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The Second Brain: Boosting Serotonin to Enhance Learning

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The Second Brain: Boosting Serotonin to Enhance Learning

We have all experienced, from time to time, that uneasy feeling you get when something doesn’t seem right. Often, we can’t put our finger on it, but we know that we feel bothered. For children, that uneasy feeling may show up as grumpiness or irritability, which can interfere with learning. Serotonin is a significant chemical in the body related to feelings of unease so boosting it should be an essential piece of the learning environment. By intentionally increasing this “feel good” component, programs that are children focused can bring about the most success to each child.

Serotonin plays an important role in our overall wellbeing and is a natural mood stabilizer. When we have those uneasy feelings or that “gut feeling” about a person or situation, it is because ninety percent of the serotonin in our bodies is produced in the gut. This is because the brain and the gut were formed from the same embryo cell line and remain in communication via the vagus nerve. Because of this, our stomach is typically considered our “second brain.” When people encourage others to “listen to your gut,” this is the reason.

But not only does serotonin help with mood but it has also been found to also affect learning and memory. It assists in constructing new neuropathways in the brain which strengthens the ability to learn new information more quickly. When levels of serotonin are higher, the overall mood is better so cognitive functioning is enhanced. However, when those gut feelings appear in children, they often show signs of poor impulse control and inattention and feel irritable. Low serotonin levels can contribute to this which ultimately leads to difficulty learning.

To create a learning environment that boosts serotonin, it’s important that the atmosphere is inviting and the teachers are enthusiastic. Having classroom routines in place and camaraderie among students will boost serotonin levels. The result will be the creation of an effective place for learning which will ensure that students’ brains are completely engaged.

By targeting multiple factors that boost serotonin, we can create an environment that is conducive to learning. When children have higher serotonin levels, their moods are more stable. This makes learning more efficient and their ability to remember information is enhanced. Students then become more satisfied in their accomplishments and their good behaviors are reinforced.


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