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6 Ways To Make 2021 A Serotonin Induced Year!

Even the most horrible, rotten times can yield profound and poignant lessons if we look for it.

Leave the rottenness of 2020 behind! Here are 6 ways that you can make 2021 a serotonin induced year. Together, let’s make this negative pandemic into something positive!

1. Gratitude

There are ways you can induce a serotonin high. Serotonin is a neurochemical that we all make. It can be as simple as putting aside some time for gratitude. Get a jar and have your whole family write down 3 things that they are grateful for this year. Consider making a time capsule that will be opened in 5 years and see how things have changed. Journaling about what you are grateful for can also lower cortisol and promote positivity! I’ve started adding a gratitude section to my 2021 bullet journal, and it makes a big difference!

2. Exercise in Nature

Researchers have found as little as five minutes outdoors in a natural setting can improve mood, increase motivation, and boost self-esteem. Plus, aerobic exercise (walking, running, biking and swimming) significantly increases serotonin production in the body. You need about 30 minutes to get the serotonin “high.” 

So, what are you waiting for!? Get out and get walking around! Remember, bilateral exercises stimulate BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor), which is a brain growth hormone that integrates our hemispheres and promotes creativity. You might even have some insight and you get outside and enjoy the outdoors!

3. Massage

Massage therapy helps increase serotonin and dopamine, another mood-related neurotransmitter. It also helps to decrease cortisol. Try swapping 20 minutes of massage with a partner, family member, or friend.  

Even petting an animal can count towards comfort. Grab your dog or cat… or maybe not a cat… (I’m kind of more of a dog person). The act of touching can help produce oxytocin (that bonding hormone that makes you feel good).

4. Novelty

The brain reacts to novel experiences by releasing dopamine. You can naturally increase your dopamine by seeking out new experiences. 

When we are in a stressful circumstance (such as a pandemic), studies have shown that predictability and familiarity helps us feel calm and centered. That’s why people watch reruns of their favorite shows, because they know what is going to happen next. 

However, when you find that you are feeling safe and grounded, it is time to put some novelty into your routine. 

  • Do something different! Like a new hobby or game. 
  • Brush your teeth with the opposite hand. 
  • Make your traditional family recipe slightly different.

Doing novel things helps wake up the brain and allows you to be put in a better mood, more open, aware and curious! And, that just feels GOOD!

5. Pay Attention to Your 5 Senses (Especially Scent!)

Remember mindfulness and awareness begins with all 5 senses, which helps create flow state. One study found that bergamot essential oils are particularly therapeutic. Using your sense of smell, they prompt your brain to release serotonin and dopamine.

Consider adding soothing scents into your bath before you go to sleep. Studies show that lemon and lavender help you calm down and help regulate the nervous system

6. Sleep

Tending to sleep cycles is very important to making 2021 a great year! Circadian rhythm is what will regulate our eating, sleeping and metabolism. Try to stick to a regular routine. Don’t have caffeine at night and limit any distractions. For more information about sleep, read PILLOW TALK: 5 Ways to Improve your Sleep.

Rotten 2020 Celebration!

Looking for more positivity? Watch my Rotten End of the Year Celebration on YouTube. 

My name is Dr. Lara Salyer and I hope that this blog article helped reduce some of your cortisol. I also hope you are motivated to find the positive in 2021! You can find more ways to relax, re-energy and Color Outside the Lines on my website or social media.       

Dr Lara Salyer Blog Author Photo

Dr. Lara Salyer

I am a Functional Medicine Physician, Speaker, Author and Mentor located in Monroe, WI.


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