The five fastest ways to improve your mood
Feeling a bit flat or cranky? More serious changes in mood might require expert help but if you’ve just got a bad case of the “blahs”, then try these tips to shake them off.
1) Get some sunshine
Fortunately here in Australia we don’t suffer from the months (and months) of grey weather and dark days that the Northern Exposure experiences during winter, but even a small decline in sunlight can reduce the amount of serotonin our brain produces. Serotonin helps create a positive outlook and if levels drop, we can start to feel glum and our desire for carbohydrates will increase.
Top tip: Get outside in the sun for at least 10 minutes every morning – without sunglasses!
2) Have a cup of green tea
Green tea is very good for helping with weight loss and protecting our cells from damage, but it also contains a very special amino acid called L-theanine. This unique component encourages a state of gentle relaxation without making us feel drowsy. In fact, when people take L-theanine, their brain starts to make the same brain waves produced when we mediate, demonstrating how de-stressed it can make us. Not only that, green tea encourages the production of another brain chemical called dopamine which helps to reduces craving and make us feel motivated.
Top tip: drink several cups of green tea every day
3) Jump up and play
Just ten minutes of vigorous movement will send a boost of endorphins charging through you, giving you an immediate lift in both mood and energy. It doesn’t matter what you do, just that it’s vigorous and fun. Try skipping with a rope outside in the sun, dance around to some upbeat music or play tug-of-war with the dog. This isn’t exercise, this is play!
Top tip: Add fun, physical activity to your day
4) Be grateful
Focusing for a few minutes on all that is good in your life can quickly change a state of mind. Write down 5 things that you have to be grateful for right in this moment. For example, are you sitting in a comfortable chair? Can you see that your favourite plant has just flowered? Are you drinking your favourite tea? Try to focus on what you are grateful for right now, and not what has already happened or might happen later.
Top tip: practice mindfulness and gratitude every day
5) Laugh out loud
Laughing – or even just smiling – boosts all the brain chemicals that make us feel good. Avoid watching television that makes you feel angry or sad and instead focus on filling your environment with positive influences. Keep a stash of funny YouTube clips, podcasts or books ready for when you need to quickly change negative thoughts and shake off a bad mood.
Top tip: watch, read or listen to something funny every day
Stress is an underlying cause in many chronic diseases and weight problems. Stress management is one of the 6 Principles of the W8less Challenge. Learning how to improve your body’s response to stress not only makes you feel better but makes it possible to reduce food cravings and make permanent changes to improve your health.