Tag Archives: improve your mood

14 Easy Ways to Lift Your Spirits

To me, the winter months always seem to drag monotonously toward spring. The weather is cold, dreary and gloomy. I may not see the sun for days – or even weeks – at a time. Let’s just say I can get a bit grouchy during this time. (My family would probably say A LOT grouchy.)

You can find quick and simple ways to lift your spirits. Remember that true happiness doesn’t come from a paycheck, material goods or warm weather. A good part of the joy you find in life comes from finding easy ways to make yourself happy.

Here are 14 tips to help you lift your mood and boost your happiness level:

Drink coffee or tea in the morning
Regular, modest caffeine intake can help regulate your mood. Research shows that when you enjoy four cups of black tea a day it leads to fewer stress hormones being released. Or, if you’re more of a coffee person, you can drink a few cups of java. In fact, coffee has additional health benefits.

Spend time with friends
Good friends are good for you and your spirits. Your friends foster a feeling of belonging, purpose and boost your self esteem. Strong friendships can help keep you on a mentally even keel. Whether you get together for drinks or dinner, call on the phone or text about the ups and downs of your day, friends can improve your mood. Here are more reasons why we need friends.

Eat mood-boosting foods
To help boost your mood, you can eat foods that are naturally high in serotonin, such as walnuts, tomatoes, kiwi, bananas, sour cherries, plums and pineapple. Tryptophan is also a natural mood booster. Tryptophan is found in proteins, including turkey, fish, chicken, nuts, cheese, eggs, cottage cheese and beans. Learn more about foods to boost your mood.

Get a massage
Massage can be good for your physical and mental health. When you get a massage, your body releases endorphins. Massage also reduces stress hormones, lowers anxiety and raises your immunity. Shut out your surroundings and the chaos, relax and let some happiness seep into your day.

Break your routine
Sometimes I feel stuck in a rut. Get out of your regular routine, and your mood may lift with it. Go out for dinner on a Tuesday night instead of Friday. Have lunch at a new place once a week. Take a different route to work or wear something that is normally “not you.” A small change can make a bigger difference in your outlook for the day.

Open your shades
I have a huge picture window in my living room and then patio doors in my dining room. I like to leave the blinds shut in the winter because it helps cut down on the cold air. Yet, I realized it felt like I was living in a cave or dungeon. Make sure you open the shades in your bedroom, living room or office even when it’s cold. Studies show that morning light exposure can benefit your mood.

Take a walk outside
If you work in an office without windows or sun exposure, make sure you step outside a few times a day to soak up the sunshine. Even if it’s overcast, fresh air can help lift your spirits.

Bang on something
Researchers believe that drumming helps to relax the body. I personally think that kicking and punching things can help you feel better, too. You can use a punching bag or take a kickboxing class.

Clear the clutter
Disorganization can make me anxious. Clutter reminds us of the things we should be getting done but haven’t taken care of yet. For a quick fix, straighten up a few surfaces in your office or in the areas of your house where you spend the most time. Feeling more ordered in your personal spaces can help you feel more at ease and give you peace of mind. Here are some tips to organizing and decluttering.

Watch something funny
Studies show that a good laugh gets rid of stress, boosts your immunity, improves your heart function and lowers your blood pressure. A good chuckle can also keep blood sugar levels low and aids in better digestion. You can watch a comedic movie, a funny TV series or goofy YouTube videos. Laughter and even simply smiling can be good for your overall health.

Do a good deed
There is nothing like the act of giving to help us feel more appreciative of what we have and give us a mood boost. Do some research and find a group that could use your talents and skills. Learn more about the health benefits of doing good.

Indulge your senses
Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile senses can quickly change your mood. Aromatherapy can be good for your health. Breathing in natural perfumed scents, such as lavender, can lift your spirits. Bake cookies and enjoy the yummy smells and warmth of the kitchen. Listen to soothing music. Soak in a scented bubble bath, or put flower arrangements around the house.

Give a kiss or hug
It’s a good feeling to be loved. Kiss your spouse, your kids or your mom. Smooching your significant other may even help reduce your cholesterol. You can cuddle up and watch TV together or give your family members and close friends a hug – just because. You can also hug and pet a furry friend to lower blood pressure and bring on a sense of calm.

Do something you love
You may like listening to music, dancing, taking photos, working on craft projects or tending a garden. You can even sit on your deck, take in nature or read a novel. To lift your spirits, make time to do something you enjoy – even if it’s just for 15 or 20 minutes.

Your mood goes a long way to helping you achieve a more balanced life. If you’re grouchy or feeling down, you may not have the motivation to exercise, eat right or hang out with friends. Take a few minutes each day to lift your spirits and appreciate the little things in life.

11 Foods to Boost Your Mood

fresh-vegetables-3-1432292-mI have been focused on my mood lately. Your mood, mindset and outlook on life can have a big impact on bringing all the elements of your life into balance. It can be difficult to exercise, eat right and get enough sleep when you’re in a bad mood. Your disposition can affect your relationships, stress level and even your spiritual well-being.

We recently wrote a blog that presented 9 Truths About Your Mood. We also talked about the 10 Health Benefits of Smiling and how putting on a happy face can lift your spirits and change your outlook.

As we head into the fall season, here are more ideas for boosting your mood. You may not realize that the foods you eat can help put you in a good mood.

Here are 11 foods to boost your mood:

Leafy greens
When you’re feeling grouchy, go for a spinach salad instead of a sweet snack. Dark, leafy greens like those found in spinach, asparagus and Brussel sprouts are packed with folic acid, or folate. Folate is a B vitamin that helps the brain synthesize mood chemicals, such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. You can also get folate from potatoes, fortified breads and cereals, beans, peas and mushrooms.

