If life is wearing you down, a few manageable changes can give you an instant lift. From eating the right foods to shifting your mindset, these strategies are designed to help boost mood, fight fatigue, and combat stress. Read on to start channeling more positive energy your way.
Get in 30 Minutes of Enjoyable Exercise, Every Day
Numerous studies have found that exercise helps to improve mood in people with everyday sadness and moderate depression. The key is consistency. Position exercise as a daily prescription, something you have to do every day in order to have an effect, just like taking medication on a schedule. Exercise releases endorphins, feel-good chemicals that may help lift mood, and also boosts self-esteem and self-confidence.
Eat Fatty Fish
If you like fish, fatty fish like salmon provides two mood-boosting ingredients: omega-3 fats and vitamin D. EPA, the type of omega-3 fat that seems to be most effective at improving mental well being, is not found in plant sources of omega-3s, so you won’t get any EPA from walnuts, chia or flax seeds. Eat salmon, sardines, trout and Atlantic mackerel to get your weekly fill of this good-for-you fat. Fatty fish is also the top food source of vitamin D, and low vitamin D levels have been associated with increased risk for depression.
Take 5 Minutes to Appreciate “The Small Things”
If you’re feeling low, this may be the simplest and most powerful step you can take to improve your mental well being and enhance your outlook. Once a day, when you’re brushing your teeth, making dinner, getting into bed, or have another moment to pause, take 5 minutes to think of three things that you are grateful for that day OR three things you did that make you proud. You’ll instantly feel more optimistic and less bogged down by the negative stuff life throws your way. You can think of mental exercise as meditation or positive self-talk, but however you view it, it should become a consistent part of your daily routine.
Avoid the Midday Slump with a Protein-Rich Snack
In today’s high-speed world, it’s normal to feel crazed and exhausted 24/7, but for many people the so-called “mid-afternoon slump” is the most problematic time of day. The clock hits three or four and you start to feel low-energy and draggy…and just want to crawl into bed. The solution: a well-timed, protein-packed snack. Scientists in the UK found that protein “wakes up” brain cells, which help you stay alert and focused. Protein rich snacks might include nonfat Greek yogurt (plain or flavored), 1 or 2 string cheese, or 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs. Or, mix up a travel-friendly Protein Trail Mix by combining 2 cups air-popped or low-fat popcorn, 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, and 2 tablespoons roasted edamame.
Source: Everyday health.com