There are three very simple ways of doing this.
Bright light raises serotonin1. A review by Simon Young in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience said that autopsies of people who died in the summer show a higher level of serotonin in the brain than those who died in the winter. This helps explain SAD2and why we generally feel more depressed in the winter. The review quoted points out that our exposure to daylight has dropped dramatically. This can be overcome by getting outside more often or by using specially developed bright lights. However, on a Paul Chek course I remember learning that SAD is a sure sign that all is not well in the body. At that point I did indeed suffer from SAD. Since that course I have worked hard on myself to improve my general health and digestion, and my SAD has completely disappeared . The same is true for my clients who all became markedly more cheerful when they started taking good basic supplementation.
The second method of raising serotonin is quite simply getting ourselves into a good mood, as the Young review states. Of course, if your life is collapsing around your ears, this is easier said than done. But assuming this is not the case, then developing positive thinking, having a good laugh or even just smiling will do it.
The third way of raising serotonin is through exercise3. As posited in Serotonin 4, the probable reason is due to competing amino acids being used in the muscles during the exercise, leaving more tryptophan circulating in the blood than normal. Studies do vary greatly as to conclusions on this subject though.
Serotonin levels can be measured along with other essential amino acids in a blood test. And if depression is severe, then this is a sensible course of action since other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and GABA are also major players and to merely increase serotonin by supplementations – be they pharmaceutical or natural – is not necessarily going to help or may make things worse. However, improving serotonin levels by entirely natural methods like making yourself healthier, careful use of diet or making yourself laugh is quite safe, since this also has a good effect on the whole person.