Do you feel better when you exercise? Well, maybe not during the exercise itself when your muscles are straining, and you have sweat dripping from your brow, but exercise can really improve your mood. No matter how hard your workout was while you were doing it, you’re going to feel great when it’s over.
The same holds true for eating well. When you put good stuff into your body, your body will work efficiently, which can have an impact on your health, mood and general wellbeing.
But neither of these things is a quick fix.
You probably realized that the first time you did a sit-up and didn’t get six-pack abs. Keeping fit isn’t a short-term solution for anything. It’s actually a lifestyle that can lead to increased happiness. Read on to learn how.
How exercise makes you happy
You know how you feel after a workout, and you may even know of a little word called endorphins, but do you really know why exercise makes you happy? Most people have only scratched the surface to uncovering this answer, but we’re going to explore it in some detail here.
Actually, when you exercise, your body sees the act as a moment of stress. That makes sense because you feel kind of like you’re dying. But because your body recognizes exercise as stress, it triggers the release of a protein called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This protein’s job is to repair and protect your memory neurons. This explains why you have a clear head after exercising.
While the BDNF proteins are at work, your brain releases those infamous endorphins. Why? Because your body goes into instant damage control mode. The endorphins help ease the pain, reduce discomfort and possibly even induce euphoria.
Interestingly, this euphoric effect is addicting in the same way that morphine or nicotine is addicting. This is exactly why exercise prevents substance abuse for some people. They are satisfied by the “high” they get from exercise, so they don’t feel they need to abuse substances. Of course, exercise may not be enough to keep everyone away from addiction, but it’s certainly worth a shot.
How good nutrition can make you happy
Nutrients aren’t likely to provide a euphoric effect in the same way that exercise does, but they can help keep you feeling happy.
You see, the body needs the right balance of nutrients to perform all of its many functions. Without the right balance, well, systems start failing. When we think of system failure, naturally we jump to the extreme. But it’s important to remember that systems begin to malfunction long before they actually fail.
When you don’t get enough of the right nutrients, your systems begin to malfunction. You’ll soon start to see the signs of nutritional deficiencies, which can include depression and anxiety (among many other things).
Deficiencies in the following nutrients can cause depression or depression-like symptoms:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B complex
It’s also important that your body is able to absorb most of the nutrients from your food, so be sure to take probiotics along with a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Unlike with exercise, it will take some time to improve your mood through nutrition. But once you get the right balance and maintain it over time, you’ll notice that your mind is clear, and you’ll be feeling happier.
When you combine exercise with good nutrition, the results are nothing short of amazing. And the longer you stick with a healthy lifestyle, the more benefits you’ll see.
Over time, you’ll become happier and more grounded than you ever thought possible.