When it comes to finding happiness and contentment, serotonin is your friend. This neurotransmitter is a chemical nerve believed to promote feelings of goodwill. A lack of serotonin often manifests itself in a lack of willpower: you crave instant gratification or else you feel down, irritable, depressed.
Normal levels of serotonin relieve anxiety and give you a sense of calm. But how does exercise help?
Simply put, exercise boosts serotonin. Conclusive evidence suggests exercise is a potent antidepressant that improves mental well-being in both the clinically depressed and emotionally stable. It does this by ramping up the production of serotonin in the human brain. Plus, after you’ve finished your workout, your brain continues to produce tryptophan, an amino acid that paves the way for serotonin production.
Funnily enough, the number one reason most of us don’t get off the couch is because we don’t “feel like” exercising. But ironically, that’s probably because our serotonin levels are low. Get past the slump and you’ll reap the benefits.
Eating well helps too
To double down on your sense of well-being, make subtle changes to your diet. Tryptophan, which paves the way for serotonin, is found in food like nuts and seeds, salmon and cheese. Meats like chicken, lamb and turkey are also good carriers of the amino acid, so cut the sweet stuff and get your dose of healthy veg and meats.
Our lifestyles promote depression
Human beings weren’t designed to spend eight hours a day behind a desk, two hours behind the wheel of a car and eight hours in bed. We were hunters and gatherers, roamers, craftsmen. Many scientists believe a lack of exercise is one of the principle reasons behind the mass consumption of antidepressants. With the rise of sedentary lifestyles, we’ve seen an avalanche of depression.
Staying active is not only a potent way to save off unhappiness, but an effective method of getting the most out of the bodies we were born with. In the end, our bodies react favour to working up a sweat and exercise should be a core component of modern lives.