I skipped my cycling schedule today. Chances are that I might skip it tomorrow as well.
I go jogging since 4-5 years. Yet, sometimes, for a fortnight or so, I want to wake up late and live a lousy life.
I’ve come across several people, majority of them which are women, who are ‘moody’ and have tremendous mood swings.
Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. It’s proof that you’re still human and not a computer program.
One day I put my researcher hat on, and looked into the issue to see why this happens. And I was not surprised – it is nothing but a chemical flaw!
The human brain is the CPU of a human being, and it uses the nervous system to send “control signals” to various parts of the body.
These control signals are transported with the help of chemical fluids called “neurotransmitters”. Now these neurotransmitters are very much essential and a slightest imbalance will affect mood, sleeping pattern, weight, etc.
For us, two particular neurotransmitters are important: Dopamine and Serotonin.
I will call it as the “materialistic” neurotransmitter. Dopamine is responsible for your hunger, chocolate cravings, music downloads and whatever makes you feel “better”. However once the action is done, more dopamine is released and the cycle continues. This is probably why after eating one piece of chocolate you feel like eating the entire packet. Dairy Milk Silk, anyone?
This is the “nirvana” neurotransmitter. Unlike dopamine which makes you satisfy your desires, serotonin actually makes you feel happy. It does so by either increasing sleep, or reducing stress and anxiety, etc. Again, more serotonin is released after each action, and hence probably we feel like sleeping even after we wake up in the morning.
The key lies in keeping both of the chemicals balanced. Why? Here’s why:
Case 1: Excessive Dopamine, Low Serotonin
In such a case, a person gets absolutely materialistic. You keep on eating McBurgers and Icecreams but you’ll never feel satisfied. Or may be you emptied your wallet and credit card on the entire season’s fashion collection!
Case 2: Excessive Serotonin, Low Dopamine
In such a case, a person loses interest in life. He gets slow in action, lacks proper decision-making skills and probably starts wearing shabby, un-ironed, black tshirts along with unwashed jeans.
Case 3: Low Dopamine, Low Serotonin
Sleeplessness, excessive hunger but no satisfaction from taste, staying away from friends but stalking people on Facebook, etc. are common symptoms of this disorder. You don’t want it to happen to you. Not even if you either fail a test or have a breakup or whatever.
I believe I have scared you in someway. Feeling you’re affected by any of these symptoms? You can still be “normal”. Here’s the solution:
- Change your diet. Dump fast food. If possible, go on a fruits-only diet or a raw-vegan diet for a few days.
- Start exercising. But don’t hit the gym yet. You need to go slow – the treadmill should be replaced by walking in a real garden with real people. Or start cycling like me.
- Meditate. Somehow meditation is an integral part of the morning puja performed by Hindus. May be there’s something similar in your religion. If not, start yoga or something.
- Wake up early, while the sun is “bright orange” and not “bright yellow”.
These four steps will help you balance your levels of Serotonin and Dopamine, and you will be able to control your mood.
Remember – better mood = better decisions = better enjoyment = better life.