Balance December 2017 - 38

NEUROCHEMICAL ROMANCE

but certainly not ecstatic. I feel I've established
a foundation. Now I want to build a proper high.
To that end, I go in search of drugs. But this
time, my dealer is a health nut. Dax Moy is a
healthy lifestyle coach whose work ranges from
getting actors fighting fit to putting a spring back
into the step of elderly people who'd otherwise
be sofa-bound. Moy and I have worked together
on many projects and his knowledge on herbal
supplements always terrifies me. What I need,
it seems, is rhodiola and ashwagandha.
He explains: 'The first is a gentle stimulant
with mood-boosting properties and the second
is a powerful anti-inflammatory that's been
shown to help out the brain.' He's not wrong:
both are finding their way into nootropics
- new wave pills formulated by Silicon Valley
scientists looking to turn a buck from the
nascent smart drugs industry.
Of all my recent forays, these yield the most
palpable results. Rhodiola actually has a slight
rush to it mildly reminiscent to coming up on
ecstasy. (Big emphasis on mildly, but there's a
feeling nonetheless). It is a stimulant, so talk
to your GP before trying. A day high-dosing
ashwagandha has left me entirely calm. There's
perhaps some placebo effect at work, but who
cares? I feel great.
A nutritionist friend also suggests I add
L-theanine into my drug cocktail. This is the
amino acid found in green tea that calms the
nervous system, reducing anxiety. He also
explains that it can affect dopamine levels. I
pop one in the evening. I'm not sure exactly
what knocks me out (this is an inexact study,
it must be said) but my girlfriend finds me
three hours later after a drool-soaked nap. I'm
usually far too highly strung for such pleasures.

RHODIOLA
ACTUALLY HAS A
SLIGHT RUSH
TO IT, MILDLY
REMINISCENT
TO COMING UP
ON ECSTASY

STAY AT THE TOP
6am artificial sunrise (the 'energy' setting on
the Hue bulbs in full effect). Rhodiola instead
of coffee, washed down with a glass of water
and some ashwagandha. I'm reading the
paper and am genuinely pumped for the day.

FIND
YOUR
BALANCE
INCREASE
YOUR NATURAL
HIGHS
38

It feels almost trite to come to this positive a
conclusion after only two weeks, but it'd be
dishonest of me to say otherwise.
A surprising but entirely welcome side effect
is the improvement in my work output. I feel
more content and less distracted. My girlfriend
suggests I even look more relaxed in my face,
whatever that means. I may not be perpetually
happy but, after a fortnight of making time
for myself (and with some chemical help),
I've found moments of feeling genuinely high.
If I were to put my finger on the main cause,
I'd say it's the supplements. But cultivating a
healthy high is an accumulative process made
up of lots of small building blocks (though
sex does offer a sizeable boost, FYI). Huge
dopamine spikes are only found in the kind
of drugs you want to avoid. As I've learned
over time, what goes up must come down. So
give me the little hits any day. B

CLIMB HIGH

CHILL OUT

EAT RIGHT

GET VITS

KICK BACK

Make 30 minutes on
the climbing wall your
new staple workout.
The meditative focus
and exhilaration cause
a happiness spike,
say researchers. Get
your spirits up in
more ways than one.

A quick blast of a fully
cold shower can
boost your mood,
researchers say. In
fact, some scientists
believe it might even
prove to be a useful
treatment for people
with depression.

Getting enough
L-tyrosine ensures
the foundations for
dopamine synthesis,
says nutritionist Drew
Price. Eat bananas,
protein and try a
supplement to boost
your levels.

A multi-vitamin not
only helps your
immune system, but
your mood as well.
One study found
almost a quarter of
depressed people are
lacking vitamin B6, so
make that your focus.

Meditation is moving
out of Buddhist
centres and into
research labs, and
with good reason: it
boosts your immune
system and sense of
well being. Sit down,
get high...

BA LA N CE December 2017



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance December 2017

Balance December 2017 - 1
Balance December 2017 - 2
Balance December 2017 - 3
Balance December 2017 - 4
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