10 Depression-Fighting Mood-Boosters
Something seems to be in the air. A cloud, a funk, a something that is making me, and so many others feel depressed lately. Last week I had a particularly bad day when that last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed.
I just lay there, blinds drawn, in the dark for hours. My dog patiently sat at the door watching me. I knew I needed to walk her. But I felt like I couldn’t. Without listening to my inner voice, I decided that I just had to move my body.
I grabbed my dog’s leash and the two of us started off on a power walk to brighten my mood. A few blocks into our walk a group of literally hundreds of women started streaming towards and past me. It was a walk to benefit breast cancer awareness. I turned my lips up into a smile as an offering for one glum looking woman, thinking she needed a little mood lifting. She smiled back. And then I smiled back- for real this time. And her smile broadened. By the end of my walk I had shaken my funk. My mind was clearer, my thoughts not as doomsday.
Was it the exercise, the fake-turned-real smile, or simply removing myself from my dreary environment that did it? I don’t know. But one thing’s for sure: there are things you can do to naturally help lift your spirits and improve your mood.
1. Cardio Exercise: Fitness inherently makes you feel good thanks to the release of endorphins in your brain. It is naturally a feel-good method that chemically alleviates stress, think more clearly (thanks to fresh oxygen pumping through your brain) and gives you new uplifted perspective. Yes, it’s proven. At least 30 minutes of moderate to high-intensity cardio exercise is optimal to get those endorphins pumping.
2. Tai Chi: The Eastern practice forces you to focus on your breath, refreshing your blood and brain with fresh oxygen so you can think more clearly, getting out of your racing head and focusing on the moment, and taking time to focus on yourself.
3. Eat Protein: Protein helps boost dopamine (the happy chemical) production in the brain. Foods like chicken, turkey, tuna, lean meats, and beans are great sources.
4. Eat Carbs: Thanks to their ability to trigger the release of serotonin (another happy-making chemical), carbs are natural mood lifters.
5. Take A Walk: Considered to be a “happy pill” by many and “man’s best medicine” by Hippocrates, a simple walk can have seriously profound effects. Up the helping power by doing a walking color meditation by simply imagining with every step that your sadness is oozing form your body like puddles you are leaving behind. Assign that sadness a color. Then refill your body with another color- the color that represents happiness. It sounds hokey, but it works.
6. Play: Play with your dog or your child and suddenly things will be put into perspective. Watch them take such joy in rolling on the ground, throwing the ball, playing hide and seek! You won’t be able to help buy laugh.
7. Window Shopping: If you want to take plunge (and it won’t stress you out even more)- buy something. But you don’t have to in order to benefit from the natural shopping high you can get just by looking at all of the pretty things, bright colors, and smiling salespeople.
8. Pamper Yourself: Just stop stressing for a seconds and do something just for you like taking a bath, painting your nails, applying a homemade mask made of honey or whole fat yogurt (both are natural exfoliators and the easiest 1-Ingredeint Facial)
9. Play Video Games or Watch a Movie: Get out of your head for a little while by watching a movie that really envelops your mind or playing your favorite video game.
10. Yogic Valium: “Meditation on the White Swan” is a Kundalini Yoga move said to have mind-easing effects similar to taking a valium.
-Sit up straight in easy pose (legs crossed “Indian style”).
-Make fists with your hands and hold them up, palms facing out, 6 inches away from
-Extend your thumbs and press the tips firmly together until they become white.
-Let the last joint of the thumb relax and bend down, pointing towards the floor.
-Stare at the white tips of your thumbs.
-Close your eyes and mentally see your thumb tips.
-On the inhale say to yourself, “Sat,” (truth) and on the exhale say to yourself, “Nam”
(identity). Combined, Sat Nam means “truth is my identity.”
-Repeat for 5 to 11 minutes
– You must talk about your feelings and what you’re going through. But, if you do not feel comfortable sharing your struggles with a family member or a friend, seek counseling or join a local support group. Remember, to allow family and friends to help you out.
_ Make extra effort to take part in fun activities. Play with children at home or even in the neighborhood. Try out something new or go back to an old activity you once enjoy doing and which gave you pleasure.
– Start exercising regularly. these energizing activities can do a lot for your general health and often help in reducing stress.
– Talk to a health professional. Be honest with them and they may be able to recommend special medications or trauma therapy for you.
– Give yourself some time to grieve. Rushing the situation through may only make it worse.
– Set achievable goals for yourself and stick to a routine. Get an adequate amount of sleep and eat appropriately. After all these simple things provide stability in life.
– Avoid alcohol and drugs. Many people turn to these substances as a way of blocking out confusing emotions. Avoiding your problem, however increases them.
– Maintain healthy diet. Avoid food with large amount of sugar or caffeine. Caffeine releases stress hormones and sugar creates false highs and low’s in one’s emotion.