Serotonin and the Importance of Happiness

 23rd Mar 2016

‘Happiness’ is an incredibly important word for everyone. It is the way in which we gauge our success in life and is the driving force behind almost all of the decisions we make.

The ways in which contentment can be achieved will vary from person to person depending on their lifestyle, personality and aspirations but it is a crucial prerogative for everyone to have in order to facilitate a happy, fulfilling life.

Serotonin

This brings us to serotonin and its undisputed importance – so what exactly is it?

Serotonin is a chemical in the human body and can be commonly found in areas such as the brain, bowels and blood platelets (cells which aid in the repair of bleeding areas).

This chemical is particularly important as it is widely regarded as being responsible for a range of processes within the human body. These include (but are not limited to) appetite, sleep, libido, lethargy, motivation and mood.

In addition, severe shortages of serotonin have also been linked to the development of various mental health illnesses including depression, eating disorders and substance abuse disorders.

It is important to understand that lifestyle factors, diet and actions within your life all play a part how your body produces serotonin (as well as other chemicals) and can have either beneficial or detrimental effects to your wellbeing.

Maintaining a Health Balance

There are many lifestyle changes which can be implemented to increase serotonin levels and, as a result, improve a person’s wellbeing without the need for potentially harmful medication.

Diet

Diet is an important aspect to consider in everyone’s pursuit for holistic health. Ensuring you consume a sufficient amount of nutritious food is important as vitamins such as B6 are a natural, healthy way of boosting the levels of serotonin in the body.

Other dietary changes which can be beneficial include reducing processed carbohydrates and increasing proteins and natural fats. These not only help to increase serotonin production but may also aid in weight loss which can consequently improve a person’s self-esteem.

Substance Abuse

Substances such as MDMA can create a significant, temporary reduction in serotonin and, in some cases, can even cause permanent changes in the way the chemical is produced.

In addition, many drugs can also lead to the development of other mental health conditions which can complicate the issue further. It is therefore important to avoid the use of dangerous substances as much as possible and to address any existing drug abuse problems which may be present.

Stress and Emotions

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to stress and emotional control but identifying issues within your own life and addressing these can help improve your health.

Regular contact with friends and family, enjoyment at work and pursuing a hobby or interest can all help you find a sense of self-worth and increase both your overall happiness and motivation in other areas of life.

Focusing on improving your self-confidence can also have a multitude of positive effects on your life as you find yourself more willing to speak to new people, try new activities and hobbies and this will reflect in how people treat you.

Whilst this is by no means a comprehensive list of every change which can benefit your wellbeing, it is a reminder of the importance of prioritising your own happiness.

High stress, low self-esteem and social isolation are just a few examples of how lifestyle factors can have strong and direct influences on the body’s production of various chemicals which, in turn have real-world mental and physical repercussions.

Encompass provide a range of services designed to improve the lives of people living with a mental health illness or learning disability.

If you would like to find out how our team can help you or a loved one, simply click here.

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