Sunday, October 24, 2010

Solutions Sunday! Stop a Funk Before it Starts

Take charge of your health while you can. I found this article in AllYou magazine, July 23, 2010 issue that can definitely help you out!

Stop a Funk Before it Starts

Use this guide to home in on habits that drag you down.

Not sure what's causing your mood swings? Take a look at this list to see if you've fallen prey to one of these feel-good foes--some might surprise you.

Mood Wrecker: Lack of Sleep. Shut-eye helps your body better regulate sertoinin, a happiness hormone in the brain. A good night's rest that's cut short or interrupted throws your system out of whack.

Mend It: Aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. Avoid stimulating activities such as television in the hour before bed.

Mood Wrecker: Caffeine. Your a.m. cup of coffee or tea may perk you up, but consuming caffeine from morning till night can lead to lower moods, even into the next day. Caffeine can linger in your system for up to 12 hours, making it difficult for you to get adequate rest.

Mend It: If you have trouble sleeping, keep caffeine intake to mornings only; otherwise, limit it to before about 2 p.m.

Mood Wrecker: Sugar. A sweet treat may give you a boost--thanks to the energy you experience when your blood-sugar levels rise--but the feeling is temporary. Your body overcompensates for the surge with a flood of insulin that then causes blood sugar to plunge, sometimes bringing on irritability.

Mend It: Confine sweets to mealtime. When your body is also processing fiber-rich, slower-to-digest foods such as whole grains or fruits, the sugar doesn't hit your bloodstream as rapidly, preventing a spike.

Mood Wrecker: Alcohol. As metabolism slows in middle age, your body doesn't process alcohol (a depressant) as well.

Mend It: Don't have more than one alcoholic drink per day.

Mood Wrecker: A Low-Carb Diet. Depressed about your weight? Forgo low-card, high-fat diets. They'll likely only send you further into the dumps.

Mend It: Reduce fat intake and eat complex carbs (like whole grains), which contain serotonin-producing tryptophan.

Mood Wrecker: Vitamin D Deficiency. Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D negatively affect mood, a particular problem in the winter months because you get most of your vitamin D from the sun.

Mend It: Aim to get a t least 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. Start with a supplement that contains 400 to 600 IU. Food sources of D include salmon, tuna and fortified milk, cereal and bread.

Mood Wrecker: Stress. Your body can handle short-term anxiety (a busy workweek), not prolonged anxiety (a divorce). Lingering issues create a constant flood of stress hormones to the brain--which can make you feel exhausted and irritable.

Mend It: The longer your experience sustained stress, the more likely you are to suffer from depression or an anxiety disorder. See your doctor if a tension-induced low mood sticks around for two weeks or more.

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