processes including helping us manage our moods.
If you are struggling to manage how you feel and are looking for known ways to boost happy hormones try to incorporate at least one change from the above list.
Gradually increase these as you incorporate each one into your daily routine.
Let me know by leaving a comment below if you find yourself doing any of the activities listed and how it’s impacted on how you feel.