With our hectic, busy schedules, long to-do lists, and just trying to keep ahead in the game of life, it’s no wonder 40 million Americans have an anxiety disorder and 20 million have mood disorders. If you are in either of these categories or just find yourself stressed out or in a bad mood much of the time, here are some natural ways to make you smile more and reduce your mood swings.
Feel Good Mood Food
Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that regulates mood, and creates feelings of happiness and calmness. You can get a boost in serotonin by eating foods with tryptophan such as nuts, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Eating foods with folate (vitamin B9) also enhances the production of serotonin as well as other brain chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine that affect mood. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and Brussel sprouts, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, asparagus, sunflower seeds, lentils, peanuts, liver and soybeans are all good sources for folate making them good mood food. Another important vitamin for serotonin production is vitamin D which you’ll find in fish, fortified cereals, dairy and soy, and some types of mushrooms. Since mood is dependent on the brain, it is also important to be feeding your brain the nutrients it needs to be healthy and perform its best. This includes omega-3 fatty acids which you find in foods such as fatty coldwater fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, olive oil and AFA bluegreen algae.
Supplement Your Mood
SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine) can be found in supplement form and help with giving you a mood boost. The body naturally produces some of this but the older we get the less the body produces on its own. Multiple studies report that it is especially useful in helping the symptoms of depression. Before deciding to try this supplement, check with your healthcare provider to make sure it is safe for you especially if you have diabetes, low blood pressure or anxiety disorder. If you find yourself in an anxious mood a lot, having trouble sleeping, or with mood swings, the herbal supplement St. John’s Wort may be a good supplement to help you. Again, check with your healthcare provider to make sure this is a safe supplement for you since there are some medications such as blood thinners, antidepressants and birth control pills that don’t mix well with it. AFA bluegreen algae supplements are another supplement that can give you not only a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, but also the essential fatty acids the brain craves and PEA (phenylethylamine) associated with mood. We aren’t able to produce these EFAs ourselves and must get them from foods or supplements for healthy brain and nerve cells. And whereas the body does produce PEA, we often can’t keep up with the demand. This form of AFA with the cell wall removed through a special process is especially made to feed the brain and the blood that goes to it. Along with AFA bluegreen algae, this mental focus algae supplement gives you the brain boosting ingredients of eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion’s Mane mushroom, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni. Then there is this combination of nine colorful algae giving you even more algae power with dulse, kelp, fucoidan, Ecklonia cava, bladderwrack, Dunaliella salina, spirulina, chlorella and pure wild bluegreen algae.
Move Into a Good Mood
Much research reports that using exercise and physical activity can help boost your mood. This is due to exercise releasing endorphin hormones that act as mood boosters while it also lowers stress hormones. One study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine from January 2005 reported mood being positively impacted by just 3 hours a week of moderate activity. Exercise has been found to actually be able to help you maintain a mood boost for up to 12 hours and that it can help reduce depression symptoms by up to 50%. If your not up to strenuous workouts, that’s OK. Just get out and walk, take up swimming, bike riding, or find what type of physical activity you are able to do and do it.
Being Social to Boost Mood
Maintaining your social connections is another natural way to boost mood. Going places to meet with friends and family keeps depression at bay unlike isolating yourself, keeps you active, and gives you a reason to dress and groom for your best presentation which keeps your mood up. It also helps keep you mentally engaged and stimulated by having others to converse with. If you hang out with happy, positive minded people, studies show your own good mood can be increased as much as 9% just by being around them. If you have physical reasons that prevent you from going out, stay connected by entertaining at your place, talking on the phone, using Skype, email, or chat groups. The best way for a mood boost though is to have face-to-face physical connection with others as demonstrated by a study done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that found human touch is able to trigger serotonin and endorphins to be released. In lieu of connecting with other people, interacting with pets has also been found helpful in releasing serotonin and lowering the stress hormone cortisol. I know my animals make me smile and feel good several times a day.
No matter how busy you are or how much you have to do, life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. Give some of these natural ways to boost your mood a try and see what works to keep a smile on your face.
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