When you’re feeling down, there are simple ways to make you feel happier that don’t require popping a pill. Studies show that happier people are more sociable, likeable, healthy, and productive. So if you’re experiencing a blues emergency, you can lift your spirits right now by using some of the following strategies.
Eat Plenty of Seafood
There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids abundant in seafood–eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In humans, high DHA levels have been linked to increased levels of dopamine and serotonin, the same brain chemicals that antidepressants boost. In addition, low levels of DHA in animals have been linked to symptoms and markers that mimic depression. Eat cold-water fish (salmon or mackerel) at least twice a week or take an Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement daily.
Surround Yourself with Fresh Scents
Your sense of smell plays a role in your mood. In fact, a Physiology & Behavior study found that people sitting in a dentist’s office were less anxious and in better moods when the waiting room smelled like orange or lavender. Try to keep the areas where you feel the most stressed, such as your office, smelling the best.
Get a Little Sunshine
Too little sunshine can lead to a vitamin D deficiency, and a 2008 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that vitamin D levels were 14 percent lower in depressed people. The sun on your skin needs exposure time to bring about the change that produces vitamin D, according to Reinhold Vieth, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Toronto’s department of nutritional sciences. Vieth recommends taking a vitamin D supplement daily since using food alone as a supply of vitamin D can be tough.
Drink More Milk
Milk is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid needed for the production of serotonin, a mood-boosting brain chemical. Your body can’t make tryptophan on its own, so it has to come from dietary sources like milk, where the amino acid is plentiful. Three 8-ounce servings of milk a day translates to 0.6 grams of tryptophan, enough to lift your spirits when combined with a protein-rich diet.
Go For a Run
According to a study of more than 12,000 people published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports compared with sedentary people, those who ran regularly were 70 percent less likely to experience high stress and life dissatisfaction. Regular exercise increases adrenal activity, which enhances the release of hormones like noradrenaline, serotonin, beta-endorphin, and dopamine. These hormones can all help improve mood.
Listen To Some Music
If you’re feeling down, the best way to change your mood might be to listen to some tunes. A 2006 Journal of Advanced Nursing study found that listening to music for an hour a day for a week could reduce symptoms of depression by up to 25 percent.
Photos do more than remind you of the past: They can unlock a current bad mood, assuming the shots bring to mind happier times. Researchers from the University of Southampton found that feeling nostalgic increases self-regard, social bonds, and positive feelings.
So the next time you’re feeling a little down, try these simple strategies to pick you back up and brighten your day.