It might be that you get up on the wrong side of the bed someday. And nothing seems to go right. Your coffee is not right and you slipped on the entrance to your office.
Or perhaps it’s a different kind of upset. Maybe you feel blue a lot and everyday seems like a punishment.
Moods are a tricky thing. You might suddenly find yourself feeling sad and depressed when just moments ago you were having a gala time. They are less intense and less specific than emotions or feelings and are mostly described as positive or negative.
There are a number of factors that can affect your mood. Nutrition, sleep patterns, hormones and even your facial expressions can affect what kind of mood you are in.
A lot of times, people resort to unhealthy and unnatural ways to cure their bad mood. Taking drugs that intoxicate you might get rid of your blues for sometime but in the long run, these substances can harm your body and do nothing for your depression.
However, there are natural ways to deal with your short term as well as consistent bad mood. The list includes a mix of food items you should be eating, activities that you can try out as well some lifestyle changes you might need to make.
1. Get a Pet
Having a furry friend, like a dog or a cat, in your house can help you greatly with battling the cloud of bad mood. Pets that you can touch and play with make a huge difference in your life.
Having someone waiting for you eagerly when you reach home at the end of a long day is a nice feeling. It instantly washes away all the negative things you have on your mind.
When University of Missouri conducted a study in which non-pet owners spent some time a day playing with dogs, they found that blood levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and oxytocin—both mood elevators—rose.
But if buying or adopting a pet is too big a commitment for you, you can just play with your neighbour’s pet. Offer to look after their pet for some time, or volunteer at an animal shelter. You can also drop by in a pet shop and pet the animals there.
2. Drink Caffeine
Caffeine is the modern day equivalent of an Elixir. You probably might have noticed that things seem considerably better when you have had you coffee.
It is no accident that your mood improves after drinking tea or coffee. For most people it has become a daily ritual without they find it difficult to function.
The reason caffeine feels good is because caffeine is a stimulant. It stimulates your central nervous system, brain and all major nerves leading to better cognition and mood.
In fact, a study conducted by the National University of Singapore found that caffeine reduced boredom and perked up your senses.
So go ahead, if you needed another reason to drink coffee, you have it.
3. Change your Sleeping Habits
Many times, people who do not get proper sleep are the ones constantly in a bad mood. A good night’s sleep is essential for a good day as well as a good life.
If you are the kind of person who browses Facebook or YouTube late into night and then gets a 3 hour sleep before getting up in the morning, you need to change your habits.
Go to bed early. Avoid using any electronics at least an hour before you go to sleep as the rays emitted by laptops, mobile phones and television can disrupt your sleeping schedule.
If you are experiencing insomnia, try changing where you sleep. Go to a different bedroom. Changing your location can sometimes help in battling insomnia. Other things you can try are getting up at the same time every morning, keeping your siestas under 20 minutes, avoiding caffeine after 3 p.m. and getting into bed an hour early before your sleeping time to relax your brain.
Another thing you can try to combat depression related sleep problems is to pull an all-nighter. There isn’t any exact science that has been researched about this but it seems to have worked for quite a few people. But researchers believe that depriving your body of one night’s sleep resets your biological clock and allows you to sleep better.
4. Make yourself Smile and Laugh
When you force yourself to smile your mood changes from bad to good within minutes. The act of smiling is known to trick your brain into thinking you’re happy, hence the mood change. Our face reflects what emotion we are feeling currently. Therefore, making yourself smile deliberately makes you feel good.
Try and laugh often. Exchange jokes with your friends, watch funny videos or comedy series or attend your local comedic stand up. Laughter increases dopamine production in our brain. Dopamine elevates our mood and makes us happy.
Having a good laugh also increases oxygen supply to the body and cools down our stress response system, resulting in positive mood and relaxed mind.
5. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is always good for your health. It is single stone that kills many birds in one go. It combats obesity, makes your bones stronger, leads to a healthy heart and helps get rid of your bad mood.
Exercise revitalizes your body, increases blood supply to various body parts and gets you moving. The activities involved in exercising can take your mind off whatever it is that is making you sad.
It does not have to be a high end gym workout. You can practice meditation, try for an aerobics class or just simply go for a walk.
If going to a room full of people to exercise isn’t your thing, you can just opt for an activity that requires you to move around. Gardening, swimming, thoroughly cleaning your house – these can all be helpful in dealing with bad mood.
6. Try Alternative Therapies
Many people suffering from depression have found alternative therapies make them feel good. They are safer than anti-depressants and have other benefits like improved blood circulation and relief from pain in joints and sore muscles.
Getting a professional massage or just asking your partner, friend or family member to give you a 12 minutes back rub, are both effective. Massage increases serotonin levels which stabilizes your mood and is linked to lower depression. It also decreases the levels of stress hormones called cortisol.
Acupuncture is also beneficial for people suffering from anxiety and depression. This traditional Chinese therapy increases production of feel good chemicals endorphin, serotonin and dopamine. They calm your brain, make you feel happy and lead to low levels of depression.
7. Eat Mood Boosting Food
Food items with high content of vitamin B, tryptophan or omega -3 are natural mood boosters. Serotonin (a natural mood booster) rich food like cherries, walnuts, kiwi, bananas and plums are also a good option.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that your body converts to serotonin. It is most commonly found in protein rich food like turkeys, fish, chicken, cottage cheese and eggs.
Consuming high-carbohydrate foods like bread, cake, peanut butter also encourages the amino acid tryptophan to flood your brain, boosting serotonin levels.
Cold water fish like salmon or mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, soybeans, kidney beans, walnuts and black beans.
Vitamin B is found in beef, oats, bananas, potatoes, eggs, avocado, milk, yogurt and cheese. Vitamin B play an important role in producing mood altering chemicals and low levels of vitamin B is linked to irritation, anxiety and bad mood.
8. Hug Someone
Touching and hugging can stimulate the pressure receptors in the skin which lowers stress hormones. Hugging someone releases oxytocins which has a positive effect on our mood.
Human touch also releases endorphins, serotonins while lowering blood pressure and stress. Regular physical contact like holding hands can increase your life span, reduce the negative effects of stress and just make you happy overall.
9. Interact with your Friends and Family
Spending at least one hour a week talking to your close friend or family member is beneficial for your mental health.
Human beings are not meant to live in isolation. But with the lifestyle today, you often forget to have real talks with people who are important to you. This is bad for your mental health.
Spending time with the people you love encourages your self confidence and makes you feel good. It also allows you time to vent out what you feel. Venting out is good for you sometimes. Keeping all your emotions bottled up inside can negatively affect your mental as well as physical health.
Discussing your emotional feelings and what has been going in your life with a confidant is a releasing experience that gets rid of negativity. It also provides you with a different perspective, turning negatives into positives.
10. Think about Good Things
So maybe your coffee sucked today and your car didn’t start. And maybe you had a fight with your boss or a friend. Yes, that was a bad start to your day. But what about the nice time you had with that friendly old man on the bus? Or the enjoyable lunch hour you had today because one guy kept cracking jokes to lighten your mood?
No one day is completely bad. There are some good things that happen and some bad things. Your mind automatically dwells on things that went wrong but you need to give yourself a break. Train your mind to think about all the things that went today. They might not be something big or something important but it was a good thing.
Keeping a positive attitude helps you focus on the nice things. It makes you feel good and prevents you from dwelling only on the bad things.
So the next time you feel sad or depressed, just follow one of the above tips to give your mood a boost.
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