8 Ways to Hack Your Neurohormones and Improve Your Mental Health that are Supported by Evidence
As we continue to learn more about the human brain and its chemistry, we’re discovering that there are many things we can do to optimize our neurohormones and improve our mental health. Here are some recommendations based on data:
- Sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial for your mental health. According to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to experience anxiety and depression. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to keep your brain functioning optimally.
- Meditation: Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and increase feelings of happiness and well-being. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness meditation can be as effective as antidepressant medication for treating anxiety and depression.
- Exercise: Physical activity is a natural mood booster. A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that just 30 minutes of exercise per day can significantly improve symptoms of depression.
- Diet: Your diet can have a big impact on your mental health. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is associated with lower rates of depression.
- Learning New Things: Engaging in new activities and learning new things can stimulate the brain and promote the growth of new neurons. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as reading or playing chess, can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
- Sunlight: Getting enough sunlight is important for regulating your circadian rhythm and maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Sunlight exposure also boosts your body’s production of vitamin D, which is important for bone health and may also play a role in regulating mood. According to a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, individuals who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may benefit from light therapy, which involves exposure to bright, artificial light.
- Time in Nature: Spending time in nature has been shown to have a calming effect on the brain and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that spending time in green spaces, such as parks or forests, is associated with lower levels of stress and improved mood.
- Hugs: Physical touch has been shown to release oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of trust, empathy, and connectedness. A study published in the Journal of Psychophysiology found that hugging can help to reduce the physiological effects of stress and lower blood pressure.
By incorporating these recommendations into your daily routine, you can hack and optimize your neurohormones and improve your mental health. Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health, and taking care of your mind is essential for a happy and fulfilling life.