Some people seem to have an intoxicating zest for life; they are happy, healthy and relaxed amidst the ups, downs and turmoil of daily life stressors. They often manage to find the magic in the present, taking everything into their stride with an authentic smile. However, society is fuelled with constant stimuli and distraction, thus, it’s seemingly inevitable that most individuals get caught up in the hustle and bustle, chaos and anxiety that consumes this fast-paced environment.
Scientific studies show that mental health and brain function are intimately linked to a healthy microbiome (gut), and therefore the foods that we consume can profoundly affect the way we feel and our mental wellbeing. Over 95% of Serotonin, our happy hormone, is produced in the gut so making sure that we eat the correct nutrients in our diet is paramount.
POW Food understands that diet is such an important factor in balancing mood which is why we have curated an 'Eat To Support Your Mood Speciality Box' with the help of Samatha Bourne Registered Nutritionist, Author and Therapist, DipNT, NTCC, CNHC and our fantastic chefs. It has been designed to provide an abundance of gut-loving probiotics, antioxidants and nutrients so you can ease through life, happy and relaxed with more time and less hassle.
*Vegan options available*
Stress levels are difficult to manage and mediate in such a world with many adversities and the common phrases such as ‘look on the bright side’ and ‘power of the positive mindset’ can be dreaded to those who don’t have this happy-go-lucky natural attitude.
When the turbulence of life feels unbearable there are in fact many ways to accelerate a feeling of zen and let the light in. We’ve come up with a few tips you can implement to do just that.
We all know how important a sufficient amount of exercise is in our overall physical health, but what about our mental and emotional health? Physical activity triggers the release of tryptophan in our bloodstream which increases serotonin and melatonin production, and gives us a boost of endorphins and a natural release of dopamine. Exercise can also bring you into a meditative or flow state, where you can detach yourself from triggering thoughts and focus on your body and breath. Movement for just 30 minutes a day can make a monumental difference on your mood, ability to combat stress and make you generally happier.
It is not just your body that the term ‘you are what you eat’ refers to. Eating a balanced diet is a huge factor in maintaining your mental and emotional wellbeing. Scientific studies reveal that brain function is intimately linked to a healthy, thriving microbiome. The foods and substance you consume can change the balance of microbes and cause ’Dysbiosis’ - feeding your beneficial bacteria and starving the bad, can profoundly affect the way you feel – it’s true eating for a healthy microbiome will make you feel happier and making sure you have the right nutrients in your diet can make you feel more relaxed. Selenium, folic acid and tryptophan are substances which have been implicated in keeping a stable mood. Tryptophan is needed to release serotonin and melatonin, but relies on vitamin D for production, so also be sure to incorporate vitamin D into your diet.
Here are some top tips:
- Remove as much gluten foods from your diet as possible as most people are sensitive even without realising it. Gluten can affect mental health, not just physical health. Choose healthy foods rather than go down the commercial GF route. Like rice, quinoa, corn, pulses and root veg for your carb fix.
- Choose high mineral content foods like green leafy veg, seeds and oats, these are a great source of ’nature’s sedative’ magnesium, that will help you relax and aid a better sleep, vital for maintaining mood.
- Make sure you consume healthy essential fatty acids and Omega-3s as these are vital for brain health and performance, as well as reducing systemic inflammation and regulating serotonin levels.
- Consume colourful fruit and vegetables, the antioxidants in these foods support circulation and oxygen flow to the brain
- Pay attention to how much fibre you consume – soluble and insoluble fibre from grains, stalky veg, fruit and pluses are the vital foods that beneficial bacteria thrive on and have a positive effect on mental wellbeing.
- Remove sugars and simple (white) carbs from your diet as this is toxic for the gut environment and affects well-being due to fluctuations in blood sugar.
Like exercise, meditation helps to increase serotonin levels while decreasing levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). Meditation also brings your attention to your body, and is helpful when practiced regularly in understanding and detaching yourself from triggering thoughts/feelings. Practicing meditation daily will help elevate your positive thoughts and assist your critical thinking, which will in turn lead to a happier and healthier routine.
4. Say what you mean & mean what you say
People like agreeableness, because it tends to work in the favour of the person on the receiving end. However, being a people pleaser can lead you down a vicious cycle where you 1. Worry too much about what other people think of you and 2. Often regret not speaking your truth. Agreeableness doesn’t tend to get many people anywhere. Each time you say 'yes' to something that doesn't fully resonate with you, you are essentially saying 'no' to your own mind, thoughts, goals and dreams. Be true to yourself and say what you mean, even if it ends in debate; debate solves problems, saying ‘yes’ does not.
Sleep is essential for leading a happy and healthy life, yet many of us neglect it. It plays a vital role in maintaining our physical and mental wellbeing. Sleep is our recovery period, and when we don't get an adequate amount, it can have detrimental effects on mood. Mental health concerns such as depression & anxiety are strongly linked to people who suffer from sleep deprivation.
6. Put down the phone
Excessive screen time can manipulate dopamine receptors, meaning that it can affect our mood. Constant unnatural light also affects the release of melatonin and can in turn disturb our sleep pattern, vital in managing hormones which control mood.
- Meaningful connections
With the rise of digital interactions, the increase in loneliness has been monumental. Meaningful social connections are absolutely vital to your mental wellbeing, in fact, I would argue whether lack of meaning and loss of connection are undoubtedly the main causes of unhappiness/anxiety/depression. During a time in which you may feel lost and it is hard to understand your purpose, reach out to the people that love you. Have genuine and deep conversations, whether that be about your feelings, ideas, society, politics, your thoughts on the economy…the topics are endless. The point is to get to the depth, where you are engaged - a space with no judgment, where you feel nourished and nurtured - that’s where you feel truly bonded to another individual.
- Connect with nature
Studies show that spending time in natural environments & green spaces can reduce physical and psychological stress. Humans have a natural desire to be in nature; we are primitive beings. Studies show that as little as 40 seconds looking at natural scenery can relax the brain, so imagine what a walk in nature could do!
Emotions are controlled by a primitive part of our brain called the limbic system, so there is no surprise that when we try to contain emotions it can often increase our stress levels and even cause physical pain. As you’re confronted with an unwanted feeling, simply bring your conscious mind into the experience. Let your body feel and release the emotion whilst reminding yourself that feelings aren’t always rational. When you cry for long periods of time your body also releases endorphins which alleviate stress and make you feel good.
Without sounding too clique, life is a journey; if we didn’t suffer distressing periods, we wouldn’t appreciate happier times. Often unhappiness fuels self-improvement, and our desire to discover new horizons and adventure, leading us to become better versions of ourselves. The aim is to be fulfilled, and with practice and determination, that should come…
Shop our 'Eat To Support Your Mood' Speciality Box HERE to keep balance in check and ease through your fabulous lifestyle with none of the hassle.
As always, we wish you the best, and hope that this information will bring you a little closer to an improved, healthier and happier version of yourself.
POW Team x