Boost Your Happy Hormones
BY LYNN LOPEZ
We’ll occasionally feel down —- that’s perfectly normal. We ways of coping on days when nothing seems to go right and you can’t shake off the feeling of dread and sadness.
Fortunately for us Zen ladies, our bodies contain hormones which have an impact on our mood and behavior. Such hormones include dopamine, endorphin, serotonin, and oxytocin, which all contribute to feelings of well being and happiness. We can give them an extra hand so they work better to keep our bodies and moods in the right balance with these seven tricks:
1.GET SOME EXERCISE.
Elle Woods in Legally Blonde wasn’t kidding when she said that exercise produces endorphins, which make people happy. The pituitary gland releases endorphins when you’re excited and during exercise. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine in the US, exercising for 30 to 45 minutes releases endorphins. Exercise itself was described as equally effective or more effective than antidepressants.
2. EAT PROPERLY.
Avoiding sugar and processed foods is advisable if you want to lose weight or simply eat healthier. But making good food choices can also help boost happy hormones. For example, bananas are said to be particularly good for increasing dopamine levels because it contains a chemical related to dopamine. Drinking green tea is also advisable because it contains polyphenols that increase dopamine. Walnuts and whole grains, on the other hand, are great for boosting serotonin levels while whole grains, fish, cheese, and broccoli give Vitamin B and Folic acid, which work together to produce serotonin.
3. STEER CLEAR OF ALCOHOL.
Yes, we know that many will resort to have a drink – or five – when they feel like their problems are too much and they want to forget. Guess what? Alcohol doesn’t help get rid of depression at all or make you feel better. In fact, it can make you even more depressed. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK, alcohol affects the chemistry of the brain, increasing the risk of depression.
4. TAKE SOME ST. JOHN’S WORT.
St. John’s wort is an herb commonly used to treat depression and was found to be as effective as standard antidepressants. According to the Australian Medicines Handbook published in 2007, taking St. John’s wort can help boost serotonin levels.
5. LAUGH WHEN YOU CAN.
Laughter increase endorphins. According to Oxford University, laughter involves physical exertion and eventually exhaustion. Exhaustion in turn triggers the release of endorphins. The harder you laugh, the more endorphins will be released. Even if you’re not in the mood to laugh, give it a try anyway — you’ll end up feeling a whole lot better afterwards!
Meditation is just as effective as high-impact exercise in releasing endorphins. In addition, people who meditate are found to have higher levels of a neurotransmitter that helps stabilize mood disorders.
7. REACH OUT AND HUG SOMEONE.
If you’re felling down, touching or hugging someone might be last on your to-do list. But make an effort anyway. Pleasant physical touch prompts the body to retain the brain chemical oxytocin, which is known as the “love hormone.” It enhances feelings of love, trust, and generosity – which definitely lift your mood.