Serotonin has long been credited as our mood regulator. It plays a role in how we feel, and low levels of the neurotransmitter may cause issues with happiness. We've been warned that taking drugs can mess with our serotonin, but there are a number of other unexpected habits that can affect serotonin levels as well. If you're feeling anxious, depressed, or even just experiencing low energy, forgoing these habits can help replenish your serotonin levels, which can improve how you feel overall.
"Serotonin is one of the body's 'feel good' chemicals," psychotherapist Avery Neal, M.A., LPC. tells Bustle. "It affects mood, aggression, sex-drive, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, the desire to socialize and more."
Some people have naturally lower levels of serotonin, due to low brain cell production of serotonin, issues with serotonin receptor sites, or a shortage in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps create serotonin. Other times, people's serotonin levels are low because of the habits they engage in. Staying away from these habits can help maintain your levels of serotonin — and you might find that nixing these bad habits has positive affects in other areas of your health as well.
Here are seven unexpected habits experts say affect your serotonin levels.