Stress and depression are usually caused by external factors, but you may be surprised at how much your habits affect your mood. Cultivate these 14 mood lifters to improve your mood, and your mental health, every day.
Get moving - People who exercise three times a week are nearly 20% less likely to be depressed, according to a study done at University College London. Every additional time participants were active, their risk of depression dropped another 6%. It doesn’t need to be a sweat inducing workout, going for a walk is enough.The study followed more than 11,000 individuals born in 1958 and recorded their physical activity and symptoms of depression for 50 years. Those who were active experienced less depression, and those who experienced more depression were less active.
Get it done - Does your todo list make you anxious? You may have any number of reasons for putting off certain tasks, perhaps they are monotonous tasks, or you’re nervous about not getting it right. Whatever the reason, every task that you put off doing weighs on you. Play some music or find some other way to make a bit more tolerable, and get busy.
Have a laugh - When someone does something silly, do you respond with laughter or annoyance? If you get annoyed, you could be raising your risk of becoming depressed.Numerous studies have shown laughter to be effective medicine against all kinds of ailments, both mental and physical. Studies have even shown that people in pain needed less pain medication when they had a good belly laugh at least once a day. Watch a comedy, spend some time with a friend who has a sense of humor, or hang around with kids.
Take care of yourself - If you’re like most people, there are so many demands on your time that it’s hard to find any for yourself.Schedule time for yourself. Even if you’re a single parent working full time, take a few minutes on break or after the kids are in bed to do something for yourself. If you can get a weekend to yourself, that’s great, but even just a few minutes a day to yourself will do wonders.
Put the gadgets away - Always being connected takes its toll on your health, and all those gadgets and constant notifications can be overstimulating. Put all of the gadgets away for a few hours. Better yet, leave them in the house and go outside for some sunshine and exercise. If you have some reason that you have to be accessible, at least turn off all the social media notifications. They’ll wait until the next time you check in.
One thing at a time - Do you read email while watching TV and talking on the phone, and scarfing down a bag of chips? Do you really remember any detail of any of those activities? When you try to do several things at once, you really don’t do any of them well.Do one thing at a time and focus on that one thing. Think of it as mindfulness meditation and notice how much calmer you feel as you go through your day.
Stand tall - You can probably tell a lot about a person about the way they hold themselves, and you’ve probably noticed that your posture reflects your state of mind. What you may not know, is that your posture can also affect your state of mind.Studies show that people who walk with their head up and shoulders back feel better than those who slouch. Start noticing your posture whenever you catch sight of your reflection and notice how much better you feel when you walk tall.
Put the camera down - Taking pictures of things may actually hinder your ability to remember what you’re photographing, according to research. In a study published in Psychological Science, people remembered less of things they photographed than they did things they didn't. If you need to take a picture, fine, but try to spend more time enjoying an experience than recording it, you’ll get more out of it and you’ll remember more of it.
Deal with bullies - It may be easy to ignore this mood lifters example, but if you were bullied in school and you think that you left that mess behind you when you graduated, think again. Approximately 35% of people are bullied in the workplace at some point, and more than 70% of people have witnessed bullying in the workplace.If you’re being bullied at work, carefully document as many interactions as you can and deal with it according to your company’s policies. If you’ve witnessed bullying at work, speak up. It wasn’t okay in high school, and it’s not okay now.
Get out of toxic relationships - This can be tough, but if you are in any kind of abusive relationship, get help. We typically think of abusive relationships as being romantic in nature, but abuse can be found anywhere, from friends, family members, or anyone else. Abuse destroys your self-esteem and can leave you feeling anxious and depressed. You don’t have to put up with being mistreated. It will take work, but when you finally stand up for yourself, you’ll be glad you did.
Get some rest - Sleep is vital for both physical and mental health, but most people don’t get enough. Not getting enough sleep can drain your immune system, making you prone to illness, interfere with your cognitive abilities, and leave you feeling drained. If you’re burning the candle at both ends, it’s time to slow down. If you’re suffering from insomnia, work on creating a restful environment and a relaxing bedtime routine.
Have a conversation - Texting and social media are great for staying in touch with distant family and friends, but it doesn’t replace face to face conversations. Interacting with others through a computer screen doesn’t allow you to connect in the same way as an in-person conversation. Put down your phone and talk to someone. Better yet, make a point to have a real conversation with another person face to face at least once a week, daily is better.
Get some sun - It’s a well known fact that people are more likely to experience depression and for depression to become worse in the winter than in the summer so don't over look this member of the common mood lifters. Sunshine stimulates the productions of endorphins and serotonin. It also boosts your vitamin D levels, which can help boost your immune system. Indoor light doesn’t count, get outside and get a little sun.
Stop complaining - When things aren’t going well, it’s natural to want to complain about it. Problem is, complaining accomplishes little more than keeping you stuck in negative patterns. When in your life isn’t going the way you want, instead of complaining try brainstorming a solution. Not only will you take steps to fix the problem, you’ll find your whole outlook on life improves.
If you really want an example of powerful mood lifters, find a friend (or a few friends) who makes you laugh, leave the gadgets at home, and go for a walk in the sunshine, and be sure to walk tall, like you mean it. Go to a park and take in some nature, and you’ll be adding an additional depression fighter as well as helping you recover from adrenal fatigue. Good mood lifters are vital to decreasing stress and helping your adrenals recover.