Five Nearly Effortless Ways To Boost Your Mood

enoying-sunshine-KarrieNodalo-flickr.jpg

A great skill to have, if you are depressed, is doing things that nurture well-being although you get no pleasure from doing them.

Fortunately, while making sizable efforts such as swimming 50 pool laps has great benefit, there are plenty of small, nearly effortless things we can do to care for ourself—and maybe brighten our mood.

Five Nearly Effortless Ways To Boost Well-Being

  1. Hold a pencil between your lips - so that each end of the pencil points to an ear - for a few minutes. This activates facial muscles the same way smiling does. Research has demonstrated that smiling has a positive effect on mood and emotion. The pencil smile is easy to do when watching TV, reading, or using the computer.
  2. If you spend much of the day sitting, set an interval timer to remind you to take breaks. When the timer goes off you must get up and move around for a couple minutes, or stretch, or step outside for some fresh air. There are plenty of take-a-break timer apps you can download, and some are free.
  3. Spend some time each day enjoying the sunshine, without wearing sunglasses. Sunglasses block 75 to 90 percent of visible light, and bright sunlight is a natural antidepressant because it suppresses melatonin production.

    Melatonin is a hormone that makes us sleepy at night. Having high melatonin levels during the day causes fatigue, and since melatonin is made from our feel good neurotransmitter serotonin, a higher than normal melatonin concentration may trigger depression.

    Bright light also energizes our hypothalamus gland—important for keeping our body’s circadian (daily) rhythms on track.

  4. This easy energizer comes from Chunyi Lin of the Spring Forest Qigong Institute. Stand with your knees slightly bent and bend forward at the waist—just a bit. Form your hands into loose relaxed fists and lightly tap your tailbone with alternating hands/fists. Do this for 20 seconds or longer to stimulate your body’s qi, or energy.
  5. It seems that just by sitting tall or striking and holding a “power pose” we can increase our level of confidence. Studies show that power postures, such as standing tall with feet apart and hands on hips, raise our body’s testosterone level and simultaneously reduce the stress hormone cortisol in our brain.

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” ~ John Wooden

Sources: Journal of Mood Disorders; SFGate
Photo credit: Karrie Nodalo / flickr

 
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