All posts by Vegard Gjerde

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24 Timeless & Stoic Truths From Marcus Aurelius

One of my favorite books is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Aurelius was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He is considered the last of the five good emperors and an important Stoic Philosopher. Marcus Aurelius’ quotes reveal some timeless truths of life that we all can benefit from.

1 – The Time for Action Is Always Now

“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.”

Your actions speak louder than words. We can intellectualize forever what we should do, but action is the true gold.

“You suffer justly if you choose to become good tomorrow rather than to be good today.”

2 – Integrity Is a Treasure

“Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.”

Always do what you know is right. Then nothing can harm you.

3 – Build a Haven of the Mind

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.”

Inner peace is always accessible within. Continue reading

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6 Important Questions To Help You Become An Expert Decision Maker

Every day we have to make tons of decisions. What you decide determines what happens in your life. Whether it is a friend who wants you to join him in the park or an acquaintance with a business opportunity, you are called upon to be a decision maker.

Become an Expert Decision Maker

Few identify themselves as an expert decision maker. Nevertheless, it is easy to become one. You only need a decision making model – a simple decision making process.

When you ask these 5 questions it becomes easy to make a decision. As you go through the questions, decide on which two are the most important to you.

The 6 Questions for Decision Making

1 – Will the Return Be Bigger Than the investment?

You can invest time, energy and money. Money is the easiest to understand, so I’ll use that as an example.

The returns are either in money, health, relationships or happiness.shutterstock_349179854

You’re standing in the store and see a Snickers. You feel that craving inside and feel torn.

Continue reading

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Serotonin and Depression: Symptoms of Low Serotonin

Low Serotonin

A couple of years before I started University, I lived a completely different life. I ate cheap food of questionable nutritional value. I had poor mental habits and exercised little to nothing. I felt anxious in social situations. Today I can recognize the symptoms of a dysfunctional serotonin system, something I could not back then.

Low Serotonin Causes

shutterstock_274692137We have more material things than ever before, but happiness seems to slip through our fingers. In our relentless pursuit of happiness we do the things that destroy it.

We wreck our health, both mentally and physically. The results are low levels of the chemicals that put smiles on our faces.

The number of americans on SSRI antidepressants nearly doubled between 1999 to 2012, from 7% to 13%. SSRI’s are a special class of drugs that block reuptake of serotonin. This leads to increased concentration of serotonin in the synaptic cleft.

Related reading: How Your Spiritual Awakening Is Helped by This Chemical in Your Brain

Low Serotonin Symptoms:

Low serotonin can lead to feelings of [1,2]:

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How Your Spiritual Awakening is Helped by This Chemical in Your Brain

Spirituality is the process of unveiling that everything is connected. We have an important partner in this process. Serotonin helps us see more connections.

Reveal The Truth

To unveil the truth we need the ability to learn. We need to be open to new experiences. We need the cognitive flexibility to accept new discoveries of life. And we need the ability to include others in our concept of self – to see that we are all interconnected.

Higher Order Thinking and Serotonin

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Discovering Oneness is a learning process. It is a gradual process of finding more and more connections. Ultimately, it culminates in the aha-moment where all the pieces fit together.

Buddha contemplated existence for years before his neural pathways had matured enough to let him see the full picture. Continue reading

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14 Powerful Ways to Naturally Increase Your Serotonin Levels

High Serotonin

Peaceful, fulfilled, calm, open, clear-minded, laid back, socially dominant [1,2,3,4]. Life with high serotonin levels can be beautiful.

Read about the link between meditation, serotonin and psychedelic states: Psychedelic Buddha: How to Get High Without Drugs

Serotonin Deficiency

Anxiety, depression, pessimism, aggression [5,6]. Life is bleak when you are low on serotonin.

Thankfully there are natural ways to increase your serotonin.

1 – Increase Serotonin with Meditation

Bahai-Meditation

Serotonin is one of the reasons why we feel peaceful and calm after sitting down and letting go of thoughts. Meditation has been shown in several studies to increase serotonin levels [7,8].

Meditators also have higher levels of the sleep promoting hormone melatonin. Melatonin is made out of serotonin in the pineal gland [9].

You may also enter deep states of bliss and euphoria while you are practicing meditation. This is probably a result of the combination of elevated serotonin and dopamine levels [10]. Continue reading

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How to Naturally Boost Your Brain’s Serotonin Levels

We all have an awkward ancestor or two. That guy who wore a wolfskin coat and ran around gathering food and chasing wild animals. And that weird girlfriend of his who walked bare breasted and digged in the ground for food.

They didn’t have chairs or Netflix. They didn’t even chill much. However, their rate of depression and anxiety was close to zero.

A Cure for Depression?

meditation-brain-2There is a connection. Motion creates emotion. Exercise, or daily life as it was for our ancestors, is the single best method for balancing our brain chemistry. It has a proven effect on both depression and anxiety [1].

Related reading: “Overstressed? Studies Show Mindfulness Programs Work Better Than Stress Management Programs

Increase Serotonin Naturally for Free

Serotonin is one of the brain chemicals getting pumped up when you move your body [2]. Special serotonin neurons are activated, leading to you making more serotonin and releasing more [3].

Exercise as a Tryptophan Supplement

Exercise also increases the amount of tryptophan entering your brain [4] – a persistent effect after exercise. When tryptophan crosses your blood-brain barrier, your brain immediately starts transforming it into serotonin.

Tryptophan Competes with Branched Chained Amino Acids

Tryptophan competes with other amino acids called branched chained amino acids (BCAA) to cross the blood brain barrier [5]. Exercise takes BCAA’s out of the bloodstream [6,7], letting tryptophan enter your brain.

Exercise Recommendations

First of all, just start! Start with five minutes of walking outside each day and slowly work yourself up to over 30 minutes a day. The more exercise the better when it comes to brain chemistry.

Exercise like our ancestors moved. Walk and jog almost every day for at least 30 minutes. Run a couple of times a week, and sprint all out a few times a month.
About Vegard:
Vegard Gjerde is one of the two founders of Global Harmony Crew.

Subscribe to Global Harmony Crew to go deeper. When you subscribe you get their 20$ inner peace course for free.

Learn more about brain chemistry from their Udemy course.

References:
[1] Salmon, P. “Effects of physical exercise on anxiety, depression, and sensitivity to stress: a unifying theory”. Clinical Psychology Review, 2001.
[2] Jacobs, B. L., Fornal, C. A. “Activity of serotonergic neurons in behaving animals”. Neuropsychopharmacology, 1999.
[3] Rueter L. E., Jacobs, B. L. “A microdialysis examination of serotonin release in the rat forebrain induced by behavioral/environmental manipulations”. Brain Research, 1996.
[4] Chaouloff, F., et al. “Motor activity increases tryptophan, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, and homovanillic acid in ventricular cerebrospinal fluid of the conscious rat”. Journal Neurochemistry, 1986.
[5] Pardridge, W. M. “Blood-brain barrier transport of nutrients”. Nutrition Reviews, 1986.
[6] Davis, J.M., et al. “Serotonin and central nervous system fatigue: nutritional considerations”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000.
[7] Blomstrand, E. “Amino acids and central fatigue”. Amino Acids, 2001.