As we get into the darker months, it’s important to keep ourselves healthy and mood high. Kim Plaza, Bio-Kult expert, has five top tips on everyday ways you can boost your mood.
1. Keep a gratitude diary
Getting your thoughts down and out of your head can be a quick and effective strategy to boost your mood. Positive psychology is a growing area of research, with some reported benefits including fewer physical symptoms and better quality of life. So whether you write about something that’s bothering you, or try to answer a set of positive-related prompts, or simply jotting down any thoughts at all! Getting your ideas out may help to organise thoughts and provide a different perspective.
2. Schedule down time
Modern living can have us so used to organising our time, down to the minute, so we may not have any time left for ourselves. It’s important to have time for yourself and if this means you need to block out time in your calendar, then do it! The activity of resting doesn’t necessarily mean idleness, but an activity that is personal to you and involves a change from a previous state. For example, reading, listening to music, watching a film or more physical activities like yoga, stretching, gardening or walking.
3. Get out in the open
Exposure to nature and green space has been suggested to have a protective role on mental health and boost mood. Physical activity is also a well-documented benefit for stress-reduction in depression and anxiety. So try factoring some outdoor physical activity into your day and perhaps plan to meet with a friend or family member and chat through what you’ve got going on.
4. Laugh more
Laughing is a physiological response that is widely acknowledged to have psychological benefits. Although there are many different theories as to why we laugh, benefits are apparent for improving depressive symptoms, anxiety and stress. The traditional spontaneous type of laughter was found to reduce agitation in patients with dementia, and has also been suggested to support healthy cardiovascular and immune function. So try surrounding yourself with those people that find the funnier side of life, or invite friends to see a comedy show — sometimes the silliest of things can get you going.
5. Mood food
The food that we eat and the way that we eat may influence our mood. This may be familiar to you if you’ve ever been ‘hangry’! Drops in blood sugar can cause rises in the stress hormone cortisol and consuming refined carbohydrates and sweetened food or drinks may exacerbate this rollercoaster of energy and mood. Opting for wholegrains and sufficient protein in your diet may help to temper blood sugar peaks and troughs and therefore improve mood.
There’s also lots of research into the microbiota-gut-brain axis and the communication between gut bacteria and the body’s immune, hormonal and nervous system. Live bacteria supplements like Bio-Kult Brighten contain 14 strains that were recently found to improve depressive symptoms in a group of people with low mood.
Read more Health tips from the “Friend” on our website.