You may not believe this, but your health habits have a significant impact on your mood and the way you react to events happening around you. A simple exercise can create positive vibes; alternatively, having a totally laid back, lazy day might actually create negative vibes. So the burning questions is, how do your health habits affect your mood?
Several studies have proven that proper exercise can improve your mood. Reportedly, people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience sadness and depression. As evidence, many athletes agree that doing active sports such as running help makes them feel better. The elevation of mood during exercise can be explained by the four main neurochemicals that affect our mood: serotonin, epinephrine, dopamine, and endorphine.
As discussed in my previous blog, serotonin elevates your the mood. It can also increase feelings of satiety and lift depression. Our serotonin levels rise after exercise and when we spendi time with people who are dear to us. Conversely, serotonin levels drop when we are under chronic stress, anxiety, or starvation.
This neurochemical is responsible for the “fight or flight” response that occurs when we are afraid or under stress. Epinephrine is responsible for increasing heart rate and blood pressure, elevating blood temperature, and stimulating the sympathetic nervous system.
Dopamine is responsible for your sleep-wake cycle. Dopamine levels increase when there is a rise in serotonin levels.
Endorphines act as the body’s “natural painkillers”. They are responsible for decreasing the physical pain that can be experienced during exercise.
Bright lights vs mood lighting
Because serotonin levels increase with light, it can produce positive moods such as solemnity, restfulness, gaiety, activity, warmth, and coolness. As explained, serotonin helps elevate and improve your mood. So to ensure constant good feelings, ensure that you have sufficient room lighting and expose yourself to sunlight every morning.
All carbs are not created equally
According to a study conducted by the researchers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, people who follow a low-carbohydrate diet are more susceptible to mood swings. Simple carbs, those found in processed foods such as sweets, candy, and other like products, cause your blood sugar to elevate rapidly. They also digest very quickly, which increases your blood glucose and causes your body to excrete insulin. As a result, feelings of anxiety, stress, and irritation may result. Therefore, it is necessary to eat more complex carbs, but be sure to only consume what your body can handle.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon is associated with increased grey matter volume in the brain. According to a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, increased grey matter has been linked to mood and behavior. Their research shows that people with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids are more likely to have a negative outlook and tend to be more impulsive. People with higher levels of omega-3 manifested only mild or moderate symptoms of depression.
Increase serotonin levels with food
Increase your levels of serotonin by increasing your intake of the following foods:
Flaxseed/ flaxseed oil
Wild fish and sea food