Updated: Oct 5
Jess Apo on retreat in Morocco.
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It's not possible to be happy all the time. There are periods in life when everything is extra stressful, and an invisible veil of darkness seems to take over and put you in a state of loneliness. It's not the easiest thing to get out of. Luckily, there are things you can do to elevate your mood whenever you get the case of the blues. Here are some natural remedies that you can try to improve your mood when you're feeling down:
Make time for exercise.
It may not seem like it sometimes, but exercising can be a huge mood booster. Health psychologist Dr. Kelly McGonigal explains how exercising delivers an "endorphin rush," lowers your stress levels, reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation, relieves anxiety and depression, and a slew of other benefits. But if you're not up to run or perform some high-intensity exercise, doing yoga is an excellent alternative. Nancy Poole notes that a slow and steady yoga practice can help balance and regulate your mood, as well as counter feelings of anxiety, sleeplessness, and scattered thoughts. With yoga, you're able to find a sense of calm and learn to recognize what you're feeling, which can create light even in a dark time.
Get some sunshine.
Who would have thought that getting a dose of the sun's rays can make you feel happy? Experts always warn about the dangers of continuous exposure to the sun, but being out in the sun also has mood-lifting benefits. Healthline notes that decreased sun exposure has been associated with a drop in serotonin, leading to major depression with a seasonal pattern. It's precisely why many experience sadness, especially in the wintertime when the days are shorter. Not only that, but chronic lack of sun exposure has also been linked to fertility issues, some forms of cancer, and generally poor health. It doesn't hurt to have fun under the sun from time to time, so long as you protect your skin from the harmful rays with sunscreen.
Make changes to your diet.
Your diet can also be a huge contributor to your mood. Why do you think you suddenly feel happy when you munch on your favorite ice cream or drink your morning cup of coffee? Unfortunately, these common mood boosters have negative effects, with WebMD pointing out that too much coffee can cause restlessness and nervousness. But of course, there are healthier ways to get your caffeine fix – one of the more surprisingly pleasant ones being green coffee. Pretty Me's review of Lean N Green details how it can improve brain function by boosting focus and energy levels. This is because it's made with 'green' coffee beans, which are packed with powerful antioxidants and known to protect heart health. It also contains chlorogenic acid that helps in converting fat and glucose into energy. With a healthy alternative like this, not only will you enjoy a boost in mood, but you'll also get a surge of energy to power through your day.
Try massage therapy.
Getting a massage can also do wonders for your mood because it oozes relaxation. Massage therapy has the capacity to reduce the negative impacts of your stress levels and increase the positive ones. It produces a calming effect due to the pressure massage puts on the pain receptors under the skin, resulting in a more relaxed nervous system that slows your heart rate down and lowers your blood pressure, and impacts hormones related to stress. But if you don't have the time or the funds to regularly splurge on a massage, you can always invest in a massage gun to give yourself the therapy you need. GQ's review on the Theragun points out that tools like it can facilitate blood flow and allow for relaxation, especially when done at the correct time with the right pressure.
Written exclusively for clarksburgyoga.com
by Lily Wellings