Why stress and a bad diet can equal low mood.
We know the importance of breakfast – of heading out into the world with a belly satiated and content. We’ve been told this since childhood. Yet many of us hit the road running on empty, leaving just enough time to pop into the nearest coffee shop (where the line is long, making us late which adds stress) to grab a coffee and croissant.
Cortisol and adrenaline (caused by stress), caffeine and sugar are obviously not optimal fuel for a balanced life And when we’re stressed, we tend to operate from the part of our mind which is concerned with survival, the fight/flight part of our brain. Firing on all cylinders is great when we are faced with a threatening situation but not so good when we are starting our working day.
The fight/flight part of our mind is not a positive place to be as it sees everything from the worst possible perspective (it was designed that way to ensure we survived) and it speaks the language of anxiety, depression or anger. With not enough fuel and too much stress we become reactive and emotional and we don’t produce as many happy hormones, like serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, that we need to stay balanced and happy. When we produce a nice steady flow of our happy hormones we feel content, motivated, we make good decisions and feel in charge of our health and well-being. A win-win in other words. So what can we do if we have ended up having bad habits?
What to do?
The good news is that it is relatively easy to change this once you are aware of the consequences and it is all within your grasp. To change you can make a decision today, a promise to yourself, to take a small step towards your goal of feeling happier and less stressed. Getting up 15 minutes earlier could ensure you had time to make yourself a healthy breakfast which would fuel your morning and keep you going until lunch time. Here are some suggestions that you can begin to incorporate into your life as early as tomorrow.
- Porridge – oats release fuel slowly and will keep you full for a long time. Add things you love such as nuts, seeds, berries, cinnamon, cardamom, nut butter, chia seeds, coconut oil and the milk of your choice.
- Eggs – a wonderful source of protein and incredibly healthy. Boiled, poached, scrambled, friend or as an omelette with tomatoes and spinach. The world is your oyster when it comes to eggs.
- Toast – smash an avocado on top and add sliced tomatoes, poached eggs, or smoked salmon and add chili flakes, salt and pepper.
Decaffeinated drinks can be ok if you choose your sources carefully. Many companies now use a water method for the decaffeination process which is much healthier for you. And caffeine stays in your body for a LONG time so if you are having problems sleeping then swapping your drink for a herbal or a decaf variety could be the answer.
And finally, instead of rushing to work, try to slow down and enjoy the journey. Think of all the things in life that you are grateful for and look forward to.
Wishing you all a wonderful day!