We all have those times where we feel a bit low or under the weather, especially in winter when we haven’t seen the sun for weeks, but the blues can strike at any time. Of course if you are really depressed or have been feeling down with no reason for more than a few days then the best thing to do is to seek the help of a professional – in this case your GP should be the first port of call. But if you what you need is a mood booster then look no further there are some simple things that you can do that can help shift that dreary grey mood.
1) Let the light in – light is essential for the body – we get vitamin D from sunlight and it also encourages our bodies to produce serotonin both of which have a direct effect on our mood. Serotonin gives us more energy and reduces our carbohydrate cravings. Studies have shown that a few minutes in a bright environment can dramatically improve our mood. Get out for a short walk and if you can’t open the curtains or blinds wide to let as much light as you can into your house, or take a few minutes to just stand outside.
2) Spend time with a friend or loved one – it may sound obvious but quality time with a friend or loved one can really give you a boost (and no that doesn’t mean being on different laptops in the same room). Social contact is vitally important to human beings and lack of it is the reason many people go into a rapd decline when they retire from work.
3) Drink a cup of coffee – believe it or not drinking one or two cups of coffee a day has been shown by scientists in America to reduce the risk of depression by up to 50%, whereas drinking sweetened and carbonated soft drinks actually increases the risk.
4) Do a good deed – scientists have also shown that doing something nice for someone else increases our own sense of wellbeing. The good deed could be as simple as buying a gift for a loved one or doing a good turn for a friend, or it could be something bigger and further reaching donating to charity for example or volunteering. Voluntary sector jobs can be found on websites such as Do-it or at your local volunteer agency.
5) Shake yourself up – physical exercise has also been proven to have a positive effect on a person’s mood and to increase their overall sense of wellbeing. If it’s a nice day go for a short walk or cycle ride or if not take a trip to the gym or local swimming pool. If you can’t face going out put on some music and dance round the living room. If you want to do keep fit at home charity shops and bargain stores often have cut price exercise DVDs that bring the class to you.
- Photo credit: My Blog Guest community
Sam Wright is a freelance writer with an interest in the voluntary sector