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Cold, dark days let you down? Tips to brighten even the darkest months

THE tree was downed and the fairy lights were put away for another year. Meanwhile, Green Monday is taking our toll (it’s January 17, FYI).

It’s hardly known to be the happiest month of the year – last January was the saddest month on record, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Don't write off January because some activities boost the chemicals our bodies need to be happy

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Don’t write off January because some activities boost the chemicals our bodies need to be happyCredit: Getty – Contributor

“There are many reasons for low mood when it is cold and dark. If you stay inside more to avoid the cold, or to avoid the threat of Covid, then you both decrease your connection to nature and increase your isolation from society – two things that we know are crucial to human well-being,” said Dr. Zoe Watson.

“The lack of sunlight is also a factor. There have been many studies linking low vitamin D levels to low mood, and humans rely on sunlight for 90% of the vitamin’s RDA. ”

But don’t skip January, because some activities boost the chemicals – such as serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins – that our bodies need to be happy.

And banishing the blues is easier than you think, even during a pandemic.

Serotonin Aka The Mood Stabilizer

Step outside to trigger the release of serotonin, literally giving you a sunny body

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Step outside to trigger the release of serotonin, literally giving you a sunny bodyCredit: Getty

Step outside It’s not just vitamin D that you get from exposure to sunlight. It triggers the release of serotonin to give you a literal sense of well-being. Try to get outside at least 20 minutes before noon to help you sleep better at night.

Start gardening We all know spending time in nature is beneficial, but did you know that getting your hands dirty can actually increase your serotonin levels? When you disturb the soil, it stirs up the bacteria in it, and especially the mycobacterium vaccae which, when inhaled, triggers the release of serotonin in the brain.

Eat eggs Certain foods contain the building blocks needed to make happy hormones. An essential amino acid required for serotonin production is tryptophan. “Look for it in eggs, lean meats, and dairy,” says Daisy York, nutritionist and co-founder of Meetaegle.com.

Choose dark chocolate Another available serotonin-boosting dark chocolate. And Love Cocoa elevates the mood even further by planting a tree for every bar you buy.

Oxytocin Aka Love Potion

Hugs or just holding hands releases Oxytocin, the hormone of connection and bonding

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Hugs or just holding hands releases Oxytocin, the hormone of connection and bondingCredit: Getty

Learn intimacy “Oxytocin is the connecting and bonding hormone, and our brains crave it to help us form bonds, keep our loved ones close, and build a community.” ,” says Marianne Killick, an integrative women’s wellness coach. That’s why touching, including sex, cuddling or just holding hands, is an easy way to release many of these beneficial chemicals in your brain.

Accepting a Compliment Being able to receive a compliment increases your sense of self-worth, but also sets off a chemical reaction in your brain and makes you feel good. The same goes for praise and positive conversation. So if you think something nice about someone, say it!

Massage It’s not just a physical connection with a loved one that releases oxytocin. “Gentle massage also encourages the release of oxytocin in the brain,” says massage therapist Vicky Robinson from Elysium Holistic.

Calling a Friend It’s time to ditch texting and hit dial, as studies show that actually hearing a friend’s voice can reduce stress and increase levels of the love drug.

“Feeling connected even while on the phone helps us feel safe and secure, and it can be relaxing,” says Sheena Tanna-Shah, wellness coach and rapid metabolism therapy. release oxytocin.

Give or borrow a pet “As a bonus, being with our pets lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol and can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack,” says life coach and founder of The People Person, said Lara Cullen.

Dopamine Aka Chemical Reward

Express Gratitude Dopamine is your brain’s motivational reward system. Every time you engage in activities that give your genes a high chance of survival – like eating food or having sex – you feel good. But realizing how good your life is can have a similar impact.

“When we express gratitude, by writing it down in our gratitude journal or saying it out loud to family and friends, our brain releases dopamine,” says Sheena. “Focusing on the positives strengthens the neural pathways in the brain, which over time allows us to feel content with what we have.”

Exercise “Regular exercise changes the reward system in your brain, leading to higher dopamine levels and more dopamine receptors,” explains David Starr, sports scientist at Eat Drink Win. Exercise can not only help reduce depression, but it can also increase your likelihood of being happy. He adds: “Do aerobic exercise, such as jogging, swimming, cycling, brisk walking, and skipping.

Celebrating Small Wins Dopamine can be triggered by achievements and completing tasks, that’s why it’s important to set goals or to-do lists and plan the steps to tick them off. can be extremely helpful. Sheena suggests: “Write down your goals, make sure they’re mouth-watering, and reward yourself as you progress.

Endorphins Aka The PainKiller

Try acupuncture because it stimulates the production of endorphins to target that location and help the body relieve pain

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Try acupuncture because it stimulates the production of endorphins to target that location and help the body relieve painCredit: Getty – Contributor

Try Acupuncture “The body treats the needles used in acupuncture as an injury and thus stimulates the production of endorphins to target that location and relieve pain in the body. It lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol in doing so.

That’s why someone may come in for a shoulder treatment, but find that they start to sleep better and their mood is balanced,” explains acupuncturist Maria Christofi.

Order vindaloo When the chemical capsaicin, which produces the heat of chili peppers, touches your tongue, your body registers it as a sensation of pain. Because endorphins reduce pain sensitivity, every time you eat spicy food, your brain releases these feel-good hormones.

Watch a comedy. “Scientists have found that physically hitting the abs when we laugh stimulates the body to release endorphins,” says Lara. So let’s giggle!

SMALL SHOPPING

BetterYou D3000 Vitamin Daily Oral Spray, £8.49Vitamins in sunshine help regulate mood and a deficiency can increase the risk of depression.

Healthspan High Strength Vitamin B Blend, £9.95: People with low levels of vitamin B1 (thiamin) are more prone to depression, and vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B6 ​​(pyridoxine), and B12 all have beneficial effects on mood.

Vogel Passiflora Complex Spray, £10.99: Contains the herbal remedy passiflora Incnata, AKA Passionflower, which boosts GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. This reduces brain activity and can help with relaxation and help with anxiety.

Visit: Mariannekillick.com and follow @Acupunture_is_alchemy on Instagram

The amputee quadruple and the beautician Isabelle Weall with everything on

https://www.thesun.co.uk/health/17223730/tips-to-brighten-even-the-darkest-of-months/ Cold, dark days let you down? Tips to brighten even the darkest months

Bobby Allyn

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