Your mood can alter how you feel mentally and physically, and it can affect your personal relationships. If you’re not feeling your best, it might be worth investigating what factors are contributing to the issue. Your hormones are often to blame if your mood seems to be irregular. Serotonin, specifically, can cause some issues when your body’s levels are too low.
If your levels are lower than they should be, you might notice some changes in how you feel. Paying attention to any changes can help you stay in tune with your physical and mental well-being. Keep reading for a list of side effects caused by low serotonin.
1. You’re Feeling Depressed
Serotonin is often called your body’s feel good chemical. If you’ve been having more negative thoughts or have been feeling sad lately, it could be due to low serotonin. Depression can heavily depend on hormone levels.
This sign is probably the most straightforward, but sometimes it’s hard to notice subtle changes. And, sometimes, people can get so busy that they don’t always pay attention to changing moods. Take some time to listen to your mind and notice anything that might feel different. Are you laughing as much as you used to? Are you enjoying the same activities? If not, your serotonin levels may need some attention.
2. You Experience Less Enjoyment Doing Regular Activities
Sometimes you might not feel depressed, per se, but you might find yourself not enjoying things like you used to. Have you noticed any changes in how you spend your free time? Rather than going out with friends, you might prefer to stay in by yourself. Perhaps your favorite meal doesn’t taste so great anymore. Maybe your funny friend’s jokes aren’t making you laugh as much recently.
These are subtle changes that can add up. You might not feel depressed, but allowing these feelings to go on unchecked can develop into something worse. These patterns might not seem like much, but they can make a big difference over time. Try to note how you feel when doing your favorite things. If you’re having trouble keeping track, a journal might help. If you’re feeling off, it might be time to seek help.
3. You Feel More Tired than Usual
One of the most common signs that you’re not getting enough happy hormones is feeling fatigued. You might feel drowsy all day, even after drinking your cappuccino. Caffeine may help give a little boost normally, but this kind of fatigue usually isn’t solved with coffee. This is a sign that you might be lacking in the serotonin department.
Additionally, trouble with sleep is another aspect of this fatigue. You might experience problems falling or staying asleep. Sometimes you might even experience insomnia. Although, fatigue can happen regardless of whether you get enough sleep or not. Fatigue can also be physical or mental. If your body or brain is constantly feeling tired, you might need to find a way to regulate your hormones.
4. Your Gut Feels Funky
While serotonin regulates mood, it also plays an important role in digestion. According to gastroenterologist Michael Papper, “95% of your serotonin receptors are in the GI tract.” That means your mood can greatly affect your gut health and the process of digestion.
If your gut is feeling off, it could be a symptom of anxiety or depression. Experiencing nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal cramping can all be tied to stress and mood changes. If you’re finding yourself in these situations frequently, it might be time to take some action to control your stress.
5. You Have a Lowered Sex Drive
The amount of intercourse a person has is personal, and what is normal for one person isn’t going to be the same for you. However, if you used to enjoy this activity on a regular basis and all of a sudden you don’t, there could be a problem. And your serotonin levels may be to blame.
When your mood is off, so is your libido. Logically, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to get it on when you’re not feeling your best. If you or your partner has noticed a decrease in activity, it could be related. If either of you use a tracking app and suspect your libido has lowered, look to see if there’s a noticeable change.
6. You Lose Focus
Have you noticed yourself losing focus lately? You might find yourself feeling more vacant or spacey. Or you could just be losing your train of thought more often. One of the signs of having low serotonin is an inability or lessened ability to focus.
Changes in mood and behavior can affect how well you pay attention. Whether you find yourself staring out the window during a meeting or spacing off at your computer screen, it can add up. Being unable to concentrate like you used to can be frustrating. No one likes to re-read the same page three times. Taking steps to increase your serotonin might help your ability to focus.
So you’ve noticed changes in your mood or physical health, now what? It’s no good to know what’s wrong and do nothing about it. Taking the necessary actions to prevent depression or worsened physical health is vital to your well-being.
If you feel like you’re exhibiting symptoms of lowered serotonin, it’s important to help boost your levels. Seeking professional help for mood changes can be wise. Medical professionals can offer prescriptions or mental practices. Other reactions, like changing your diet or getting more sleep, might be able to do the trick. It varies from person to person. But making sure you’re taking care of yourself and your mental health is a great place to start.