What if I told you that feelings of stress could actually be linked to vitamin D deficiency? We know vitamin D is important for many reasons, but mitigating stress for a healthy mindset is a big one.
Depending on where you are, in the winter months, it’s often not easy to get the vitamin D you need from the sun. Even on a sunny day, the sun is going to be lower in the sky compared to where it is in the mornings and evenings during the summer.
The good news is vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning that it can be stored in your body for months. Plus, there are ways to get vitamin D in your diet. Eggs and salmon are decent sources of vitamin D. Then there’s the whole world of supplements.
This is a critical topic that I cover extensively in chapter 10 of my book, Infinity Health Manual, which you can read here.
Winter season reveals another attribute of the sun’s rays when it comes to the health of your mind. When the eyes interact with sunshine, the body produces serotonin, improving mood.
Because we’ve hit the mid-winter benchmark the simple fact is that for a couple of months now, we have been getting less sunshine. The problem is when we get less sunshine, and the body produces less serotonin which is a chemical messenger in the body responsible for keeping a positive mood. Yup, the “winter blues” is a real thing.
Note - heads up, you can get the winter blues at any time of year if you’re indoors all the time and your eyes are not exposed to sunshine. The rays of the sun, necessary to produce serotonin, don’t travel through glass. Even sitting next to a sunny window won’t help. So lace up for your sunny walks. Cold outside or not, ‘vitamin sunshine’ is essential for health - both physical and mental.
With less sunshine, not only is the production of serotonin reduced, but the body also produces more melatonin which is why you may also feel drowsy and less motivated. Sunshine balances your circadian rhythm by telling your body when to increase and decrease your melatonin levels. So sunshine also influences the quality of your sleep.
As you may know, feeling the blues (increased stress, irritability, depression) when it’s connected to getting less sunshine is diagnosed as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). (Not sure why they call it “disorder” since this is something the body is naturally susceptible to.)
Now, for the really good news: there are some simple yet incredibly powerful ways that will help boost your serotonin production! So don’t delay if you’re not feeling your greatest! Make today the day to give yourself a healthy serotonin boost!
Here are three highly effective ways to boost your serotonin levels:
1) Digestive Health - did you know that the majority of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal system? Wow, that’s major! This is why Infinity Greens, the flagship of the Infinity Superfoods, includes the precision blend of enzymes, soluble fiber, and algae - together these have a powerful influence on our digestive health. (I will be sharing more about the digestive system and brain health connection in a few weeks!)
2) Exercise - exercise boosts serotonin! And, of course, especially under the sun! Cold and rainy? Get to the gym! Or yoga, anyone?
3) Get outdoors for unadulterated sunshine whenever possible. Relentless clouds? A light therapy lamp may be helpful. These lamps are dedicated to serotonin production. However, they, of course, do not replace pure sunshine.
Many methods of reducing stress via a healthy lifestyle are within our day-to-day reach. Who are you spending time with? Do they lift you up or bring you down? Do you have daily practice for improving your mindset? Like daily meditation? Reading self-help books? Or got a spiritual practice developing in your life? Naturally, all of the above have a great influence on our mental and emotional health.
It’s also important to be mindful of what we expose ourselves to on television and social media. Is what you watch and read positive and uplifting? Or the opposite. How what we watch has a positive or negative influence on our peace of mind is not breaking news.
Optimizing your body’s regulatory system for a healthy mind with simply the right sun exposure, exercise, diet, and lifestyle for the purpose of mitigating stress, boosting mood, and improving mindset. And powerfully via ways that are well within our reach... Wow, I like that.
Keep it up, my friend! It’s a joy to offer you some coaching, and I hope you benefit from what I shared today. Lastly, I always love hearing back from you. Your questions and comments influence future newsletters, and it's just nice to know you're out there!