I’m writing this post today because my own life over the past month has forced me to look for ways to get out of a lengthy bad mood. It has actually been 5 weeks since I’ve written a new post for this blog and it’s because I’ve been so overwhelmed that I’ve been struggling to get out of a bout of stress and depression. If you’re anything like me, having so many things circling around in your head (for me: wedding planning, work, family health problems, trying to please everyone, travelling back and fourth constantly to see family and friends, birthdays) leads to a bit of a mental breakdown.
I was left feeling exhausted, both mentally and physically and I just couldn’t think straight. For weeks on end I was in a bad mood and I just wanted to hide from the world and everyone in it. One day I said to myself “come on Bex, you can get out of this slump, you just have to help yourself.” and I did just that. So here are 8 natural ways to boost your mood and get you feeling like yourself again.
Brightening up your bedroom first thing in the morning, with natural light if possible, can set you up in a good mood for the rest of the day. Leaving blinds and curtains open so that natural light wakes you is also a great way to lift your mood when you’ve been feeling low. Personally, I always feel better about getting out of bed when I’m woken by sunlight. Getting outside for a walk in the morning sun is also a fantastic way to brighten up your morning, the sun is at it’s best in the morning, so you can be too!
Stroking a pet is an amazing, fun way to boost your mood naturally. Research has shown that petting a dog or cat for a few minutes actually releases feel good hormones (serotonin, oxytocin, prolactin). Other furry companions have also been shown to create similar mood boosts. If you need to get out of those blues, spend 20 minutes with your furry friend, if you haven’t got one visit a family member or friend who does, or even a visit to the pet shop could do the trick.
Although the last thing you want to do when your feeling stressed and unhappy is get up and exercise, it’s actually one of the best things you can do for yourself. Exercise releases feel good hormones and also serves as a distraction from the things that are on your mind and causing you stress and unhappiness. 30 minutes of brisk exercise a day has been shown to be more beneficial for people who suffer with depression than prescribed anti-depressants. Another plus side, exercise is an all natural way to boost your mood, all it takes is a 30 minute jog or gym session.
Not only is it important for your physical health to stay hydrated, it’s also essential for optimum mental health. Scientists discovered that even mild dehydration can effect cognition, mood, and the ability to think clearly. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day can prevent the fatigue, irritation and sudden urges of anger that dehydration has been found to cause. Many happy, successful people start their morning routine with a glass of water with lemon to properly hydrate themselves ready to take on the day with a clear, cool head.
The foods we eat effect our mental health as well as our physical health, so a healthy balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, healthy fats and protein are beneficial for a healthy mind. While there are no foods that immediately boost your mood (apart from maybe chocolate!) and no foods that cure depression, a good diet is a great long-term, natural way to improve your mental state. Include foods with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, folate and B-12 (broccoli, oatmeal, oranges, eggs, salmon, lean beef) which have been shown to relieve mood disorders and help ease depression.
Possibly the easiest way to feel good is to just laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine as much of a cliche as this saying is. Research has found that the benefits of laughter on both our physical and mental health are numerous. It relieves tension and relaxes our bodies, decreases stress hormones and encourages the production of endorphins (a feel good hormone), leaving us feeling happier and generally healthier. Spend time with your best friend and laugh together, watch a funny film or TV show, or spend time with your dad listening to his terrible jokes. Laughter is a sure way to beat that bad mood.
Research has shown that when people haven’t had a good nights sleep (and this is certainly true for me) they feel more irritable, angry, depressed and hostile the following day. Those who have little sleep also react more negatively to things that don’t go to plan or their way than those who get 8 hours. It’s generally best to avoid situations that are bound to cause you stress when you haven’t had enough sleep the night before, but ensuring that you do get at least 8 hours a night will naturally improve brain function, clarity of mind and your mood.
Most of us like to hide away from the world when we’re unhappy, but it’s actually better for our mood to surround ourselves with people that have a positive effect on us. Studies have shown that being around happy people can increase our chances of a mood-boost by 9%. It’s important to stay away from those that bring you down. As the saying goes “misery loves company”, so spending time with negative people when you’re already feeling down is going to further deteriorate your mood.
There is no cure for depression, but we can help ourselves by actively trying to improve our moods. Any of the above suggestions are great natural ways to pick yourself up when you just can’t get out of bed to face the day. Sometime all it takes is a friend to talk to and laugh with, the sound of a purring cat, or 30 minutes of fresh air and sunlight on your morning jog.
Do you have any tips for lifting your mood? I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below!
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