Gratitude. What is it?  It is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Instead of thinking about what we miss, think about what we have during these times. What we miss will come back in time but depression, anxiety, and inactivity are becoming more rampant due to the current situation.

Physical activity is more important now than ever. We only get one brain and heart during our lifetime. Exercise affects the brain on multiple fronts. It increases heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also helps the body to release a large amount of hormones, all of which participate in aiding and providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells.

Here are some tips on how to choose the right exercise:

  • In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.
  • Aerobic exercise is great for the body and brain. It has known to improve brain function. Walking is one of the most natural and safest forms of exercise.
  • Exercising in the morning before going to work not only spikes brain activity and prepares you for mental stresses for the rest of the day, but also produces increases retention of new information, and better reaction to different situations.

Eating a healthy diet affects your mood and energy in a positive way. Here are some nutrition tips that can help with your overall well-being.

1. Omega 3 fatty acids – Omega-3 fatty acids have been praised for their health benefits, including possibly influencing your mood. One study from the University of Pittsburgh found that people with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to experience moderate or mild symptoms of depression.
Food sources that contain the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds, walnuts, and salmon

2. Berries – Stress aggravates depression symptoms and exhausts your body. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries may help prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. During stressful situations, cortisol heads toward your hippocampus, a major portion of the brain that stores memories, and provides emotional responses. The next time you are stressed, eat some blueberries instead of drinking that glass of red wine. 

3. Eat Less Sugar – Eating less sugar in general is better for your health. Sugar may give you a little happy boost at first, but research suggests that too much sugar and too few omega-3 fatty acids can functionally change your brain and slow it down. Research on how the brain works is always ongoing. But it’s a safe bet to stay away from sugar — especially if you’re feeling depressed. The crash after a sugar high can easily make you feel worse than before.

4. Vitamin D – Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because your body can make it by using cholesterol and absorbing natural sunshine. Your mood may improve with as little as 10 minutes of sun exposure. This is why light therapy is an important treatment for SAD. Your body can also absorb vitamin D through food. Food sources of vitamin D include milk, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fish that have bones. You can also get vitamin D in supplement form.

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All in good health,

Paul Nam