If you are wondering how to improve your mood, rest assured, you are not alone. While we can all go through bad days where we sometimes feel upset, sad, or frustrated, for some people it can be more permanent.
Recent figures, published in Lancet Regional Health – Americasshows that the rate of depression in the United States has more than tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic and World Health Organization states that depression is now the leading cause of disability globally. The good news is that there are a number of simple everyday practices as well as more long-term solutions that are scientifically proven to positively affect your mood.
Many people find that eating a healthy diet, interacting with others, exercising, investing in one of these best water bottle to make sure they stay hydrated and get enough sleep, all of which improve their mood. We talked to experts to get them to learn how you can improve your mood and health, and when you should talk to your doctor.
Here are some small changes you can incorporate into your daily life to improve your mood.
1. Do something nice for others
Whether it’s lending someone a book you no longer need or offering to buy someone’s groceries, doing something nice for someone else can help you feel more positive.
Deborah Lee’s Dr Dr Fox Online Pharmacy told Live Science. “This is the same hormone that is released when you cuddle a newborn or fall in love.”
“There is also an increase in levels of the feel-good hormone, dopamine. Low levels of dopamine are linked to low mood and depression, so anything that increases dopamine levels can have the opposite effect,” she says.
2. Drink more water
Melissa Snover, nutritionist and founder of Nurtured. “Hydration is also essential for normal digestion, temperature control, brain function and encouraging good circulation – which is why it is imperative that we stay hydrated throughout the day. “.
Obviously Hydration is important for health, but how much fluid should you consume? As a general rule, try to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. We recommend keeping a water bottle on your desk or nearby as a visual reminder to stay hydrated throughout the day.
3. Turn off your gadgets
Staring at a computer or smartphone screen for long periods of time is associated with an increased risk of mental health conditions, Dr. Lee said.
Try turning off your phone at set times each day. “Research has shown that limiting cell phone use to just 30 minutes a day leads to increased feelings of happiness, reduced levels of depression, and decreased feelings of loneliness. Turning off your phone overnight can also help improve your sleep,” she says.
4. Connect with others
“Humans are social creatures. We need the companionship of others to feel happy, satisfied, and appreciated. And loneliness is a killer. Did you know that being lonely can raise blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease? Lonely people are more prone to depression, poor sleep, and general cognitive decline. Loneliness increases the risk of death by 50%,” explains Dr. Lee.
One study, published in American Journal of Psychiatry, found that social connection in general is protective against depression. So reach out to family and friends, join a club or society, or become a volunteer in your community.
5. Get lots of sunlight
Make sure you take a walk outside every day to lift your mood. “At work, make sure your desk is next to a window. If you have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), you may benefit from using a lighter,” says Dr. Lee.
Getting more daylight will help improve your mood, immune system, sleep, and ultimately, energy levels.
It sounds simple, but there’s nothing better for you than laughing, says Dr. Lee.
“When you laugh, this leads to an increase in the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in the brain and a decrease in levels of the stress hormone, cortisol – which makes you feel happy and relaxed. Laughter is a great way to relieve stress and make you feel calmer.”
Try watching some funny movies or listen to some funny podcasts regularly. This will help you feel happier and more energetic.
7. Try Some CBT
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can help you learn to develop coping strategies for a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. “Research on CBT has shown that it can be effective in elevating mood and improving energy levels,” explains Dr. Lee.
In a recent meta-analysis of 91 studies, published by Psychological medicine, CBT interventions showed greater reductions in depression than other treatments.
8. Eat a healthy diet
What you eat plays an important role in how you feel. Eating a balanced diet is crucial for good mental health – by consuming a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients, you are equipping your body and therefore your brain. body, the energy source needed for normal functioning — including mood regulation, says Snover. Several different nutrients have been shown to help improve brain health and therefore our mood:
- Vitamin B12 is important for the production of serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood. While our bodies cannot produce B12 on their own, it can be consumed easily through supplements or in foods such as fortified cereals, tempeh and nutritional yeast, as well as eggs, fish or milk.
- Vitamin B6 (found in bananas, chickpeas, and dark leafy greens) can stabilize our mood by creating neurotransmitters that help reduce the harmful effects of stress.
- Tryptophan, zinc and selenium all support healthy brain function – and are found in certain nuts and seeds like Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds.
9. Get a good night’s sleep
Dr. Lee said that getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night is very important for both physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can affect our mood, energy, and concentration levels.
A study, published by JMIR .’s mental healthfound that there was a significant relationship between daily sleep quality and mood.
Wondering how to sleep longer? Make sure you are practicing good sleep hygiene before going to bed.
10. Reduce your alcohol intake
Dr. Lee explains: “Excessive drinking is associated with poor mental health, decreased life satisfaction and increased psychological anxiety.
Cutting down on alcohol or stopping drinking altogether will help boost your energy levels.
11. Incorporate exercise every day
“Exercise is known to increase levels of good neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin. Additionally, exercise leads to an increase in endorphins, which are naturally high in the brain,” says Dr. Lee.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week.
When should you seek help and talk to your doctor about your low mood?
If your mood is causing noticeable problems with daily activities, make an appointment with your doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of emptiness, sadness and despair
- Constantly low mood
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Sleep disorders
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Move and speak slowly
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling suicidal
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