Whatever the cause may be the reality is that we all get down once in awhile and it can be hard to pull ourselves back up. This seems to be one of life’s conundrums; just when we need to be feeling our best to get through a challenging time our emotional fortitude takes a nosedive.
There’s so much fluff on the internet about positive thinking along with all the standard advice we’ve been told a bazillion times before, “Why don’t you just call a friend, go for a walk or play with a dog?” Seriously, how many dogs can one depressed person play with?!
We thought we would breathe some fresh air into the topic with these five super practical tips you may not have heard before that will boost your mood in minutes.
We’ve all heard of the connection between food and mood (usually negatively connected to emotional eating) however, you can actually use the chemical components in certain foods to positively impact your mood!
High quality cacao (the actual chocolate part that comes from a plant) is loaded full of feel good chemicals that directly impact your brain and therefore your mood.
Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins in your brain which make us feel happy and energetic (think a good workout).
Additionally, compounds in dark chocolate strongly resemble Anandamide, (named after the Sanskrit word for bliss) a key molecule that binds into the opiate receptor site in your brain.
Nooo… this won’t make you feel high in THAT way, the level is a very low dosage, but researchers do believe that this could account for the good feelings that come from eating dark chocolate.
Smells do affect our mood and our productivity. Interestingly, the effects of smell on mood (good and bad) are learned experiences rather than innate biological ones.
For example, if bananas are your favorite thing ever and every time you eat them you have so much fun, then smell of bananas would make you go bananas? (Ugh bad pun, sorry.)
The association between smell and mood is the function of the olfactory system (nose and smells) which links the limbic system (in the brain) where new memories are made and emotions are processed.
With that in mind you can use smells to boost your mood but make sure it’s something that you’ve already associated a good feeling memory to! We love lavender (from our time in France) and citrus (hello summer!) for calming and brightening. Essential oils and scented candles can make seemingly banal rooms (or offices) a sweeter, happier place.
So next time you feel down take a moment to remember a simple happy feeling time, get something that brings back that smell memory and breathe deep.
Yup, you read that right. A good old fashioned roll in the hay with your partner or solo (hey, why not!) can be mood elevating. Researchers think this is because feelings of arousal such as body awareness, heat and other sensations ground us in the present moment and take the mind away from stress filled thoughts.
As you might have guessed there is a science reason behind this. Soft cuddles and foreplay give rise to oxytocin, good feeling chemical in the brain (the same you get while giving your co-workers a high-five!) while the actual orgasm releases dopamine and endorphins. All these contribute to giving you that post sex high feeling and the associated calmness and relaxation.
Whether grandma needs a hand with something or you opt to pay for someone’s groceries unexpectedly, the act of altruism is known to give humans what researchers call a “helpers-high”.
Time and time again experiments show that helping others makes us happy, live longer, have less anxiety and depression and could be as good for us as quitting smoking! In a culture where we are most often conditioned to “do something for ourselves” when we feel unhappy, it can take a little extra effort to do the opposite but the results will be worth it.
Handstands, headstands or cartwheels have so many benefits for health! They make you super strong, tone your upper body and arms and also can make you happy!
1. Increased blood flow to the brain has an energizing and calming effect, especially when stressed out.
2. Getting upside down rapidly produces cortisol, which is the stress hormone and it works to de-stress and help with anxiety when produced in the short term (think adrenaline boost not long term stressful situations). Plus, handstands (or attempting them) is just a super fun to get outside of yourself for a minute, get the blood flowing and pretend you’re a kid again.
1.Grab a dark chocolate bar with a high content of cacao and enjoy those bliss molecules and endorphins flooding your brain!
2. Boost mood with smell… find something that brings you good memories, childhood scents/ lovers/ coffee shops. Anything that makes you smile when you smell it 🙂
3. If you’ve got the blues and you’ve got a free moment, try jumping in bed and see for yourself!
4. Go out of your way next time you feel down and lend a helping hand, research shows you will feel better!
5. Grab a wall or a friend, get upside down and see what happens when you shift your perspective!