Fruits and veggies (or whole foods)
You already know you need to eat your fruits and vegetables every day. Here’s another reason to eat these whole foods. A diet rich in fruits and veggies provides antioxidants and important vitamins and minerals that can boost your overall health. In fact, those who eat more whole foods and less fatty, processed and sugar-laden foods are at a lower risk of depression.

Dark chocolate
While most of us already know that chocolate improves our mood based on personal experience, science shows that chocolate does in fact make you happy. Eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate (1.4 ounces) every day for two weeks has been shown to reduce stress hormones like cortisol.

Bananas
Bananas contain dopamine, which is a natural chemical that boosts your mood. Bananas also provide B vitamins and magnesium – both nutrients aid in creating a positive mood.

Protein
If you start to feel tired and moody, grab a snack made of high-quality protein. For instance, a scrambled egg, handful of almonds, or a few cubes of cheese.

Purple berries
Blueberries and blackberries get their deep purple color from a pigment called anthocyanin. This pigment is an antioxidant that allows your brain to produce dopamine, which helps improve your mood, memory function and coordination.

Omega-3 fats
Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in your emotional well-being. They may also protect against depression. You can find Omega-3 fats in salmon and other fatty fish, flaxseed and walnuts.

Saffron
Saffron, a spice that is popular in Middle Eastern, Indian and Spanish foods, is made from the dried stigmas of crocus plants. Saffron has been used in Eastern cultures for healing and for nerve-calming purposes. Researchers believe the spice has the same affect as Prozac by making serotonin more available to the brain.

Smart carbs
The link between carbohydrates and your mood has to do with tryptophan. It’s an amino acid that helps your brain produce more serotonin and improve your mood. Be sure to make smart carb choices, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. You’ll get good carbs as well as other important nutrients and fiber.

Green Tea
If you’re feeling anxious or unable to concentrate, drinking a cup of green tea can help calm you down and give you more focus. Green tea contains theanine and is gentler on your body than coffee. In addition, tea has less caffeine than coffee, so it won’t give you the jitters or set you on edge.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body process all of these mood boosting vitamins and nutrients. It also increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. As we head into fall and have less sun exposure, be sure to get as much vitamin D as you can each day from the foods you eat.

Your mood and outlook have a huge impact on your ability to keep all aspects of your life in balance. Good wholesome foods are a foundation for good health and overall well-being. Do you have certain foods that help you focus, tackle your day and boost your mood?

9 Truths About Your Mood

happy-1207721-mMy husband asked me a few days ago why I was in such a bad mood. I didn’t really have an answer for him. I realized I had been rather grouchy the last few days, but I couldn’t pinpoint why I was feeling so down.

So, I did some research into our moods. Are there certain things that can affect our mood – both positively and negatively?

See if you agree with these 9 truths that can put you in a good mood or bring you down in the dumps:

Who you spend time with matters
Some people complain about everything. If you spend time around someone who likes to gripe but doesn’t want to solve their problems, it can bring you down. You feel drained and some of their negative outlook can rub off on you. It’s important to spend time with friends whose company you truly enjoy. It’s good for your health and overall well-being.

Multi-tasking can tax your mood
Trying to juggle several balls at once can limit your ability to fully focus on and enjoy what you’re doing. It’s better to do one thing at a time and give it your full attention. Living in the moment helps you be fully present in the now, rather than worrying about what you need to do next, or even next week.

Exercise can make you feel good
Exercise helps the brain create new neurons, boost blood flow to the brain, and increase the levels of key chemicals in the brain that regulate mood. In addition, you’ll most likely feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish exercising, as well as many other rewards from a good workout.

Being disorganized can bring you down
Spending time looking for items or shuffling papers can leave you stressed and anxious. You may have misplaced your keys and end up being late for work. You can’t find an important document or forget to pay the credit card bill. By getting more organized, you can be more efficient and have greater peace of mind. Your mood will benefit when everything falls into place.

Music can lift your spirits
Music has been shown to lift a person’s mood, but it may depend on the type of music. Some music can improve moods while other music can make your mood worse. Learn more about the health benefits of music.

The weather can impact your mood
I will definitely agree that the weather can bring my mood down. I tend to get sinus migraines when rainy weather is coming. About 10% of US adults suffer from mood disorders, including seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD most often occurs in winter but can happen any time of the year. Sunshine can boost your mood and “spring fever” has been studied as a real phenomenon that can be brought on by warmer temperatures after cold weather.

Thinking about money can make you unhappy
Studies have shown that just thinking about money can make people unhappy. It’s not just worrying about daily spending or trying to balance your bank account. Experiments show that even subconscious reminders of money can dampen our spirits. So, create a budget, make sure your finances are in order, and then let it go.

Foods can affect your mood
Certain foods may help boost your mood. Studies show that people who eat more olive oil, salmon and walnuts are less likely to be depressed. These foods are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and could have mood-boosting properties. On the other hand, eating a lot of sugar and carbs may make you feel good at the time, but you will crash later and feel tired and unmotivated.

A smile makes things better
Studies have shown that smiling can alter our stress responses in certain situations. Smiling, even if you’re not happy, can slow your heart rate and decrease perceived levels of stress. Smiling tells your body that everything is okay. Smiles are also contagious. When you smile at someone, it’s hard not to smile back. You can share your good mood with others.

While outside forces can have an impact on your mood, the biggest part of your mood is controlled by you. You can choose to let the external influences roll off of you and make a conscious decision to be in a good mood. Smile and enjoy the moment!