Surefire Ways to Boost Your Mood and Stay Centered
Happy Monday everyone! I took last week off from the blog to focus on my health and family as we have been going through a bit of a rough patch. This past month and a half has been the most stressful I have experienced in awhile. And my mood has suffered as a result. It can be hard to focus on the positive when you have chaos in your life. But lately, I have been attempting to make an conscious effort to do so. As a longtime sufferer of depression, having coping mechanisms is essential to maintaining my mental and emotional well being. As a result I've learned a few tips and tricks that I want to share with you.
This may seem obvious and it may also seem impossible but it is truly one of the saving graces of your health and sanity during stressful times. I tend to wake up super early when I am stressed because my brain kicks on so easily and I start thinking about every little thing I need to do. To counteract this I try to go to sleep a bit earlier - even if it's only 15 minutes earlier. Sleep-deprivation has been shown to make stress worse but also contributes to unhealthy eating habits (people who don't get enough sleep are more likely to reach for snacks and foods that are high in fat, sugar and carbs) so if you can try to get in as much shut eye as you possibly can.
Have a cup of tea
When I say have a cup of tea, I don't mean chug it in a to-go cup as you hurriedly rush off to work. I mean, sit down whether that be in the morning or afternoon, and make yourself a cup of tea. The ritual of making tea in and of itself is calming. Try drinking a soothing cup of chamomile tea before bed every night. It is shown to help reduce stress and help with insomnia.
Stress can have an insane impact on our health and our bodies. For me personally, whenever I am stressed my body feel tight and tense. Stress restricts blood flow when is why often times muscle aches and pains can be felt. Yep, just from stress. Stretching stimulates the nervous system. Which in turn decreases the hormones that stress produces. I carry all of my stress in my shoulders and back. Isolating those areas can help increase blood flow, make you feel more relaxed and more calm. I like to stretch in the morning when I get out of bed. It takes less than 5 minutes and I feel a thousand times better.
This may be a controversial one for some of you, but prayer has always helped me in times of distress or chaos. It has always functioned as something that keeps me focused on what's important. It also helps with reminding me that whatever is happening in that moment in my life is temporary and will pass.
Take quiet time or meditate
If you are not a religious person, meditating may be a nice alternative for you. I don't meditate but I do like to take what I call quiet time. A small period of time where I sit with myself and my thoughts without the intrusion of noise. Turning off the phone, TV, etc. This can help bring clarity to your thoughts as well as simply calm the mind. We are constantly bombarded by outside influences that our own voices can get drowned out. It can be mentally rejuvenating to tune all of that out for a period of time.
This may sound strange right after telling you to take some quiet time. But I'm telling you there can be no better way to instantly be in a better mood than turning on some music and jamming. Do it alone in your house. Do it with your family. Turn up the volume on some Drake, some Beyonce, whatever gets you going and dance!
Take a long walk
One of the minor cons of living in a city is that we don't have immediate access to nature.A study was recently published that showed that people who took long walks in nature - specifically forests - were more happy and experienced less stress than those who didn't. And that makes perfect sense. How could you not feel less stressful surrounded by nature? If, like me, you are a city girl, a long walk in the park will suffice. I love walking and I love walking in parks. It's essentially quite time while moving for me. If you spend all your time sitting or in a car taking walks can do wonders for boosting your mood.
Hang Out with friends
Being with people whose company you enjoy is a no-brainer as far as mood boosting goes. Sometimes we just need a night off from thinking about anything other than what we're doing at the moment. If you are like me and a worry wart this is a near impossible task. But I've found that when I am spending time with others and actively listening to them, I can get out of my own head.
There is no quicker way to boost your mood than giving back, in my opinion. Doing something for other people and taking yourself out of the equation is something I encourage everyone to do. It's gratitude in action. Being thankful for what you have by sharing it with others who have far less. It is a reminder in this world where we often worry about dumb and inconsequential things that there are people in this world truly suffering. And giving back will not only help them but it will make your soul feel good.
I admit that this one is the one I struggle with most. Because I hate exercising. Hate it. With the heat of a thousand suns. But - I always feel better afterwards when all those endorphins are flowing through my body. And working out has been clinically proven to help with depression and stress. So...I guess I'll keep doing it...
What are some of the things you do to boost your mood and stay centered? Let me know in the comments!