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Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness



The Secret to A Healthy, Happy Brain

Do You Know What Makes You Happy?

Studies show that the human brain πŸ§  recalls bad memories and remembers negative experiences more easily and in greater detail than good ones. Researchers say our brains have developed this way, perhaps for evolutionary reasons. For example, negative threats such as being hunted, had a more immediate effect on our ancestors' survival compared to positive things like food or shelter.

Negative emotions such as fear and sadness trigger increased activity in a part of the brain linked to memories. As a result, you likely know what makes you unhappy, but do you know what makes you happy?

Take a look at the news headlines about COVID-19 and mental health in the image below.

How do you feel when you read these news? Would you agree with me that you will mostly feel overwhelmed, nervous, anxious, stressed, worried, gloomy? I believe it's pretty clear that we inherently know what makes us unhappy. When we "feed" our brain πŸ§  with worries, we get unhappiness.

Recent studies have shown that news avoidance during the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with better mental well-being. So, pandemic news avoidance does seem to provide some happiness. However, do you want to know the secret to a happy brain?

The Secret to A Happy Brain 🧠

#1: Understand Happiness Chemicals

When we feel good, our brain releases one of these happiness chemicals, known as DOSE.
D for Dopamine, O for Oxytocin, S for Serotonin, and E for Endorphin.

What do these happiness chemicals do?

Dopamine, the Reward Chemical 😊 gives us the determination to accomplish goals, desires, and needs.

Oxytocin, the Love Hormone 😍 gives us feeling of trust and motives us to build and sustain relationships.

Serotonin, the Mood Stabilizer 😌 makes us feel significant or important among our peers.

Endorphin, the Pain Killer πŸ˜– responses to pain and stress to alleviate anxiety and depression.

What happens if the happiness chemicals' level goes down?

From the chart above, you can see how deficiency of any of these happiness chemicals can affect us.

How can we increase happiness levels?

There are many ways to increase the levels of our happiness chemicals as seen in the chart above.

#2: Taking Care of Your Brain Health

There's a lot you can do for a healthy brain. Below are 6 tips for good brain health by World Health Organization.

A healthy πŸ‘πŸ» brain is a happy 😁 brain.

πŸƒ‍♂️ Keep physically active (exercise)
🍌 Eat a healthy diet (improve your diet)
😴 Get enough sleep (restful)
🧩 Stimulate your mind (mental stimulation)
πŸ’Ÿ Look after your heart (maintain a healthy weight)
⛑️ Wear a helmet (during physical exercise or dangerous work)

🎭 Emotion management and πŸ‘₯ connecting with people are beneficial for brain health too.

#3: Nutrition for Brain

Regarding nutrition for brain health, I'm a believer in natural food and food supplements.

A Harvard nutritionist and brain expert shares the 5 foods she eats every day to sharpen her memory and focus.

Extra dark chocolate contains antioxidants and cacao flavanols that help preserve the health of brain cells. It also contains fiber to help reduce brain inflammation and prevent cognitive decline.

Eating an assortment of red, blue, and black-colored berries rich in flavonoids may help slow down cognitive decline, prevent oxidative stress, help brain cell health, reduce symptoms of anxiety, and help fend off neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.

By adding a pinch of black pepper in turmeric, piperine—the compound in black pepper—activates curcumin—the compound in turmeric—and increases the bioavailability of anti-inflammatory substances to the brain and the body.

Leafy greens contain folate, which is a B vitamin that supports neurodevelopment and neurotransmitter function.

Fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, yogurt, kefir, kombucha boost our gut health which also improve our cognitive function (gut-brain connection).

The infographic above shows my go-to supplements for brain health.

#4: "Rewire" Your Brain

People who are grateful, mindful, and optimistic are more likely to be happy.

You can "rewire" your brain to be happy by simply recalling 3 things you're grateful for every day for 21 days.

You can practice being mindful by learning to have an open mind, focus, and enjoy the present moment.

Being optimistic means practicing to be hopeful, not fearful about the future, especially post pandemic.

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