Our mood impacts various aspects of our life including relationships, work and health. Often the day goes by without us taking a moment to process our thoughts or think about how we are feeling. Altering our mood is something that many of us can easily control, so we’ve put together our top 5 ways to add positive vibes to your day.
1. Eat happy foods
There are a variety of foods that are thought to improve your mood and adding them to your diet will help to add some positive vibes to your day. Chocolate (surprised?) can increase your mood by releasing endorphins (feel good chemicals) in the brain and reducing the stress hormone cortisol.1 Avocados are packed with tyrosine which helps the body produce dopamine that controls the brains reward and pleasure centre.2 Oily fish like salmon is loaded with brain boosting omega-3’s and they have been suggested to reduce symptoms of depressions and anxiety.3
The enteric nervous system embedded in the gut contains as many neurotransmitters as our brain and as a result our guts are often referred to as our ‘second brain’. Around 90% of serotonin and 50% of dopamine is produced in our guts. Eating foods such as natural yogurt and sauerkraut will help supply your gut with good bacteria and keep it ticking over. Yogurt is also a great source of vitamin B12 which helps form our oxygen carrying red blood cells.
Healthy carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats, bananas, vegetables and legumes have also been found to boost your mood by producing serotonin. Spinach contains all sorts of mood-boosting nutrients including folate, magnesium and zinc. Other mood boosting foods include nuts, seeds, mushrooms and quinoa.
2. Exercise regularly
Have you ever gone for a run after a stressful day in the office and felt much better after? Exercise appears to enhance the production of the ‘feel-good’ hormones in the brain including endorphins and serotonin. We are constantly told to exercise to help us lose weight and reduce our risk of developing diseases like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. But it appears that exercise can also bring a whole host of benefits to our mental wellbeing, such as reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as improving self-esteem.4
It’s important to choose an activity that you enjoy or one that fits into your lifestyle. It doesn’t need to be a 10km run, you could also go for a brisk walk, a cycle, a swim, or a class such as yoga.
3. Be at one with nature
Have you ever taken a walk through the park to clear your head or let off steam? Well it’s been suggested that our connection to nature can influence our health and wellbeing. Spending more time outside in the fresh air and actually appreciating what nature has to offer, appears to not only benefit your physical health but also your state of mind. Proximity to green spaces has also been associated with lower levels of stress and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. Experts don’t yet know what the specific mechanisms are for delivering these benefits, but there is clear evidence that we should venture outside more often.5
4. Something to make you laugh or smile
When someone or something makes us laugh or smile, we subconsciously feel happy. But did you know that when we laugh or smile a number of physiological changes occur inside our bodies that have been shown to enhance our mood? Movements in the muscles of the face are interpreted by the brain and when the brain thinks we are happy, it releases endorphins (feel good chemicals).6 These hormones can also help to lower your feelings of stress by reducing the release of the ‘stress’ hormone cortisol.
5. Find time for mindfulness
This doesn’t need to take up much of your time but adding some mindfulness to your day can really make a difference to your state of mind. All you need to do is take 5 minutes out of your day to reflect on your thoughts and the way that your body is feeling at that very moment. It can help you come to terms with why you may be feeling a certain way, and allow you to understand and control your emotions. There are also a number of mindfulness activities you can do such as meditation, breathing techniques and colouring in a book.
This week we hope to be sharing the positive vibes with you. We've got something exciting kicking off in London and at 3 other destinations around the country. Stay tuned on our Instagram page.
- Benton, D. and Donohoe, R T. (1999). The effects of nutrients on mood. Public Health Nutrition, 2: 403–9.
- Meeusen, Romain. (2014). Exercise, Nutrition and the Brain. Sports Medicine, 44: 47-56.
- Latif Wani, A b. Ahmad, Bhat. Sajad. and Ara, Anjum. (2015). Omega-3 fatty acid and the treatment of depression: a review of scientific evidence. Integrative Medical Research, 4(3): 132-141.
- Guszkowska, M. (2004). Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood. Psychiatria Polska, 38:611–620.
- Pearson, David G. and Craig, Tony. (2014). The great outdoors? Exploring the mental health benefits of natural environments. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 1178.
- Neuhoff, C C 1. and Schaefer, C. (2002). Effects of laughing, smiling, and howling on mood. Psychological Reports, 92: 1079-1080.