Today we will explore the third habit of happiness, physical well-being. This is not just about exercise but includes exercise, light and food. It's hard to say which is more important, they are all interdependent. This year the constant grey canopy that has greeted us daily has impacted many people's optimism. But of course, when the sun shines, everybody's mood improves. Listen to your body; sometimes, depression and flatness tell you something is wrong. Did you know some simple fixes can make a huge difference?
New studies show that 20 minutes of exercise done 3 times a week increases the production of Endocannabinoids (they work on our cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body). These help with pain relief, anxiety and stress reduction whilst enhancing learning and memory; they also affect inflammation, immunity and hunger.
This 20-minute commitment also increases BDNF; the Brain increases neuroplasticity ( your brain generates new positive connections). Derived from this, we increase creativity and mood; the Neurotrophic Factor helps slow ageing and nerve-generative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Definitely not too onerous, just a simple weekly date with yourself, and the rewards are enormous.
When I was searching for the spiritual meaning of light, this quote came up, ”Light conveys both an absence of darkness and a quality that will help us to see -- and understand -- more clearly.” No different then from the benefits of light in daily life. SAD is the acronym for seasonal affective disorder, which affects about 5% of people; this is when the lack of light during winter (especially for those further away from the equator). We used to follow the sun; we woke early and farmed or hunted according to the Circadian rhythm. This has now been turned upside down through the use of smartphones, transmitters and computers - what blue light tells our bodies is that we are in the middle of the day at night, and this impacts our sleep patterns; we need to take action and reduce screen time and switch our phone to night mode.
We know that lack of sleep affects our mood, so it may be time to make a change. Did you know that just 15-20 minutes in the sun will shift your mood and increase both Vitamin D and Serotonin secretion to help you feel calm and focused? It also has a positive effect at night, triggering the release of the hormone Melatonin which is responsible for good sleep. But on the other hand, lack of sleep contributes to depression. With insomnia on the rise, it would be accurate to say that we are co-creators of our reality through our dependency and technological usage.
The ancients Greeks thought of food as medicine, incorporating older ideas and remedies into their pharmacopoeia. They believed that poor dietary choices impacted health and their diets were carefully balanced with seasonal food playing a pivotal role. Unfortunately, our modern outlook has focused on convenience, with fast food, ready meals and takeaways playing a central role. As a result, diets are poor and unhealthy.
However, things have shifted significantly, and research shows that healthy gut bacteria, the microbiome, is the garden growing in your gut fuelled by high-fibre fruit and veg that heal your body and mood. In addition, omega 3, found in oily fish like Salmon, stabilises mood swings, and EPA positively impacts your emotions and helps lower the risk of heart disease. So why not replace sugar with fruits and veg, reduce red meat and eat more fish to reduce inflammation.
The Formula is simple.
Take exercise 20-30 minutes 3 x per week; first thing in the morning to get a daily dose of sunlight too (grab it when you can). This also mobilises your body's intake of Endocannabinoids and BDNF.
Feed your gut-friendly bacteria by eating fibre fruit and veg; try Symprove to rebalance your microbiome.