By Susan Howard
I met with a woman getting her Phd in Nutrition Science and I asked her “why are we as a country so fat? What happened to us? Is it diet or lack of exercise or what?”
” Serotonin levels” she replied. “They are too low”, she continued. I stood stunned, and nodded knowing she was right.
“That’s what makes you feel happy, right?” I asked.
“Yes”, she confirmed, “we are unhappy so we are trying to find ways to make us happier and sugar, albeit brief does.”
In attempt to get through our day with our kids, in our jobs, we are turning to junk food to raise up our serotonin. I have read articles on the fact that we are less happy and that maybe it’s the expectation of happiness has gotten larger and therefore less reachable. Caveman were perhaps happy just to have slaughtered a bull so they can live for a while longer, or to come across a clean stream of water. Now if our wifi isn’t fast enough we are pissed, if our burger is over cooked we send it back, or if we don’t look like Cameron Diaz we feel ugly and fat. With the convenience of food and water we have all this extra time to survive, but perhaps not thrive.
Is it that we should practice gratitude for what we do have? Maybe we are vibrating on too low of a level and we are just plodding along and we need higher expectations of our self. Looking for excellence within our selves, feeling like we are growing and changing. It could be finding satisfaction in little things and being proud of accomplishments large or small.
Let me tell you this: If you use food as an emotional bandaid you will be overweight.
So how can we raise those Serotonin levels with out a pint of ice cream?
Here are 5 things I recommend:
Exercise: I am a trainer, of course I see that as a necessity. Particularly cardiovascular moves that get your heart rate up and get you sweating with give a mental boost. No time? Do something hard like hill runs 10 times, or jump rope for 10 minutes. Or play tag with your kids for 20 minutes. And remember, there is always time to prioritize your health and happiness.
Meditation/Yoga: Breathing and especially breath combined with movement has been linked to help chase the blues. There are guided meditations online that you can use to help you if you need them. Or sit down for 10 minutes a day with your children and do a relaxation exercise or listen to classical music. We have tried this experiment in our house and it works!
Healthy eating: Vibrationally if you can add some pieces of fresh, crisp fruit or some bright veggies you will feel different on a cellular level. If you are feeling lost or unmotivated, get some guidance from a nutritionist.
Take a class: Learn something new or go somewhere different. The mind gets into patterns or ruts and then everyday seems like the last. Change it up take a different route. Teach your children to break their patterns and their habits, try a new food, skip instead of run, do something different, they will love it!
Be love: Sometimes I get critical and frustrated with the people close to me for not behaving how I want them to. Instead of putting out blame, be the love you wish to receive. Emanate love out and it will shine back.
So get moving, your life awaits, you might as well enjoy it and the next time your kids go rolling down hills, put your phone down and do it with them. You will crack a smile, I’m sure of it.
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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