"They say that a few minutes each day
of petting your dog,
can raise your serotonin levels."
- Neil S. Plakcy
Are you feeling a little sad this time of the year?
I am definitely feeling a lack of energy and some sadness at this time of the year.
It is getting darker, the days are getting shorter and there is less sunshine during the day.
Right now as I am spending time in Sweden, I am really being affected by the weather and the lack of sunlight and daylight. Most days are very gloomy over here and they are also rapidly getting shorter and shorter.
Today I am going to talk about SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder.
SAD is a form of depression that is triggered by changing seasons.
Sunlight and darkness trigger the release of hormones in our brain.
Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brains release of the hormone serotonin.
Serotonin is affecting our mood, our energy level, memory, focus, mental sharpness and the way we look at life.
Without enough sunlight exposure a person's serotonin levels can dip low and that is associated with the risk of SAD.
Both SAD and the winter blues is related to the lack of sunlight.
Serotonin is helping us to regulate our moods and when the level goes down we are at risk for depression.
Women produce serotonin only half as fast at men do and that can explain why more women then men get depressed.
Sunlight has been proven to boost positive moods and diminish tiredness. Getting minimal periods of sunlight can negatively impact our mood.
There is no wonder that I prefer the sunny and warm weather in Texas to what we have going on right now here in Sweden.
Not only does it affect my mood but I feel like I can sleep all the time.
The reason for that is that the hormone melatonin (the "sleepy" hormone) increases with decreased light and that explains why we get a tired feeling as early as four in the afternoon when it begins to get dark outside.
Anything that is affecting our mood will also affect our behavior.
On rainy days people are less satisfied with their lives.
I know when the sun is shining I feel like I have less problems and it is easier to deal with anything compared to a rainy day when just going for a walk with the dogs can sometimes feel like a uphill battle.
Another thing that can deplete our serotonin levels is prolonged stress. Stress will wear us out!
Stay away from stressful situations as much as possible.
Here are a few TIPS to boost serotonin!
Get enough light
Spend time outdoors. Make sure that you go outside for at least 30 minutes per day.
Eat healthy fats
Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, fish oils, nuts and flaxseed oil.
A great way to boost serotonin levels can be as simple as a daily 30-60 minute walk.
This is my favorite tip!!!!!
Interact with others
Make sure that these people have a positive outlook on life
Try meditation, yoga and deep breathing exercises and spending more time relaxing.
Like pictures in a photo album might give you a serotonin boost.
Hang out with your pets