Hey Threadies! Let’s talk mental health for a change.
HA! When don’t we talk mental health. Alright, lets get into it.
If you’ve been keeping up with Threads Podcast: Life Unfiltered on social media, you saw this:
Some folks genuinely need medication to balance some of these hormones, and that’s OK. But there are things we can do to increase these hormones naturally.
Why are these hormones important to my mental health, anyway?
Dopamine: The Reward Chemical
Psychology Today says, “The brain releases it when we eat food that we crave or while we have sex, contributing to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction as part of the reward system. This important neurochemical boosts mood, motivation, and attention, and helps regulate movement, learning, and emotional responses.” So if you’ve ever felt not-quite-right, unmotivated, or couldn’t maintain focus, you might be low on dopamine
Oxytocin: The Love Hormone
Psychology Today wrote that oxytocin is “the chemical foundation for trusting others. Activated by positive social interactions, it makes us care about others in tangible ways, and it motivates us to work together for a common purpose.” They also said that increasing oxytocin…[will] increase empathy and compassion….”
Serotonin: The Mood Stabilizer
Viva!Health explains serotonin this way–“when our body has plenty of it, we feel wonderful,” but that when we don’t have enough, it causes “trouble concentrating, remembering things and may [cause you to] feel anxious or even depressed and lack motivation.”
Endorphin: The Pain Killer
“Endorphins are neurotransmitters secreted in response to stress and pain,” according to GoodTherapy.org. “Endorphins stimulate feelings of pleasure, well-being, and pain relief, making them an essential component in a balanced, happy life.”
How do you boost these bad boys without meds?
Diet, regular exercise, better sleep, meditation, listening to music, and completing tasks all contribute to more dopamine.
Foods that increase dopamine:
List from MS Focus Magazine:
- all animal products
- fava beans
- green leafy vegetables
- green tea
- lima beans
- olive oil
- sesame and pumpkin seeds
- soy products
- wheat germ
- foods high in natural probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, and raw sauerkraut
Touch. Hugs, massages, holding hands…whatever. Touch raises oxytocin. Telling people you love them also does this. Giving gifts to people you care about increases oxytocin as well. I see why they call it the love hormone. (Source: Pyschology Today)
Eat less sugar. Get a massage–it reduces cortisol, which blocks the production of serotonin. Get in the sunlight. Mediation works. Supplements, such as a multivitamin, are beneficial. (Source: Lifehack.org)
Exercise more. Eat chocolate and chili peppers (not together, unless that’s your thing). Sex releases endorphins. Massage. Meditation. Laughing. (Source: GoodTherapy.org)
Meditation, less sugar, less caffeine, doing yoga, exercise, human touch, nutritious diet, and a few supplements will go a loooong way towards improving your mental health. You know what else is good for your mental health? Reading the Threads blog, and (obviously) listening to the Threads Podcast.
Finally, if you need to talk to someone, try Threads‘ sponsor, BetterHelp.org. It’s affordable teletherapy, anytime, anywhere. And if you use click the link, you’ll get 10% off your first month!
Good luck out there, everyone!
Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five! Follow me here: