20 Key Lifestyle Changes That Enhance Your Mood
Mental health issues are not experiences or symptoms to take lightly. In recent years, the Centers for Disease Control report that the use of antidepressants to cope with depression continues rose by 65% from 1999 to 2014. What’s triggering this increase?
Two words…chronic stress.(Source)
How to Change Your Mood with Social Interaction?
Many of us are living with physical ailments, economic changes such as a loss of job or income or are currently living in social environments that are not good for our mental health.
We do have the power to take actions and make lifestyle changes that can be beneficial to improving our overall state of mind.
Let’s take a closer look at the things you can do to enhance your mood and boost your mental health.
Get Out of the House
Make an effort to get out of the house. Spending excessive time alone can generate feelings of loneliness, depression, and an oppressive degree of fatigue that you cannot overcome. Studies show that socialization can not only help to boost your mood and mental wellness but extend your life expectancy.
Become One with Nature
Get outside into the sunshine and reap the benefits of those rays. Go for walks outside in the woods and inhale the oxygen. Sunlight boosts the production of serotonin and helps with vitamin D. Sunlight also helps to improve your sleep-wake cycle. (Source)
Use every opportunity possible to mingle with other people –face-to-face. Get out and meet with friends and family or meet new people. Research shows that spending time with others is vital to your mental wellness.
People who isolate themselves from others are more likely to experience loneliness which can worsen chronic health problems and trigger problems with depression, anxiety or even generate feelings of sadness.
Build a Support System
Surround yourself with positivity and positive people. Your network of friends, family, and mentors is vital to your mental wellness.
Change of Address
Not everyone can afford this next piece of advice, but it is still worth suggesting. Consider relocating. You cannot run away from your problems by moving to a new city, state or country, but a change of address may be the fresh start you need to reset your mental wellness. (Source)
How to Change Your Mood with Diet?
Your mental wellness depends heavily on your dietary choices to thrive. Merely changing the types of food, you choose to put into your body can have a profound effect on how it is you feel. Studies continue to deliver testimony to this statement.
Let’s examine the types of foods that may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
Drink water. If your hydration regimen consists of soft drinks and everything BUT water, it may be giving you the blues. Make sure that somewhere in between the sodas, juice, and alcohol that you consume 32 ounces of water each day.
Reduce Processed Food Intake
Decrease the number of processed foods you eat throughout the day. These foods are loaded with sugar that can slow you down and studies demonstrate that they can contribute to mood swings and symptoms of depression because of their impact on the chemicals in our brain.
Eat More Veggies and Fruits
Check your veggie and fruit intake. If you fall short of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, make adjustments as soon as possible and replace your calorie-rich foods with healthier choices.
Eat Foods that Contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research demonstrates that omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for the biological activity and functions of our brain and throughout our central nervous system. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have a significant role in how it is we manage our emotional swings and helps to protect us from experiences a sudden mental decline.(Source)
Foods that Contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids
To naturally increase your omega-3 fatty acid consumption, eat seafood, salmon, flaxseeds, mackerel, herring, anchovies, chia seeds, pastured eggs, omega-3 enriched eggs, nuts, Brussels sprouts, and spinach.
Eat Foods That Contain Tryptophan
Tryptophan is another critical ingredient in food that can help to enhance your mood naturally. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid is vital for increasing serotonin levels. Serotonin levels essentially drive the way we feel. It steers our mood up and down.
Foods that Contain Tryptophan
We hear a lot about tryptophan during the Thanksgiving holiday because tryptophan levels rise when we eat meals with a high-glycemic level. You can find tryptophan in protein-based foods such as meats, dairy, seeds, and fruits.
Eat Foods That Contain Vitamin B6
Here are a few signs your vitamin B6 levels might be low:
- Dry skin
- Chapped lips
- Skin Rashes
- Fatigue or low energy
- Poor immune function
- Mood swings
- Pain in hands and feet
Vitamin B6 helps to generate serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which assist us in managing our anxiety and depression. Research demonstrates that if you aim for 50-80 mg of B6 each day, it can help you to gain control of mental health symptoms.
Foods that Contain Vitamin B6
Foods that contain vitamin B6 include brown rice, bread, and cereals. Additionally, eggs, corn, chicken, nuts, peas, and sunflower seeds are valuable sources for B vitamins.
Contains antioxidants and contains an amino acid, theanine, which research shows are a potent ally for combatting depression symptoms.
Turmeric is receiving a lot of buzz lately for all of the health benefits it can deliver, but this spice contains properties that boost your mood.
If you are a fan of chocolate, make sure your chocolate stash mainly consists of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate helps to stimulate the release of serotonin into our system which ultimately enables us to feel good about ourselves.
How to Change Your Mood with Fitness?
Here are a few actions you can take to keep your physical health in check for mental wellness.
Fitness and Exercise
Get your exercise regimen up and running if you do not currently have one and if you already follow a regimen, it might be time to give it a facelift.
Exercise is a fantastic, natural prescription for improving your physical and mental health.
Exercise delivers an overwhelming sense of well-being. We feel good when we finish exercising. It gives us a sense of accomplishment, enables us to get better rest at night
and it has the power to make us feel good about ourselves and the life we are living.
Research shows that exercise is useful in helping us to manage symptoms of depression. Our bodies release endorphins when we are working out, and these chemicals help to relax us, boost our spirit and can help with pain or inflammation. (Source)
Another positive facet of exercise is that it can also be useful in helping us treat symptoms of anxiety. The reason for this advantage has everything to do with the ability of physical activity to demolish stress symptoms and improve our focus.
Exercise improves our energy levels and positions us to be resilient. (Source)
Here are a few tips for improving your fitness level.
Set Fitness Goals
To get active, you want first to establish a few goals for fitness that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. You want to keep things simple in the beginning because the end goal here is a success for your physical and mental health.
Find the exercises or activities you prefer to engage in doing and get busy! Avoid being monotonous. You want to incorporate variety so that you don’t get bored with your workout regimen. Remember to pick a time of day to work out that will allow you to be most successful and most likely to stick with it.
Look for ways to include family or friends in your fitness regimen. This action will allow you to have a little bit of fun.
The key to managing your physical health begins with practicing self-care. Self-care is all about you doing what is necessary to preserve your health. We are each guilty of putting the needs and happiness of others above our own. When we do that, we inadvertently neglect our individual needs, and this can lead to damaging side effects for our health.
Make every effort to get your check-ups on time, avoid skipping meals, eat healthy foods and make time for you.
Avoid Smoking and Substance Use
NAMI recommends that you steer clear of medications, drugs and even cigarettes as these things can disrupt your mental wellness or treatments used to manage mental health conditions. (Source)
Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Set aside some time to assess your sleep hygiene. Your goal should be to avoid caffeine before lying down each night. Caffeine is notorious for upsetting your sleep pattern to the extent that it can prove difficult for you to fall asleep at night or you may have some challenges staying asleep.
Next, if you struggle to fall asleep within 20 minutes of lying down, get up and do something (i.e., vacuum, wash dishes, clean your bathroom, organize a drawer) for 30 minutes then try again. You also have the option just to continue that activity until you feel sleepy once more.
Finally, keep those light levels low. You want to avoid phones, tablets, and laptops as lighting from these objects will help to get your melatonin levels up.
Other Key Ways To Boost Mood And Mental Health
There are several actions you can take to change your lifestyle in a way that benefits your mental health. Experts agree that the key to making a lifestyle change has a lot to do with managing your stress levels. Once you can harness the pulling stress has on your mental wellness, the more likely you are to experience a positive swing.
Here are a few additional lifestyle changes you can make to boost your mood and mental health.
Indulge in a massage. Massage therapy is an excellent tool for helping you naturally manage stress or anxiety levels. It can help to decrease your blood pressure, heart rate while improving your oxygen consumption, and cortisol levels.
Find Your Life Purpose
Find your purpose in life. Living your life’s purpose is extremely useful for people seeking to manage stress levels and do the things that improve their mood. Find a hobby that you love or indulge in the one you already know is your passion.
Learn to Accept Yourself
Another action that may help you to boost your mental perspective is self-acceptance. Do not focus on the things that you perceive to be wrong with you. Instead, shine a spotlight on what it is you are doing well in your life.
Focus on Your Strengths
In addition to accepting yourself and shining a spotlight on the things, you do well, work on reinforcing your strengths. Take on extra-curricular job roles or hobbies that allow you to use those strengths. (Source)
Build Your Self-Confidence
A component of building your strengths has a lot to do with building your self-confidence. Practice your affirmations, envision where you want to be, and slay your inner critic who likes to keep you from stepping outside of your box.
Get a New Job
If your job is holding you back from living your best life, get a new job. Studies show that people who are not happy with their work tend to perform poorly at work and may even contribute to adverse outcomes.
Find a job that allows you to be the best version of you possible.
Take Control of Your Finances
Money troubles can put you in a permanent state of moodiness while also increasing your anxiety or depression levels at the same time. Make adjustments as necessary to your budgeting practices to ensure you are financially stable. This action may require you to make a few spending cuts but keep your end goal in mind.
Journaling can be a natural, therapeutic way for healthily expressing your thoughts and feelings so that you can address those things contributing to stress in your life. Use the information you document in your journal to define cues or triggers for changes in your mood or mental health.
Make a Plan for the Next 12 Months
Make a list of the things you want to accomplish within the next 12 months and then identify what it is you want to do to achieve goals.
Join a Yoga Class
Join a yoga class. Yoga increases GABA which is particularly helpful in managing anxiety disorders. Yoga boosts your mental and physical awareness and does wonders to promote relaxation. Yoga improves symptoms associated with depression and can prove extremely helpful in managing sleep disorders.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a wonderful tool that can help you to slow down and quiet your mind while practicing being present in the here and now. By investing a little as ten minutes per day, mindfulness meditation can enable you to decrease your stress and anxiety levels. There are multiple physical health benefits as well including better heart health.
Step Away from Your Devices
Set aside time in which you are not engaging with your smartphone, tablet or laptop each day. Use it as a time for self-reflection.
Celebrate the small things ranging from cleaning the house to complete a course to small wins at work.
Volunteer your time. Volunteering not only makes us feel good because we are giving back and helping others, but it also boosts your immune functions and improves our energy levels.
Get Rid of Toxic People
Steer clear of toxic people in your life. They often generate feelings of negativity and raise stress levels and can alter your mood and mental wellness.
Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Step outside of your comfort zone. It may seem counterintuitive but doing something that doesn’t make you feel comfortable can have positive consequences for your mental wellness. Stepping out of your comfort zone does not have to be a giant leap but can be a small step.
How to Change Your Mood – Final Thoughts
In summary, you have the opportunity to make multiple lifestyle changes that can help to enhance your mood and boost your mental health. Remember to set goals that are SMART and devise a plan that will enable you to be successful in your endeavor to achieving or sustaining mental wellness.
Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Sometimes, we all need a little support from the experts, family, and friends to be successful in mastering such an undertaking. Practice making yourself a priority, and you will achieve great things.
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