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Reasons to be Mindful of Your Serotonin Levels

If you got a chance to watch our recent Health 1st “Mindset Monday,” clip, you’d know that we as a staff have been able to jump into Jordan B. Peterson’s new book, 12 Rules for Life.  Dr. Gina is a strong advocate for personal development and as we progress through one rule each week, it is my pleasure to share some critical takeaways with you all! This week, Dr. Peterson (a renowned, clinical psychologist) elaborated on the importance of “Standing tall with your shoulders back.”   

If your upbringing was anything like mine, this is an adage that we were told from the time that we were 5 years old.  My father and grandmother would quickly remind my BackStreet Boys-emulating self, to “stand tall, like a big boy!”  It turns out, however, that there is a lot more going on neurologically than self-induced confidence or good posture.  Enter Serotonin. 

One of the most vital neurotransmitters to the human psyche is known as 5-HT or Serotonin.  “The happy chemical,” as it is often called, has a wide array of uses in the body including helping to regulate mood, behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, and more.  Even if you feel like these bodily functions are performing adequately, stay tuned in.  An indication of low serotonin levels can manifest as nausea, blood clotting, depressive episodes, anxiety, low memory, and a decrease in sexual function, (   Remember, that our aim is optimal living, and if one can avoid counterproductive happenings by some of the controllable factors, that Dr. Peterson lays out…why wouldn’t you?   

So, what is it exactly?  Some consider Serotonin a hormone, though most agree that it falls under the neurotransmitter umbrella. It is formed by combining tryptophan (many people affiliate this with the tiredness that they feel after turkey consumption on Thanksgiving) with tryptophan hydroxylase.  Serotonin is produced in the intestines and the brain and thus relays information between neurons related to intensity, (  One could easily understand, then, how low levels of serotonin can negatively affect so many aspects of an individual’s life! 

If youre saying to yourself: “Self.  I feel like I have low levels of serotonin!  I need to fix that. Have no fear; two helpful recommendations to do just that are quite simple!  Dr. Peterson says that two of the biggest self-care implementations that he suggests to his patients are:  1) Sleep and 2) Breakfast.   

1) Sleep:  Though 7-8 hours is still the recommended amount of sleep each night, one of the best indicators to success is consistency in wake-up times.  “Anxiety and depression cannot be easily treated if the sufferer has unpredictable daily routines.  The systems that mediate negative emotion are tightly tied to the properly cyclical circadian rhythms,” (Peterson, 18).   

2) Breakfast:  In addition to the importance of habitual patterns, once a human being awakes after fasting all night, excessive insulin in the bloodstream counteracts blood sugar and “they become hypoglycemic and psychophysiologically unstable,” (Peterson, 18).   

So, remember the next time that you find yourself acting a little “moody,” or even depressed, remember the actions that you can very easily implement into your life.  But, even before all of that, remember that ever-present postural fix: “Stand tall with your shoulders back.”   Turns out that my grandmother was right, after all!    


1) Peterson, J. B., Sciver, E. V., & Doidge, N. (2020). 12 rules for life: An antidote to chaos. Toronto: Vintage Canada. 

2) Serotonin: Facts, uses, SSRIs, and sources. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2020, from 


-Brock Baumgarn, Chiropractic Assistant 


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P.P.S. For more information on ways to boost your serotonin levels, refer to these links! 






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