Food For A Better Mood

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

“You Are What You Eat”

Have you ever noticed how cranky and moody the world seems to be? People are constantly complaining and fighting about mostly irrelevant stuff. The frustration some individuals have been holding in is simply pouring out. I witnessed a person lose his mind in a store this week. The poor store employee was insulted and criticized beyond belief. Thing is that it actually had nothing to with the employee. The customer was upset because of the increased price. I just thought to myself, “if you can’t afford the item, don’t buy it”. Simple as that. No need to lose your marbles at the poor employee.

This is just one example of incidents I have noticed over the last couple of months. Tensions seem to be really boiling over. I know you cannot judge an individual on one incident, as you have no real idea of what they may be going through. They may be having a really tough day. Maybe they just lost their job or going through a divorce. We never know.

That said, it made me think of ways we can improve our moods overall. The most popular come to mind, meditation, mindfulness, relaxation and plenty other new age ideas. You know what I am on about. Then I thought to myself that a different approach to our diets might also have the desired impact. And if so, what foods do we need to include into our daily eating patterns to have an effect on our mood and attitude.

The following is what I came up with after tons of reading and research. I have been adding these foods into my diet and I have to admit that I do feel better overall. I get up easier and have better mental focus during the day. In the past I was completely drained by the end of the day, but now I have some energy left at night.

  • Banana

With a good supply of vitamins and carbohydrates it will help you feel full for longer and slow down digestion and also keep your blood sugar levels stable. It is rich with potassium and B vitamins it will provide your body with a more sustained release of energy.

  • Salmon

We all know by now that it is good for our hearts. With the energy-boosting omega 3 fatty acids it will increase energy production, brain activity and overall circulation.

  • Water

It is advised that we should always start our day with two glasses of water before we start our day. We should then only eat or drink something else 30 minutes later. The water will give your metabolism a chance to get going without the spike of sugars or whatever else is added to our normal morning routine.

  • Honey

Add some honey to your tea or breakfast. Daily intake has great health benefits like enhancing memory power and strengthening our nervous systems. This will lead to reduced stress and anxiety levels. Just ensure that it is organic honey only.

  • Almonds

These nuts contain a lot of zinc. Zinc is a mineral that helps balance your mood. Almonds also contain healthy fats and iron that inhibits brain fatigue.

  • Blueberries

The fruit contains phytonutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that all combat anxiety and depression symptoms.

  • Eggs

We all know by now that eggs are a great source of protein and iron. They are also rich in B vitamins that assist the body with turning food into energy.

  • Asparagus

Low energy levels have a major effect on our moods. Asparagus is one of the best sources of tryptophan, which helps create serotonin that is one of the brains primary mood-regulating neurotransmitters.

  • Avocado

Loaded with benefits ranging from protecting our hearts and helping with digestion, it is also great for improving our moods. Avocados are natural hormone balancers that ensure our brains are making the right chemicals needed to keep it feeling great. It is said to be the #1 food to eat to feel happier.

  • Strawberries

Rich in an array of vitamins and nutrients like vitamins A and C and manganese. Strawberries serve as a strong line of defense against brain degeneration, but also boost the happy chemicals our brains produce.

 

Add this to your diet and stick to it. You will notice that you will feel better as your energy levels increase. The next step you need to take is to get some exercise. The diet is only one part to improve your mood. Getting regular exercise has great health benefits. You do not need to join a gym and spend hours there every week. All you need to do is change small habits you have. Avoid taking the elevator; rather choose to take the stairs. Take your dog for a daily walk. Take a walk on your own if you have to. Go for a run when you can. Get your family to join you as it will inspire you to stick to it for longer.

So we have spoken what we need to put into our bodies to improve our moods and wellbeing, but there are some things we need to keep out and avoid.

