Let's talk about
the Feel Good Chemicals
Let’s talk about our Feel Good Chemicals Serotonin, GABA and Dopamine are commonly referred to as the happy brain chemicals because of their strong presence when we are well, happy! We know that prolonged periods of stress along with our fast-paced, fast food society, greatly contributes to an imbalance of these brain chemicals, meaning the stresses of COVID-19 may have affected your imbalance more than you’re aware. Luckily, there are really simple ways of boosting these chemicals back to life! Start by refueling your body with a healthy diet, ensuring you are getting enough good, deep sleeps, and even time spent outside in the sun can help increase levels. So get outside for a walk/ or run and feel the happiness rebooting within you.
Here’s how our happy chemicals work:
Serotonin is a well-known key player in mood and anxiety, and adequate levels of this chemical lead to an improved sense of well-being. But did you know that there is more serotonin produced in the gut than in the brain and helps to control bowel movement. After ingesting something bad it is serotonin that causes diarrhea for removal from your body. It is also involved in sleep, blood clotting and libido - too high a level can lead to loss of libido so balance is always important. When your levels are balanced you will feel happier, calmer and more balanced.
GABA is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it blocks, or inhibits, certain brain signals and decreases over-activity in your nervous system. When GABA attaches to a protein in your brain known as a GABA receptor, it produces a calming effect. This can help with feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear.
Dopamine is known as the reward brain chemical. It is release in anticipation of a reward and when in balance brings a feelings of pleasure and increased motivation, improved memory and focus. It is an amino acid, therefore eating sufficient protein can help ensure adequate levels of this important brain messenger. The amino acid Tyrosine in particular, plays an important part in the production of Dopamine. Tyrosine rich foods include turkey, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, avocado, banana, and cottage cheese.