4 Ways to Boost Your Mood
January 21st, or the 3rd Monday of the new year, is the infamous Blue Monday. Apparently, according to an academic from Cardiff University in the UK, blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year based on its distance from the holidays, the weather, and a number of other factors.
Now before this starts to sound too depressing, he actually came up with this date in order to inspire people to take action, and reignite their motivation and passions from the beginning of the year.
Riding on the hopes and dreams of this, we bring you 4 ways to boost your mood!
Embrace the day and go outside!
Humans evolved outdoors so limiting our time spent there is easily understood as a disservice to our wellbeing. In the scientific communities, this need to be near nature is known as biophilia. It the biological need to be outside and amongst the trees and the bees.
Us northerners unfortunately kiss the majority of our greenery goodbye in the winter months, but that doesn’t mean that we are doomed for depression this time of year. Studies have shown that even just looking at images of nature can have a physiological effect on us, lowering blood pressure, putting the mind at ease, and even improving focus.
With your office or bedroom now decorated with images of lush forests and waterfalls, it is now time to actually spend some time outside. This is because vitamin D can only be naturally produced by exposing our skin to sunshine.
Vitamin D deficiency, due to its involvement in the production of mood regulation chemicals in our brain, has been shown to lead to feelings of sadness and depression. Although ample sunlight throughout the summer months can build up a reserve of vitamin D, by this point, our reserves are running low.
So you either take a vitamin D supplement, or opt for the free solution and get outside for some skiing, skating, snowshoeing, biking, snowboarding, etc. We are Canadians and facing the winters is what we makes us so strong!
Eat some soul serving foods
What we put into our bodies has a profound effect on our mental and physical health. There are some foods that make us feel full of energy, clear headed, and beautiful from the inside out.
Then there are foods that give us a moment of satisfaction, followed by inflammation, digestion issues, skin issues, feelings of guilt, loss of energy, and even feelings of depression. These are the highly processed and highly sweetened foods that have been designed to leave us wanting more.
If you want to feel satisfied in every way possible by your food follow these simple guidelines:
- Whole foods first. Not the grocery store – the actual products that could be found in an animal or grown from mother nature herself. Treat your body like the temple it is and feed it the grass fed, free range, organic options so that you get the most from the bounties that nature provides.
- If it has been processed in a factory, then your body will have to work like a machine to break it down. The more effort your body requires to break down a food and all of its foreign ingredients, the more inflammation and stress your body produces. Stress and inflammation affect everything in our bodies and interfere with its ability to function optimally.
- Drink water (and lots of it!). Water is such a simple nutrient that we often forget all about. Coffees and sodas, although quench thirst and come with fun things like caffeine and sugar, do not give the body enough of its most basic nutrient. Get 1L for every 50lbs of bodyweight, or drink water until your urine is a clear colour.
Revisit your goals
Remember those New Year’s Resolutions you set a few weeks ago? How are they doing? Have you celebrated any small wins related to your goals in the last few weeks? Maybe you didn’t set any goals, but have a few life plans you are pursuing. How’s that going?
By now 36% of people who set goals at the beginning of the year have already given up. This is not meant to discourage. No – in fact this should be motivating for 2 reasons. It means that 64% of you are still going strong! The second reason is that the year just started, so there is still so much time left to restart or reset your goals!
Now how does this relate to your overall mood? According to research, the active pursuit of goals has been shown to correlate with better quality of life. Humans need to feel accomplished and need to feel a sense of purpose.
By setting goals and achieving them, we feed into those needs and as a result enjoy better self-esteem, and better overall wellbeing.
So revisit your goals or life plans that you set, find a little-win to celebrate, and keep taking action every day to achieve your goals!
Last but certainly not least – Sweat!
Did you really think we could write an entire article on how to boost your mood and not include exercising?
Exercising is by far the easiest way to improve your mood. By changing your physical state, you are able to change your mental and emotional state.
Exercising can provide a sense of community and connection if you workout with friends or a personal trainer. Working out also increases blood flow throughout the body, improves how we perceive ourselves, increases production of happy hormones and mood boosting brain chemicals, and is a sure fire way to make you feel amazing.
So get outside, exercise, bring a few healthy snacks, and take action on your goals. Blue Monday is not something we have to experience simply because some guy in Wales said it was mathematically a sad day.
You get to decide how you experience the day.