Boost your Mood. The gray days are looming, but they don’t have to make us feel gloomy! Here are 7 tricks you can use this fall and winter to keep your sunny disposition, even when you can’t see or feel the sun. So let’s Boost your Mood
1. Boost your Mood with Supplement Vitamin D
It is well known that sunlight stimulates the production of Vitamin D in the body, and when the sunlight goes away it becomes even more important to make sure you are getting enough. In addition to keeping your bones and teeth strong, Vitamin D can affect many other bodily systems, including mood. Studies have shown that depressed people tend to have lower levels of Vitamin D, and this holds true for seasonal depression as well. Even if you are not clinically depressed, chances are you can benefit from a daily dose of 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D3. As an added bonus, Vitamin D powers up the immune system to help protect you against infections.
2. Boost your Mood by Eating the Right Foods
The brain needs the right nutrients to stay happy. A diet rich in vegetables, leafy greens, and healthy protein and fat will provide both the body and mind with the necessary components for physical and mental functioning. Omega-3 oils are the building blocks of a healthy brain and nervous system and can be found in fish (particularly salmon, anchovies, and sardines), as well as vegetarian sources including flax seeds, walnuts, and chia seeds. A dedicated Omega-3 supplement in addition to dietary sources is an even better way to go, especially for vegans and vegetarians. It is important to avoid sugar, preservatives, pesticides, and artificial sweeteners. These things alter your brain’s chemistry and cause erratic signaling between neurons – not a recipe for a good mood! Refined grains such as white flour and unhealthy fats such as vegetable oil and margarine can have surprisingly ill effects on the mind as well. Such detrimental dietary constituents can increase inflammation both in the body and the brain, so keep your diet clean!
3. Boost your Mood with Wonder Herbs
Herbs can be taken as tinctures, capsules, tea, or even just eaten.
- St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is like sunlight in a plant. It has been shown to boost mood and even treat clinical depression. It can interfere with other medications, however, so see your doctor before you begin taking it.
- Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) is an all-around herb for the mind. It can help with stress, sharpen the memory and intellect, and more.
- Ginkgo biloba is another great herb for boosting mood and mental power. It increases blood flow to the brain and thus can help provide the brain with beneficial nutrients and compounds as well as remove waste products and toxins.
- Rhodiola rosea has been used traditionally in Siberia and Scandinavia. It helps the body and mind when under stress, boosts vitality, and is so good at balancing the mood that it has been shown to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression.
- Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) restores balance, increases sense of well-being, promotes physical recovery, and even boosts the immune system.
Essential oils are gaining in popularity, and can provide noticeable benefits to many areas of health, including helping with mood. There are many ways to use them. They can be rubbed on (possibly in a carrier oil such as coconut), diffused in a room, added to personal products, and more. They are extremely potent, so a drop or two is all that is needed. In addition to smelling so nice, some essential oils that can improve our mood include lavender, ylang-ylang, frankincense, rose, bergamot, and citruses.
4. Boost your Mood with Exercise
Exercise is one of the most potent brain and mood boosters known to modern science. It is extremely beneficial for our mental and emotional state in addition to being so good for the body. When it gets cold and wet, it can be a deterrent to get out and exercise. Of course, the gym is still a good option, but even if you don’t have a gym membership, you can crank out a surprisingly effective workout at home. All you need is a few square feet of space, and there is an abundance of calisthenics, yoga, and other home workout routines that can be done with or without weights. An internet or Youtube search for “home workouts” will yield a plethora routines varying from 5 minutes on up. Try a number of different workouts and find what works for you! If you have an injury or specific limitation, it is best to see your doctor before beginning any workout program.
5. Boost your Mood by Meditating
A regular meditation practice is incredibly helpful for keeping an even mind and providing mental perspective. Taking time to sit quietly and center your consciousness can bring untold benefits to your mental wellbeing. Here again, a Youtube or internet search for “guided meditations” or “meditation techniques” will provide ample resources to help you get a meditation practice going. Experiment with some different techniques at first, but unlike your exercise workouts where it is good to switch things around and challenge the body in new ways, you want to find a specific meditation technique that you like and stick with it. The merits of meditation are usually immediately obvious to those who try it, and they also increase over time.
6. Keep it Positive
It’s no secret that what we expose ourselves to can affect our thoughts. If we want to be in a positive mindset, it is important to feed our minds with positive content. The news is notorious for bringing us down, but the bright side is that the internet makes it possible for us to stay informed without being poisoned. Find some good sources of information to keep current, and avoid the sensationalist fear-mongers. Of course there is a wide variety of media we may ingest for pleasure and entertainment, so be selective and choose that which uplifts you.
7. Connect in Real Life
Friendships and close relationships nourish the soul. Laughter and fun benefit the mind and body alike. Online connections are great, but they lack the true rewards of actually being with others. Make time to physically get together with those you care about (and when you do, put your phones away!) in order to be rejuvenated and enriched by true connections.
*BONUS: Two other supplements to consider for mental health and good mood include B Vitamins and probiotics. The nervous system loves B Vitamins (and so does the immune system!) to keep balanced and provide energy during the day and help you sleep well at night. Probiotics provide a myriad of benefits that researchers are just tapping into, but there is already clear evidence that having the right organisms in the GI tract can aid mental wellbeing. And wouldn’t you know, probiotics also provide protection from infection.