Naturally boost your mood and power up your nervous system for increased energy.
First the sympathetic nervous system is important for protecting you in times of stress and danger. It is the system that activates the fight, flight or freeze response. Very useful if you are in a fight with a bear, but not helpful long term.
The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for allowing you to rest, recover, and digest food to get energy for the next round of excitement. This is the state you need to be in 80% of the time so your body can work appropriately. It will help boost your mood and increase your energy.
Being in a constant sympathetic state (or under chronic stress) will cause digestive problems, because your body is focused on saving you, not digesting food. It causes increased anxiety and irritability, because of the increased heart rate and sense of readiness the body is producing. People in this state are often fatigued and sluggish, because the body is not getting good, quality sleep. Healing from injuries and colds take a lot longer when in this state as well.
Being in a parasympathetic state will allow your body to relax. The tension in your muscles will ease, you will sleep better and more soundly, you will have better digestion, and improved mental clarity. That sounds great, so let’s talk about ways to get you into a parasympathetic state to boost your mood.
One way to get into a parasympathetic state is to boost serotonin levels. Serotonin performs the role of a neurotransmitter to relay messages around the brain to support its functioning. Serotonin contributes to brain networks that regulate stress and anxiety. The chemical also promotes patience and the ability to cope.
One way to boost serotonin naturally is to smile more. Smiling activates your parasympathetic nervous system. This tells your brain that you are in a safe environment and naturally boosts serotonin to increase a sense of calm.
Naturally boost serotonin with exercise that causes you to sweat. Going for a walk doesn’t cut it. You must get your heart rate elevated, your breathing to the point where you can only say short sentences at a time, and you must break a sweat in order to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. Try doing push ups or squats against a wall for a quick workout that works!
Music engages the right side of your brain to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. One of my favorite ways to naturally boost serotonin is to listen to music or belt out your favorite song karaoke style!
Serotonin also helps you sleep better. What you choose to eat today affects your sleep tonight! For the best sleep, focus on foods that increase your tryptophan and have cinnamon. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that converts to serotonin in your brain. Serotonin helps to regulate your mood and enhances your sleep. You can get tryptophan in lean meats, such as turkey and chicken breast, and fish.