Have you ever wondered what makes you feel happy? Have you ever sought to understand why certain things bring a smile to your face, while others don’t? Well, the answer to these questions may lie in the function of a single molecule—serotonin.
Serotonin isn’t just a simple hormone. It plays an incredibly important role in the function of your brain and body, making it one of the key players in providing us with overall happiness.
In our initial blog post of this series, ”The 4 Brain Chemicals That Contribute to Happiness—and How to Increase Them,” we discussed all four hormones that play a role in achieving and sustaining happiness. Throughout this series, we’ll be taking a more thorough look into each individual topic. This will not only help us to better understand the function of each hormone, but also provide us with the tools to better our lives and happiness levels.
In this blog post, we’ll be focusing on serotonin—the happy hormone that helps to regulate mood and reduce anxiety. Let’s dive deeper into the function of serotonin and how it can help us achieve a more fulfilling life.
Let’s Talk Serotonin Function in the Brain
Serotonin hormone function provides a sense of contentment when we experience positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, pride, admiration, love, and connection.
When you participate in activities that spark these emotions, your body releases serotonin into the brain as a reward. It’s also released when we attend to our needs in other ways, such as when we get enough sleep or eat healthy food.
Another function of serotonin is to help maintain balance within the brain and throughout the body. It does this by acting on certain receptors that regulate key functions like mood, digestion, immune function, and sleep. When our serotonin levels are low, we can feel depressed, anxious, or irritable. Conversely, when they’re high, it boosts our overall happiness and well-being.
The Role of Serotonin in Mental Health
Our serotonin function is closely tied to our mental health. For instance, low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, while higher levels tend to create an increase in positive emotions. This is why antidepressants like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are prescribed to those with depression or anxiety disorders—they help boost the amount of serotonin available for use in your brain and body.
But it’s not just depression that serotonin affects. It also impacts how we process and react to stress in our lives, as well as how we think about ourselves and the world around us.
Picture a mental state where you’re able to calmly process challenging situations and still feel contentment within yourself—this is the function of serotonin at work. Or, think of a time when you felt resilient and capable of tackling any obstacle that came your way—that’s also serotonin function in action.
Natural methods of boosting serotonin levels include exercise, spending time in nature, adequate exposure to daylight, a healthy diet (particularly getting enough tryptophan) and doing activities that make you feel happy. These methods can be incredibly effective, while also providing a host of other physical and mental health benefits. You can read more about the research here.
Unlocking Your Potential for Happiness with Serotonin
Serotonin function in the brain isn’t a one-size-fits-all equation, though. Everyone has their own unique levels of function of serotonin, and therefore, everyone experiences happiness and contentment in different ways.
That’s why it’s so important to find what works best for you when it comes to boosting your serotonin function. For some, that might mean supplementing with certain vitamins and minerals. For others, it might be as simple as finding an activity or hobby that brings you joy.
For us at Calm Store, it’s aromatherapy, hobbies, books, meditation, sleep and a whole lot of self-care. Our products are designed to help you unlock your potential for happiness and contentment by boosting serotonin function in the brain.
Now that we’ve explored the function of serotonin in the brain, stay tuned for our next blog post, where we’ll dive deeper into the function of dopamine—the hormone that regulates pleasure and reward. Until then, remember to take moments of self-care throughout your day, and lead a life of joy and contentment.