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10 Foods That Will Make You Happy Instantly

10 Foods That Will Make You Happy Instantly

Let’s face it, healthy food seems boring. Sure, they’re filled with healthy nutrients that our bodies need and could probably even help us lose weight if we threw a little exercise in. But where’s the fun? I’m sure that many of us would feel happier biting into an ice cream or a burger than a bland garden salad. Or at least we think we would.

The strange truth is that some foods are designed to hack our bodies into feeling happy. Even stranger is that they’re not all vegetables. That’s right, you can eat your feelings of happiness and actually enjoy the taste at the same time. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 foods that will make you happy, whilst being both healthy and fun to eat too!

1. Salmon

Salmon, and fish in general, are an amazing source of both nutrition and happiness. This is primarily due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve your mood and alleviate mild depression. Oily fish such as salmon also contain high levels of vitamin B12, which can help in the production of serotonin. This is one of the neurotransmitters that aids in feelings of well being.

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Not a fan of fish? No problem, just get your hands on some fish oil capsules for your daily dose of omega-3.

2. Spinach

Okay, I know I said I’d leave the vegetables alone, but there’s a reason that Popeye was all over this stuff. Spinach, along with other leafy greens, are high in folic acid, which is known to reduce fatigue and alleviate depression. They also contains high levels of magnesium, which is essential to maintaining adequate levels of serotonin. No wonder it made Popeye toot his horn!

3. Poultry

Chicken and turkey contain several amino acids that help you to maintain a happy mood. The first is trytophan, which helps to make serotonin. Be careful though, over indulging can result in feelings of sluggishness. The second is tyrosine, which aids the body in coping with stress. It also works as a building block for norepinephrine and dopamine, two of the neurotransmitters that are responsible for controlling your mood.

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4. Milk

In addition to having an abundance of nutrients, milk can also play an important role in our moods. The first is due to it containing iodine, which is important for proper thyroid function. The thyroid gland regulates almost the entirety of your body’s functions through the hormones it produces, including your mood. The second is due to the presence of whey protein in milk, which is said to alleviate anxiety. Got milk?

5. Brazil Nuts

Similar to milk, Brazil nuts can positively effect your thyroid function. This is because they are rich in selenium, a micronutrient that helps the body to function correctly and is usually only found in plants. The amazing thing about selenium is that it its believed to have an almost instantaneous effect. This makes the nuts perfect for a quick energy fix.

6. Chocolate

There’s a reason why you feel so happy and satisfied after indulging in this sweet treat, and that’s because of a group of chemicals found in chocolate called N-acyclethanoloamine. They stimulate channels in the brain to release endorphins – the body’s pain-relieving and pleasure feeling chemicals. So, if you have some chocolate you’ll subsequently feel happy. This is important, because feelings of well being are imperative to maintaining our cardiovascular systems.

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Despite its proven health benefits, we’re not giving you permission to inhale as much chocolatey goodness as your heart desires. Moderation is the key. Studies have shown that we need less than 7g per day, which equates to only 2 or 3 small pieces a week. So by all means, get those endorphins flowing, just don’t go crazy.

7. Chilis

This may sound preposterous, especially to those who aren’t fans of spicy food. But believe it or not, hot food can make you happy and provide you with a sense of well being. This is all thanks to a little chemical compound called capsaicin, which is what gives chili peppers their heat. When you eat something spicy the capasicin attaches itself to the pain receptors in the mucous membrane of your mouth and nose. Subsequently, the brain is told that it’s in pain, so it releases endorphins. Maybe that’s why some people like spicy food so much?

8. Honey

A sweet treat that is far healthier than sugar, honey can also have a positive impact on your mood. This is because it contains kaempferol and quercetin, chemicals which reduce inflammation in the brain and therefore helps to prevent depression. Honey also has has far less of an impact on your blood-sugar level, which means you won’t have a sudden
sugar crash that can leave you tired and depressed.

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9. Coconut

Coconut can be a fantastic way to keep yourself happy because of its high levels of triglycerides. These are fats that aid your mood and promote brain health. Be careful how you get your coconut dose though – coconut milk and coconut based desserts are quite unhealthy. Your best bet is unsweetened, natural pieces of coconut or coconut shavings.

10. Pasta

That’s right folks, pasta and other forms of carbohydrate rich foods can actually be good for you. They do call it comfort food for a reason. The carbs are great because they release energy slowly whilst simultaneously helping us to feel full and satisfied. In addition, pasta is full of protein which contains two important amino acids – L-pheny-lalanine and trytophan. As we’ve previously learnt, these release endorphins which help to elevate our mood.

It’s important to note that whole grains are a far healthier option when it comes to carbohydrates, so stick to multigrain or wholemeal bread, brown or basmati rice and wholegrain pasta.

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Tegan Jones

Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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