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By Columnist Kylie Edwards – Personal Trainer, Sports Medicine Practitioner and Running Coach:

18996701963_ec8722ae12_bPhoto credit: blue. via photopin (license)

Australians’ use of anti-depressants has doubled over the last decade and we are now the world’s second highest prescriber of anti-depressants behind Iceland. While these drugs are necessary in many cases, it seems drugs that are a ‘last resort’ are now being reached for at the first sign of a melancholy day. While it is always recommended that you consult your doctor when experiencing severe symptoms or after trauma, there are some biohacks that may help enhance your mood and happiness. Here’s a few to get you started…

Do Rei Mei

A recent study found that the stress hormone cortisol dropped in cancer patients who sang for one hour in a choir. Singing not only tones your vagus nerve, which connects the organs all the way from your brain to your gut, but it also plays a major role in regulating your nervous system. Low vagal tone is associated with inflammation and illness, while vagus nerve stimulation can improve blood pressure and alleviate depression. If you can’t bring yourself to sing in the shower or along with The Wiggles, try breathing exercises or playing wind instruments. The study also found that those with the lowest levels of mental well-being and highest levels of depression experienced the greatest mood improvement.

Got Some Booch?

If you haven’t heard about kombucha you soon will. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that has been around for centuries. You can brew it yourself with the help of a starter culture or you can buy it at most health food stores. It contains vitamins B1, B6 and B12 which are known to help the body fight depressions, improve concentration and stabilise mood.

Green is the New Black

L-theanine is a brain boosting, anxiety-reducing amino acid found almost exclusively in green tea. It increases levels of serotonin and can make you more resilient to stress. It has the unique ability to increase alpha brain wave activity, which puts you in a similar brainwave state to that achieved during meditation. Remember green tea does contain caffeine so if you are caffeine sensitive or want to monitor your dosage you can take l-theanine supplements instead of drinking green tea.

About Our Sports Medicine News and Review Columnist


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