We all have days where we have to drag ourselves out of bed and, for lack of a better way to describe it, just feel “blah.” There are many reasons why you may feel less than inspired about life, from high stress levels at work to a poor diet or lack of exercise, but the good news is that you don’t have to let it ruin your day. Here are a few simple ways to boost your mood and kick that sluggish feeling in no time at all.
Sometimes the reason for your low energy levels and tired outlook on life can be due to your diet or eating patterns. When your blood sugar levels drop too low, you’ll start feeling tired and grumpy and will be unable to concentrate. The easiest fix for this is to grab a quick snack or have your meal earlier than you’d planned. However, what you eat also makes a difference, and highly processed sugary foods can actually have a negative effect on your mood and energy levels. Here are a few examples of excellent mood boosting foods that won’t pack on the pounds: Mussels Mussels contain vitamin B12, which works to protect your brain cells and keep you sharp. They also contain zinc, iodine and selenium, all important nutrients that will help you maintain a balanced mood. Swiss chard Swiss chard is full of magnesium, which is known to boost your energy levels. Some studies have also shown that magnesium can be beneficial for people suffering from depression. Dark chocolate Chocolate is known to improve concentration and boost your mood. Just make sure you eat the dark organic type of chocolate, as most sugary milk chocolate contains very little cocoa at all. Greek yogurt Studies have shown that low levels of calcium can cause depression, irritability and slower reactions, and since Greek yogurt contains more calcium than regular yogurt, it is the perfect mood boosting food. Cherry tomatoes Tomatoes contain lycopene, a nutrient that protects brain fat and prevents a buildup of compounds that are linked to depression. Because the nutrient is found in the skin of the tomato, a couple of cherry tomatoes will give you more of the all-important nutrient than a regular one would.
Try some exercise
Exercise is good for you both physically and mentally. For one thing is releases endorphins that make you feel good, but psychologists have also found that it might help you to feel better by giving you a feeling of being in control. Physically it will also help you to have more energy and feel stronger overall. Here are a few exercises that have been found to be especially beneficial in boosting your mood and relieving stress: Yoga A recent study that was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that practicing yoga for an hour at least three times a week may help to reduce anxiety and improve the overall mood. Tai Chi Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, is known to calm the mind and help improve to reduce stress through its slow and precise actions. Pilates Oftentimes, a lack of sleep can lead to moodiness or irritability, so you may want to try Pilates a couple of times a week to improve the quality of your rest. A recent study carried out at the Appalachian State University found that regular Pilates sessions helped people sleep better. Cycling A study by the University of Georgia found that cycling activated certain circuits in the brain that help you feel more energized. So next time you’re feeling a bit down and out, you may want to leave the car at home and take your bike instead. Weight lifting Studies have found a link between improved cognitive abilities and regular low-intensity weight training exercises, so pumping up your muscles may actually give your brain a boost as well.
Put a smile on your face
Smiling is without a doubt the simplest way to boost your mood on the spot, without the help of any exercises, foods, vitamins or drugs. Scientists have found that the simple act of smiling releases endorphins and helps you feel happier. Of course, the last thing you probably feel like doing when you’re in a bad mood is putting on a silly grin, but this just might be one of those cases where you have to fake it till you make it.
Put your writer’s cap on
When you’re feeling stressed or depressed, often the best way to overcome those feelings is to write about them. You don’t have to turn your thoughts into a literary masterpiece, but just putting those them down on paper and being able to read them can help you to structure your thoughts and even understand them a little bit better. Keeping a journal is a good way of documenting your moods, which may help you to identify a pattern and come up with a solution to your problem. When you need a quick pick-me-up remember that small simple solutions that can add up to help you feel better. Try it today. Find a creative outlet, get active, eat healthier, and put a smile on your face!
About the Author:
Aileen Pablo is a health and fitness blogger from Open Colleges,one of the leading providers of dietician courses. Aside from blogging about food and nutrition, Aileen is also fond of writing topics about education, business, and interior design. If you want to feature her on your blog, drop a line at aileen (at) oc.edu.au.