 

  • Alcohol

  • Coffee (Read All Caffeine)

  • Sugar (Including Artificial Sweeteners)

  • Fast Food

  • High Sodium Foods

  • Tofu

  • Processed Foods

  • Wheat Bran

  • Hydrogenated Oil (Read Fried Foods)

 

Being mindful of what we put into our bodies and overall wellbeing has great benefits. We need to take care of ourselves to function at a higher level and be more productive. The benefits speak for themselves and your family will thank you as well. No one likes to be around a grumpy person for any amount of time.

Eat better and live better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting back to work.

Getting back to work.

“One Day or Day One, You Choose”

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

With the vacation coming to an end for most of us, I thought I could share some of my thoughts on getting back to the office and be effective and not just overwhelmed. I remember the days I dreaded getting back to the office after a vacation. All the catching up to do, the e-mails alone got me all rattled up. That was until I sat down and really though what I can do to set me for a less stressful return.

Most of us have the idea that we will get there all refreshed and ready for anything our jobs can throw at us. The reality of the matter is far from this.

Most will get back and be completely overwhelmed with all the tasks at hand. Meeting after meeting. Hundreds of e-mails and you will see your calendar just gets fuller and before you know it you hardly have time for some lunch. Before we know it we are looking forward to the next vacation.

When you walk into the office after vacation with a plan you can avoid being steamrolled with everything. Nothing will drain your energy and motivation than being overwhelmed and not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Before you set off on your well-deserved vacation, ensure that you have an “out of office” reply set up with your mail and phone before you leave. Keep it short but informative. Add the date of your return but also forwarding information. If it is urgent they can contact the person still on duty. Most offices will have some staff around during the holidays. You should use that to your advantage.

First thing I like to do when I get to the office is clean and organize my workspace. Nothing wastes time more than looking for stuff on a messy desk. This will just add pressure to the already stressful day. Keep a trashcan close and trash everything you need to. It’s a new year so surely you do not need all the stuff and old documents you left there before your departure. Start the year with a clean slate and a tidy desk.

Just as we have planned to go away we should plan to get back again. This will avoid a pile up of work when you do get back to the office. A great book to read on managing e-mail and electronic communications is “Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst”. We tend to spend hours everyday sorting through e-mails and messages. This book trained me to cut that time in half. This gave me added free time to get other tasks done. You should consider nuking your inbox when you get back to work. Just give it a quick look, flag any important or interesting mails and delete the rest. That is correct, just nuke it. This will prevent a complete waste of time going through e-mails that do not apply to you. Avoid reading you mails in chronological order.

Consider getting back a day or so earlier. We would all love to stay at the beach for one last or extra day. I choose to get home one day or even a couple before I have to return to work. This gives me time to settle in at home. Time to unpack and actually chill a bit. This will get you in the right frame of mind before getting back to work.

You should already have an idea of what to expect when you get back to work, so use that experience to your advantage. You know what time the meetings will be and how much time most tasks will take. Plan your day in intervals so you know that you will be able to complete what you need to get done. I tend to break my day up in 30-minute intervals. Most important tasks first. This helps me stay focused on one task at a time and it helps me complete more than I would when I try to do everything at the same time.

If possible, push meetings to a day or so after your return. It will help you to not be overwhelmed with everything. If you do have meetings on the first day your to-do list will just get longer. Also, if you do share a calendar with the office, block out some time in advance. If it looks like you are available you will get tasks added to your calendar by others.

No late night drinks with you buddies. There will plenty of time to catch up and have some fun. Postpone any after work activities till after you feel settled in again. The only drinks you should be focused on are water and coffee. We all know coffee is our friend. Leave the office on time and get good rest.

Last thing to remember is that you will miss some things. Things may happen that you do not really like or agree with while you are away, but that is fine. You have a vacation for a reason and it is to get some rest and time with friends and family. If you keep checking in with work you will not get the rest you need to be productive in the office for long periods of time. Believe me, I have seen people being burned out and then losing their jobs, not a pretty sight.

Good luck with the return and I hope everyone’s new year will get off to a cracking start.

 

What have you done in the past to get you to settle into work a bit easier?