Joyfulness is a beautiful and elusive thing. It’s easy and common to get bogged down with the everyday life stuff. The things that need doing, or cleaning, or getting, or disposing of. There are lots of repetitive activities, frustrating waits, stressful rushes. I get that. There is also, in all of these moments, an opportunity to be happier.
We’ve just finished talking about MTHFR and the different neurotransmitters – serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine as well as my somewhat offbeat neurotransmitter theory so it seems like a good time for some joyhacks. Small, everyday things you can do to boost your joyfulness long-term.
Simple Joyhacks with A Big Impact
I am 100% sure you’ve seen a list like this before, but the question is, have you acted on it? I talk to so many people about joyhacks who say they’ve heard of some of these actions but haven’t actually added any of them into their daily routine.
Almost all of these will take 5 minutes or less, with the exception of exercise (shoot for 7 – 10 minutes at least) and meditation (if you can get 10 minutes, you’re great!) These aren’t hard, you just have to remember to do them.
- Set small goals, and meet them. The simple joy of crossing something off a list actually boosts your dopamine. It also boosts your self-confidence because every time you set goals you can meet you are showing yourself that you can finish things and you can meet your own expectations. It’s a joy double-whammy.
- Don’t set yourself up for failure. Be realistic about what you can achieve given your time, energy, and other demands (family, sleep, etc…) Failure has a negative impact on your joy.
- Sleep. No matter what else you do, prioritize sleep. If you can, take a small dose of melatonin at bedtime. It helps boost serotonin, helps clear excess norepinephrine, and protects your brain from oxidative damage. Also, it improves your sleep.
- Sunlight early in the day. Getting 15 minutes of sun exposure in the morning as early as possible is a great boost to your vitamin D and all of your neurotransmitters. If sunlight isn’t possible, invest in a lightbox or a good full-spectrum bulb.
- Exercise. Not only is exercise good for literally every health parameter we know about, but it’s also amazing for your neurotransmitters and helps your body to optimize literally every one
- Balance your methylation. This is all about MTHFR after all…
- Meditate. If you can meditate regularly, even if it’s just 10 to 15 minutes a day 4-5 days per week, your mental health will change rapidly. This is one of the simplest, quickest ways to hack your headspace. Meditation isn’t just sitting quietly for a few minutes, it’s an active process. There are a ton of great free or low-cost resources out there. When you first start meditating expect to notice your mind getting busier before you notice it getting calmer. That is totally normal.
- Hold a pencil in your teeth every day for 2 minutes. This forces your body to make a smile, even when you don’t feel like it and smiling boosts your serotonin. Seriously.
- Trade massages with someone close to you. Or, pay a professional. Human touch and massage are a big deal for neurotransmitter levels, plus it feels awesome.
- Listen to beautiful music, appreciate art, appreciate nature, sing, or play. You have so many great options here and each one of them will help to boost your dopamine. Whichever one makes you smile to think about. When you do this activity, do it with your whole attention. Don’t listen to music while you work on the computer – take 10 minutes and really listen.
- Every time you notice a negative thought, come up with a positive one. Optimism and joyfulness are as much about habit as anything else. We did a whole post on breaking mental bad habits and also what to expect when you’re breaking mental bad habits, and this trick is a simple balancing act. Every time you notice yourself getting down on something, try to find three things you’re happy about or that you appreciate about that thing, person, or situation.
- Minimize your hassles. A body of interesting research shows that the small things have a much greater impact on happiness than the big things do. That’s small hassles and also small rewards. If you can find ways to minimize your small hassles – like shifting your hours so you don’t drive in rush hour, or taking the extra junk out of your closet so the only clothes that are left are things you truly love, like a capsule wardrobe, it has a significant impact on joy.
These are all small things, and even small things can feel overwhelming when you’re overly anxious, stressed, or depressed. But go through the list and find the one that makes you smile. Maybe you’d like to play and blow bubbles in the park, or maybe the idea of holding a pencil in your teeth for two minutes a day is absurd enough to get a smile out of you. But whatever it is, pick one small thing and do it every day. Every day for at least a month – then let me know how you feel.
