With a pandemic that started, slowed down and then resurfaced, we know just how stressful things can be for everyone. But remember, there are many things you can do to lift your mood. You only need to pick ones that work for you and build them into your routine so you can continue to feel better and better. Linda shares 5 Things That Can Lift Your Mood.
#1 Get Some Sun.
Just how important is vitamin D? Well, very! A group of researchers from VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam has found that depression is associated with decreased vitamin D levels. That’s why being out in the sun has a positive effect on people. So if you need a pick-me-up, why not head outside for a brisk walk in your area. Can’t go out? Grab a drink and sit by the window for a few minutes, that’s just as good. A dose of sunshine can really help lift your mood.
Try this: If going out is not possible, you can also eat foods rich in vitamin D such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. There are also foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals. You could also speak to your nutritionist or your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements.
#2 Listen to Uplifting Music.
Music can have a powerful effect on your mood. And we’re not just saying this. According to a review in the World Journal of Psychiatry, after reviewing 25 trials, the researchers concluded that music is a valid therapy to potentially reduce depression and anxiety, as well as to improve mood, self-esteem, and quality of life. So, what are you waiting for? Turn up the music! Not only can it create a positive mood, it also helps decrease stress-causing hormone production in the body. As a result, music therapy has the power to improve sleep and boost self-confidence.
Try this: If you haven’t already, start a playlist with songs that make you feel good. Whenever you hear a song that uplifts your mood, make it a point to find out the title so you can add it to your playlist. There are plenty of free music apps such as Amazon Prime Music and Spotify, however, to play your songs without interruption you might have to pay a subscription. We recommend YouTube Music as you can play your songs with the screen turned off. This is great for when you are jogging or walking.
#3 Come Back to the Present.
The best way to stay cheerful is to stay centered in the present, because a wandering mind isn’t going to help your mood. The best way to re-centre? Sit quietly for a few minutes and try some deep, calming breaths. Focus on the breath moving in and out of the body and gently guide your attention back to the breath if the mind starts to wander. Once you do this a few times, you’ll be an expert at transporting yourself back to earth.
Try this: The 4-7-8 Breathing or “relaxing breath” is a great way to cheer up. Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position, your eyes can be open or closed. Press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, slightly open your mouth, and exhale until you reach the bottom of your breath.
Close your mouth and quietly inhale through your nose for 4 counts, then hold your breath for 7 counts. Finally, exhale very slowly so that it takes a total of 8 counts to return to the bottom of your breath. Repeat for 4 full breaths, and work your way up to 8 breaths over time.
#4 Catch Some ZZZ…
Did you know that sleep and mood are closely connected? Research studies in healthy people have shown that even one night without sleep causes sleepiness, fatigue, irritability and lack of motivation. So imagine what weeks, months or even years of bad sleeping patterns can do to your mood. What you need to do is to start good sleep habits, also known as good sleep hygiene.
Try this: Go to bed at the same time each night. The body has an internal clock and hormones that control sleepiness and wakefulness. This clock works best if there is a regular sleep routine. When working well, you will feel sleepy at bed time. Turn off all screens 1-2 hours prior to bed, and if possible, try to not have them in the bedroom. You should also stay away from coffee, tea, and soft drinks at least three to seven hours before bedtime if you really want to lift your mood.
#5 Enjoy Yourself
Do what makes you happy. It could be something simple like having a relaxing soak in the bath, reading a good book, having a nice catch up with friends, or watching your favourite show with a good glass of wine. Doing things that you enjoy is important for your emotional well being. Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression. You can also do something that you’re good at. Maybe you’re a good dancer, an awesome cook, a fantastic golfer, a yoga extraordinaire! Go on and enjoy doing something you’re good at because it can also give you a sense of achievement. If you’re looking for a new hobby, try and pick something that will get you out and about because that can make you feel happier and more relaxed.
Avoid: Things that seem enjoyable at the time but will make you feel worse afterwards, such as eating that whole block of chocolate.
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