12:00 AM comes and goes; you’ve forgotten to bring your snacks, and your client isn’t done talking… not by a long shot. He’s a nice guy, but yet you still feel yourself getting pissed off for no good reason. 1:00 AM rolls around and you’re shaking, red faced with anger. If you’re like me, this happens all too often, and I’ve spent years wondering why. It turns out that a little bit of research offers one possible explanation, and it all comes down to one thing; Serotonin.
According to Wikipedia, Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter that contributes to our general feeling of well being. Serotonin is created when we ingest essential amino acids in food and thus when we don’t eat, well… we get angry and irritable in what my girlfriend likes to summarize as being “hangry”.
According to a study done by Molly Crockett, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge, low levels of Serotonin have been proven to have a causal link with aggressive behavior, which explains why I want to flip my desk over when lunch time rolls around and I’ve skipped breakfast. I find the potential evolutionary reasons for this “trigger” to be quite interesting. Perhaps our propensity to become angry when we don’t eat is our body’s way of encouraging us to hunt down prey and feed ourselves, saving us from starvation. There was a time not so long ago that if we didn’t find food for the day, we simply didn’t eat. There were no convenient 24/7 grocery stores to visit when a deer hunt went poorly.
So what can we do about this? Well, the only solution is to eat, even if it means carrying snacks around. I’ve made a habit of carrying around protein bars, as I know that if I don’t, disaster strikes. They’re relatively inexpensive, and if you get something decent – like a Builder Bar – it should be more than enough to hold you over until you can get in a proper meal.