Can MTHFR gene mutation lead to cysteine deficiency?
Yes, MTHFR gene mutation can potentially lead to cysteine deficiency. This is because MTHFR mutations can affect the body’s ability to produce L-methylfolate, which is required for the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. Methionine is a precursor to cysteine, so a decrease in methionine production can lead to decreased cysteine levels in the body.
Cysteine is an important amino acid involved in many processes in the body, including the production of glutathione, which is an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative damage. A decrease in cysteine levels may therefore lead to a decrease in glutathione production, which may contribute to a range of health problems, including inflammation, oxidative stress, and increased risk of chronic diseases.
It is important to note that not everyone with MTHFR gene mutation will necessarily experience cysteine deficiency, and the severity of the deficiency may vary depending on the specific mutation and other factors such as diet and lifestyle. If you have concerns about your MTHFR status and the potential for nutrient deficiencies, it is recommended that you speak with a healthcare provider who can evaluate your individual needs and make personalized recommendations.
What is the connection between MTHFR gene mutation and Parkinson’s disease?
There is some evidence to suggest a potential link between MTHFR gene mutation and Parkinson’s disease, although the exact nature of the relationship is not yet fully understood.
One study published in the journal Neurology found that individuals with MTHFR gene mutation were more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, particularly if they also had a history of smoking or were exposed to pesticides. Other studies have suggested that MTHFR gene mutation may affect the metabolism of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked to increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s.
It is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between MTHFR gene mutation and Parkinson’s disease, and not all individuals with MTHFR mutation will necessarily develop the condition.
If you are concerned about your risk of Parkinson’s disease or other neurological conditions, it is recommended that you speak with a healthcare provider who can evaluate your individual risk factors and make personalized recommendations for prevention and management.
Can MTHFR gene mutation increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease?
Yes, there is some evidence to suggest that MTHFR gene mutation may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Studies have found that individuals with certain variants of the MTHFR gene may be more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, particularly if they also have other risk factors such as exposure to environmental toxins or a history of smoking.
One possible explanation for this link is that MTHFR gene mutation may affect the metabolism of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been implicated in the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Specifically, MTHFR gene mutations can lead to increased levels of homocysteine in the blood, which may contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain.
It is important to note that not all individuals with MTHFR gene mutation will necessarily develop Parkinson’s disease, and other factors such as age, genetics, and lifestyle also play a role in disease risk. If you are concerned about your risk of Parkinson’s disease or other neurological conditions, it is recommended that you speak with a healthcare provider who can evaluate your individual risk factors and make personalized recommendations for prevention and management.
How does MTHFR gene mutation affect the body’s ability to produce carnitine?
MTHFR gene mutation may affect the body’s ability to produce carnitine, although the exact mechanism is not yet fully understood. Carnitine is a compound that plays a crucial role in energy metabolism by helping to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, the “powerhouses” of the cells, where they can be burned for energy.
Studies have found that individuals with MTHFR gene mutation may have lower levels of carnitine in their blood, and that supplementation with carnitine may help to improve symptoms associated with MTHFR-related conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. It is thought that MTHFR gene mutation may affect the metabolism of certain amino acids, including methionine and homocysteine, which in turn may impact the production of carnitine.
However, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between MTHFR gene mutation and carnitine production, as well as the potential implications for health and disease. If you have concerns about your carnitine levels or symptoms associated with MTHFR gene mutation, it is recommended that you speak with a healthcare provider who can evaluate your individual needs and make personalized recommendations for supplementation or other interventions.
MTHFR is a common genetic mutation that can contribute to anxiety, depression, fatigue, chronic pain, infertility, and more serious conditions like breast implant illness, heart attack, stroke, chronic fatigue syndrome, and some types of cancer. If you know or suspect you have an MTHFR variant, schedule a free 15-minute meet-and-greet appointment with MTHFR expert Dr. Amy today.Book Your Appointment