50 Ways to Say Goodbye to the Moody Blues
Just can’t shake those negative feelings? Try these tips guaranteed to brighten your day…
By Charlotte Haigh
Put on a CD
Make sure it’s either upbeat or classical music – studies have found listening to these sorts of tunes can really perk you up.
“The B group of vitamins are vital for a good mood,” says nutritionist Patrick Holford. On a bad day, load whole grains, green vegetables, meat, fish and dairy on to your plate.
A 30-minute walk will give you an instant boost, and going for a brisk stroll three times a week is as effective as anti-depressants, according to research from Duke University in the US.
Sunlight stimulates production of happiness-inducing melatonin. Make the most of the warmer weather (don’t forget your sunscreen!).
Smell yourself happy
“Jasmine essential oil triggers the release of the brain’s feelgood chemicals (endorphins) to elevate your mood,” says Margo Marrone, homeopath and founder of The Organic Pharmacy. Add 10 drops of it to a warm bath – try Tisserand Jasmine in Jojoba Oil (�5.99/9ml, from health food stores).
Look at yellow
“Yellow can lift your spirits and self-esteem,” says colour psychologist Angela Wright. Put on a sunny-coloured top, or buy yourself a bright bunch of flowers for your desk.
Read a novel
Dipping into a book is a great form of escapism and perfect for lifting you out of a grumpy mood.
Splash out on a treatment – a facial (or a massage for men) will help you look great as well as relaxing you by working out tension in your face and neck.
Get yourself out of self-pity mode by writing a gratitude list. Note down everything that’s great in your life, from the good neighbour who always helps out at the last minute to a family holiday coming up soon.
Think yourself happy
“Reflecting on something pleasant can encourage feelings of joy,” says Patrick Whiteside, psychiatrist and author of Happiness (Rider, �5.99). “Sit quietly for a few minutes, then bring to mind something simple that gives you pleasure, whether it’s the sunshine on your face or the sight of your kids tucked up in bed.”Have some child’s play Get in touch with your carefree side by enjoying some childish games. Take your kids or some friends to the park for a game of frisbee or football.
“Your body language can quickly change the way you feel,” says life coach Fiona Harrold. Imagine you’re in a fantastic mood and you’ll automatically hold yourself with a straight back, relaxed shoulders – and a smile!Pop a pill When you’re down, try a natural supplement that helps your body build new cells can reduce the release of stress hormones.
Keep up appearances
According to a study hospital patients who keep themselves well-groomed reported feeling more positive – so treat yourself to a haircut etc.Eat a plum… or a banana, some pineapple or chicken or turkey – these foods are all rich in tryptophan, a chemical that your brain uses to make the feelgood hormone serotonin.
Phone a friend
A chat with a sympathetic mate will take your mind off your problems and put things into perspective.
Try a challenge
Whether it’s a new sport or an exercise class you’ve never tried or a different recipe, new challenges boost your confidence and your mood.19Pat yourself on the back Write a list of all your achievements, from passing your driving test to bringing up your kids – and congratulate yourself.
Take happy herbs
“Rhodiola and St John’s wort are excellent for improving your mood,” says Margo Marrone. Try The Organic Pharmacy Rhodiola and St John’s Wort Tincture (�10.99/50ml, from www.theorganicpharmacy.com).
Yes, really – there’s nothing like a practical task to get you out of that melancholic mindset. Clean the oven or polish all your shoes – it will take your mind off things and give you a sense of satisfaction.
Talk yourself up
“Using the right words helps you feel instantly sparkier,” says Astrid Longhurst, author of Body Confidence (Michael Joseph, �12.99). When someone asks how you are, don’t say “fine” or “ok”, use words like ‘fantastic’ or ‘brilliant’.
Whether you try ballroom dancing lessons or hit a club with your friends, boogying will raise your spirits.24Get flower power “The flower remedy celandine is great if you’re having a day of looking negatively at the world,” says Nikki Bradford, author of Heal Yourself with Flowers and Other Essences.
Nuts are rich in magnesium, which helps keep you serene. So replace your usual choccie bars and crisps with a handful of Brazils, almonds or walnuts.
Buy yourself a pressie
A small, meaningful gift will give your subconscious the message that you’re worth it without putting you into debt. Try a new CD, DVD or even fresh flowers.
Make a plan
Having something to look forward to can get you through the worst day. Spend your lunch hour surfing the net for a holiday or even just a great night out with your mates.
Take a tip from yoga enthusiasts and spend five minutes sitting quietly and humming “ohm’. You might feel a bit silly, but studies show it can warm the skin and relax your muscles, helping you feel chilled out and cheerful.
Have a night in
Hire your favourite comedy movie and stockpile pizza and popcorn – with or without friends.
Spending time in a quiet, reflective place can transform your mood – take a gentle walk in the park or browse your local bookshop.
“Team sports are fun and will instantly lift your mood – plus they give you the motivation to stick at getting fit,” says mind body therapist Gloria Thomas.
Work on your hands
Blitz stress and brighten your mood with a spot of hand reflexology. Work on the points on your palms at the base of each thumb. They correspond to your adrenal glands, which become overworked when you’re wound-up. Support one hand in the other and use the pad of your thumb to firmly massage the point.
Have a laugh
Read or watch something that makes you laugh – or try giving a funny friend a call.Get your oats Oats soothe the central nervous system, so there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of porridge on one of those grumpy mornings.
You need these to produce the good-mood chemical serotonin, according to a study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. So if you’re feeling low, forget Atkins and tuck into a big bowl of pasta.
Invest in some paints and mess about with them for half an hour. Don’t worry about producing a masterpiece, just have fun.
Sing in the shower
It doesn’t matter if you’re tone deaf – research from the Institute of Music, Health and Education in the US has found just five minutes of singing or humming can put you in a sunnier mood.
Have an early night
Enjoy a long bath, then get into a bed made with clean sheets – pure luxury.Have a swim It can make you feel more energetic, happier and less tense, says a study from the University of London – so get your cossie on and hit the local pool.
Overhaul your image
A new suit or outfit can boost your mood no end. So take a trusted friend and go shopping – even a new belt or tie can be enough. Check out charity shops if you’re on a tight budget.
Studies show helping people boosts self esteem and gets you to think about someone else for a while.
It may sound flaky but try this… “Sit quietly for 10 minutes and close your eyes,” says Tibetan medical practitioner Christopher Hansard. “Imagine a stream of light flowing fast into your body and, as it touches you, imagine a sense of a sense of happiness. Keep the image of this light with you throughout the day.”
Talk yourself into a good mood
Affirmations help you think more positively. Try repeating 10 times the phrase “I am comfortably happy and confident and my day is going well”. If you feel silly saying it out loud, write it down and look at it every hour.
Play with a pet
Studies have found that when pets are taken into nursing homes, patients report feeling happier.Do something social Mixing with others is one of the best ways to improve your mood and keep you feeling sparky. From window shopping to eating out – doing something with friends makes you more cheerful.
Go to bed…
Orgasms stimulate a big rush of mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins, so have one tonight!
Write it down
Scribble out honestly whatever’s getting to you, whether it’s the kids playing up or the row you’ve just had with your mum, and keep writing till it’s all off your chest. You’ll feel better instantly.
Spend an hour in a green space, even if it’s just your garden or local park, and appreciate nature – it’ll work wonders for your spirits.
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