Boosting your serotonin activity

Magical Realist Offline

"After I finished my Ph.D. dissertation, everything felt really difficult. I wanted to throw a party for myself, but couldn't seem to plan it. I wanted a job, but couldn't get around to looking for one. I wanted to write more blog posts, but each one felt like it took forever.

I wasn't quite aware of it at the time, but I do think writing a 150-page paper on 4 years of my research had maxed out my serotonin system. Subsequently, I have come across a lot of research on ways to boost serotonin activity. This information would have been really useful at the time, but at least I can share it with you.

As I described in my last post, serotonin is the molecule of willpower and delaying gratification. Decreased serotonin activity can lead to an inability to create and act on well-formed plans. That can mean having difficulty finishing things, or feeling a little down, getting annoyed easily, or being unable to control your impulses. If you see that in yourself, or a friend, it might mean decreased serotonin activity.

In this post, I'll explain four ways of boosting serotonin activity that don't involve a trip to your psychiatrist or buying "supplements" from some website in your spam folder.

Now, as I also explained in my last post, the phrase "low serotonin activity" can mean a number of different things. It can mean your brain is making less serotonin, or has fewer receptors for it, or those receptors just aren't grabbing on to the serotonin very well. It can also mean the serotonin that's made is broken down too soon, or that the serotonin that's squirted out into the synapse is sucked too quickly back into the neuron.

Changing any one of these factors can increase (or further decrease) serotonin activity. For example, most antidepressant medications work by blocking serotonin-sucking proteins (i.e. the serotonin transporter), thereby increasing the amount of serotonin that can act on receptors.

If your low-serotonin activity is making you feel too rushed to finish reading blog posts, I'll just spoil the surprise right here and tell you the punchline. The four ways to boost serotonin activity are sunlight, massage, exercise, and remembering happy events. At this point, feel free to return to your stressful life, or keep reading for a more in-depth look.

Now if you're really having trouble, go see a psychiatrist, and stop looking for medical advice on blogs. The symptoms I've described above may be signs of reduced serotonin activity, but they may mean more than that, or something else entirely.

Furthermore, even if low serotonin activity is the problem, the following activities may not be sufficient. You might also need something else (e.g. psychotherapy, an antidepressant, etc). That can depend, among other things, on your genetics, early childhood experiences, and current life circumstances.

I will say though, that even if the following activities are not entirely sufficient, they will move you in the right direction. So without further delay, let's do some serotonin boosting..."
C C Offline
Interesting way to beat the prescription hassle. Vaguely remember neighbors who once swore on L-tryptophan and niacin putting them to sleep at night, before that Chinese company sold contaminated batches and got the former banned for a while. They're precursors to serotonin.
Magical Realist Offline
I took Niacin supplements once and it made my skin feel sunburned. Never took that again.
Syne Offline
(Dec 12, 2019 11:17 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: I took Niacin supplements once and it made my skin feel sunburned. Never took that again.

That's what it's supposed to do, at least until it purges the accumulated radiation reaction. Once done, which shouldn't be long, staying with that dosage will no longer cause the flushing.

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