- Mental Health»
How to Get in a Good Mood: 5 Easy Tricks to Improve Your Mood
Even the happiest people in the world have not so happy moments. Stresses from work or home life, bills, the economy, all of these things can wear a person down and cause a bad mood to strike.
If you find yourself struggling with how to get in a good mood more often than usual, there are ways you can kick the blues without having to rely on drugs or other medications. Try these five easy tricks to improve your mood naturally and feel better fast.
Improve Your Mood with Endorphins
To get in a better mood, studies show that a mere 30 minutes of activity a day can get your endorphins hopping and keep your mood elevated for hours afterward.
"Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine," writes WebMD. "For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as 'euphoric.' That feeling, known as a 'runner's high,' can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life."
If you need only a quick dose to get you going at work or wherever you might be, make a dash to the bathroom or somewhere private for a micro-mini workout.
After you've made sure no one else is around, step up the pace and run in place for 20 seconds. Then do 10 or 15 jumping jacks. End with a few stretching exercises. Not only will you feel better, but with the light flush in your cheeks from your break time quickie, you'll look better, too.
Cut Out Aspartame to Enhance Your Mood
It's becoming more and more known that some diet products may be contributing to mood swings. There is an ingredient in most diet drinks and other artificially sweetened foods that has proven to be bad all the way around. It is called aspartame. It's been said that aspartame causes memory loss, that it increases appetite for carbohydrates, and that it's dangerous for diabetes patients due to its keeping blood sugar levels out of control.
People with mood disorders are even more sensitive to aspartame. According to Mercola.com, "In a double blind study of the effects of aspartame on persons with mood disorders, findings showed a large increase in serious symptoms for persons taking aspartame. Since some of the symptoms were so serious, the Institutional Review Board had to stop the study."
Do a search for aspartame warnings, and you're certain to get the idea. It is a drug that is well documented to change the brain's chemistry, which can lead to any number of serious problems, including bad moods.
(A false aspartame rumor, however, is that it is responsible for some cancers, brain tumors, and multiple sclerosis.)
Smell Your Way to a Better Mood
In a recent issue of Woman's World, one trick they list to brighten your mood is your own sense of smell. It has long been discovered that smells and emotions are connected. "In fact," WW says, "just a few whiffs of nostalgic scents can stir up happy memories that alter brain waves for the better."
To test the theory, they suggest a sniff of Play-Doh, baking bread, or your mom's perfume.
The reason smells affect people's moods is due to the memory connected to the smell. One person's mood might be boosted from smelling a particular flower because it reminds them of a happy time when that flower was blooming. Another person might not feel as great while smelling that same flower because it reminds them of an unhappy time.
"Indeed," Rachel S. Herz, an assistant professor of psychology at Brown University, writes on ScientificAmerican.com, "in a recent study undertaken by the US military to create a stink bomb, it was impossible to find an odor (including US army issue latrine scent) that was unanimously considered unpleasant across various ethnic groups. So it isn't just neutral or moderate odors that vary by culture, what we think stinks does, too."
If you ever want to lift your spirits, try sniffing something that takes you back to happier days...and avoid stink bombs!
Be Happy, Eat More Folic Acid
What you eat affects how you feel, so if you want to get in a good mood fast, eat foods that include folic acid.
"Foods with folic acid in them include leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts," states the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. "Enriched breads, cereals and other grain products also contain folic acid. If you don't get enough folic acid from the foods you eat, you can also take it as a dietary supplement."
Of course, this doesn't mean to go overboard, but within reason, eating more whole wheat bread and other foods with folic acid can enhance your mood.
LiveStrong.com claims, "Folic acid works with vitamin B12 to produce S-adenosylmethionine, or SAM-e, an important compound that plays a role in mood. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that SAM-e is used to produce and break down certain mood-regulating chemicals known as neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine and melatonin. A deficiency in any one of these neurotransmitters can result in feelings of depression, irritability and anxiety and can also negatively impact your quality of sleep."
If you would rather take a supplement, try 400 mcg a day for adults. It is possible to take too much, so be sure to stay within the daily recommendations. It is looking more and more like folic acid could be the natural answer for those suffering from depression and certainly for those with minor mood swings. Just be careful not to overdo it.
Fake a Good Mood and It Will Become Real
You have heard the saying, "Fake it 'til you make it." Well, this can apply to your mood as well.
You might feel silly doing it, but sometime when you're feeling bummed and want to get in a better mood, try laughing spontaneously. It may start out as a fake laugh, but it won't stay that way for long. Laughter is contagious, too. It's very hard to hold back your own laughter when watching someone else so obviously enjoying themselves.
WW adds, "Just pretending to be upbeat – say, by telling a joke – can send levels of 'happiness' hormones surging in 40% of people, studies show."
So, the next time you start to feel down, try these simple tips to naturally improve your mood. You never know. They might be just what you need for a happier you.