Feeling out of sorts? Unfulfilled? Blasé? Bored? Depressed? Anxious? Frazzled? Sad?
Sure, you could take a pill for that and feel a little better – maybe – but I’ve got a better answer for you: Diet and exercise. Change your eating habits and your physical lifestyle, and you can completely change your outlook and your life! Mind and body work together to produce your emotions, and how you treat your body fuels everything that happens inside it. Don’t believe me? Try this for one week and report back:
Eating (and Drinking) for Happiness
Green tea is my coffee substitute of choice because, while caffeine can cause anxiety and jitteriness, green tea works as a stimulant and calms you down with an amino acid called L-theanine. One study showed that taking L-theanine before a test helped students stay calm.
Salmon, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and flax seeds have some of the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s help brain function, and as you know, your brain controls nearly everything. One study from Ohio State University found that students who increased their intake of Omega-3 fatty acids experienced a 20 percent reduction in anxiety.
Eggs, shellfish, tuna, and grass-fed lean beef are high in Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins. We need a wide range of B vitamins for our brains to function best, and when we’re not getting them, our brains can make us feel depressed, anxious, and irritable.
Avocados, legumes, bananas, fish and dark green leafy vegetables hare rich in vitamin B6, another B vitamin associated with improving mood and reducing anxiety and depression.
Yogurt and probiotics have been shown to reduce “behaviors associated with stress, anxiety and depression” in mice, according to a 2011 study published in Discover magazine.
For more tips on what to eat to improve your mood, click here!
Exercising for Enthusiasm!
My favorite study reports that aerobic exercise is an effective treatment for many forms of depression. It’s not news – this study came out in 1999. Depressed adults who engaged in aerobic exercise actually improved as much as those on Zoloft. In 2006, another study was conducted that found that exercise led to a 30 percent rate of remission (which is as good, or better than, drugs).
You don’t have to take up one specific exercise – just pick one you enjoy. Jogging, swimming, long walks on the beach, hiking, tennis – anything that gets you moving!
For the best results, you need 3-5 workout sessions per week that last 45 to 60 minutes. Ideally, you should reach 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.