Serotonin and Dopamine and your mental health
Participating in talk therapy can be validating, refreshing, and supportive as you navigate through narratives and experiences that impact your view of self and the world.
Coupling that with approaches that I use in sessions such as breathwork, stretch/movement meditation, somatic journaling/writing, bibliotherapy and creative/arts therapy, you get to make a mind-body, spirit-mind, and strengths and interests based connections to your healing work.
Healing is NOT always pretty... It is messy. Healing is NOT linear.... It can be fragmented.
It has pauses and stops and high speed chases.
Sometimes you arrive at healing, only to realize it was a pit stop along the way.
None of these discredit the growth that you are making. In fact, it IS because of the growth that you are even able to recognize each aspect along the way. Those moments of being mindful....and getting better at feeling your feelings vs trying to numb them away.
Serotonin and dopamine play a significant part of your mental and emotional well-being and I must remind you of the ways that you may be neglecting to consider these elements. Lets normalize brain and gut health as a part of your mental and emotional growth too.
Both serotonin and dopamine play a role in depression. Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter associated with depression. This chemical has a significant impact on mood and positive feelings, such as satisfaction, joy, and empathy for other people
Serotonin and dopamine deficiencies can occur for a variety of reasons. Your body might not make enough of these neurotransmitters, or be able to respond to them appropriately. Certain medications can affect levels of serotonin and dopamine as well.
Serotonin deficiency can cause:
Decreased energy levels
Increased or decreased appetite
Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
Gastrointestinal (GI) issues
Symptoms of dopamine deficiency can include:
Difficulty paying attention
Lack of motivation
Lack of pleasure in enjoyable activities
Decreased sex drive
Restless leg syndrome
Tremors (such as hands shaking)
Difficulty with balance and coordination
Ways to Boost Serotonin and Dopamine
Medications are often used to boost serotonin and dopamine levels in the body. However, there are several ways that you can boost levels naturally.
Stay active: Exercising when you're feeling down and lack motivation can be particularly difficult. However, exercise has been proven to help increase serotonin levels in the brain. Start with something easy, such as taking a walk.
Get outside: Sunlight helps boost neurotransmitters levels in the brain.
Change your diet: Coffee has been shown to increase serotonin and dopamine levels, although it can lead to withdrawal if you decide to cut back. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids boost serotonin levels.
Manage your stress: Adding stress-relieving activities to your day can help improve mood and boost neurotransmitter levels. For example, meditation has been shown to increase dopamine levels in the brain.
Serotonin: This neurotransmitter is best known for its ability to boost your mood, but it also plays an important role in digestion and the immune system.
Dopamine: known as the "pleasure" neurotransmitter. That's because dopamine is responsible for making you feel good and that activates the "reward system" in your brain. It also helps you pay attention and learn new information.