-By Elaine Corcoran, Founder of Brain Training Australia™ in Perth
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced by your nerve cells. Serotonin function is complex, but it is most commonly associated, accurately, with feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Serotonin is also a regulator for cognition, memory, and learning.
If your serotonin levels are lower than they need to be, you are likely to experience some of the following:
• Mood swings
• Short term memory issues
• Feelings of irritation
• Appetite problems (generally low appetite)
• Feeling aggressive and reactive
Low serotonin levels have also been associated with weight gain, the desire for excessive carbohydrates, with persistent fatigue, bowel issues and with ongoing feelings of nausea.
In short, we need serotonin to be able to feel good, to feel balanced and to have regulation. So, how can we hack our serotonin levels easily and naturally? Two of the easiest ways that you can increase serotonin are with food and with daylight.
HOW TO RAISE YOUR SEROTONIN WITH FOOD
The saying that we are what we eat is a good one, but a better one might be, we FEEL the results of what we eat. Your body and mind are a very fair system. You get out of it what you put in to it, quite literally. If you feed your body with low value food, the output that you get from your body will be of a lower value. Conversely, if you nourish your body with quality food, the output that you get will be good quality. The better the fuel, the better the output.
Serotonin boosting foods include:
• Salmon and Tuna
• Leafy greens
• Seeds and nuts
• Fresh pineapple
Add these foods to your daily diet and minimise your intake of processed foods, sugars and convenience foods to give your serotonin a boost.
HOW TO RAISE YOUR SEROTONIN WITH SUNLIGHT
This one is not rocket science, but it is neuroscience. Exposure to light, or sunlight, causes a section of the retina to cue the release of serotonin. This is why the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder is often treated with light therapy – the light triggers the serotonin release which alleviates the low mood. If you can get 25 minutes of daylight your serotonin levels will increase.
It seems so simple, yet with the pressure of everyday life, many of us don’t take a break for lunch at all, and if we do, we don’t go outside to do it. Before we even realise it, we have spent the working week indoors with minimal exposure to fresh air and daylight – decreasing serotonin. Try to ensure you take a break in the workday, and go outside to soak up some daylight, even in the winter time.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO IMPROVE ANXIETY, MEMORY, MOOD SWINGS AND IRRITABILITY
At Brain Training Australia™ we offer Neurofeedback Brain Training and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help our clients struggling with anxiety, memory, mood swings and irritability.
Neurofeedback Brain Training measures and analyses the electricity generated by the Central Nervous System and then uses this analyse to provide specific interactive brain training exercises. Neurofeedback uses real-time displays of brain activity through the use of electroencephalography (EEG), to teach self-regulation of brain function.
Once the brain function starts to stabilise with Neurofeedback Brain Training, we then work with our clients to integrate Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) into their Brain Training Programs. CBT is a therapeutic approach used to treat and manage problematic thoughts and behaviours and works by helping the client to identify which thoughts and feelings are causing distress, and developing plans to actively challenge these issues. The aim is to teach the client that while the environment cannot change for you, you can change your view of the environment. With this new perspective, the client shall have the tools and methods to now live a positive and healthy lifestyle.
Symptoms such as anxiety, memory, mood swings and irritability stem from neural dysregulation and an overstimulated central nervous system response. First step involves regulation of your stress response.
WHY SHOULD I REGULATE MY STRESS RESPONSE?
Over time and with continuous exposure to stress (be it real or perceived), the result of the chemicals and hormones being produced, cause a state of overwhelm, constant thoughts, a feeling that everything is important and an inability to switch off often resulting in poor sleep patterns. These are the tell tale signs of an overstimulated central nervous system response, also known as an overstimulated stress response.
Continued feelings of stress can be very harmful to our physical health as well as our psychological well-being. It enables and encourages unhealthy habits, such as using drugs and alcohol, exercising less often, and becoming socially withdrawn. Stress places the body under immense pressure, unnecessarily.
This continued state of strain and pressure of an overstimulated stress response causes long-term problems including higher risk of heart disease, strokes, ulcers, and other mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and performance issues such as memory loss, insomnia, procrastination and poor concentration.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
The first step is to get in contact with us and book in for your First Appointment.
This will allow you to experience a session, and see if its the right modality for you. We will also be able to advise you, given your presentation, whether Neurofeedback, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or a combination of both would give you the best result.
The team at Brain Training Australia™ recognise the unique qualities of all our clients and will work closely with you to personalise your Brain Training Program so that you can achieve your goals of optimal mental processes.
We look forward to helping you live a much richer, happier and healthier life, and to stop having a stressed, overwhelmed and busy brain.