The temporal lobe of the brain is responsible for our mood as well as our memory. Neurological issues as well as hormonal imbalances can both lead to changes in how you feel. The main hormone associated with mood is serotonin, and a deficiency in this hormone can lead to mood changes.
There are several natural ways to improve mood that are worth considering. Here are 15 ways to help turn your mood around so you can feel your best and function at your best:
1. Add More Light -- A common treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is light therapy. Exposure to light (which can be limited during the cold winter months) can help you feel more positive as well as alert, which can be beneficial at any time of year. Maybe it's time to lighten up the paint color in your bedroom or replace light bulbs or lampshades that are keeping the rooms in your home dim.
2. Get Creative -- Finding a creative outlet you enjoy is a great way to channel your stress and anxiety. Try taking a painting, pottery or music class, or just get the supplies and give it a try on your own time. Think about the creative work you did in school and what you enjoyed -- there's a reason it was the best part of your day.
3. St. John's Wort -- An herbal supplement, St. John's Wort has been shown to benefit those with depression in similar ways to medication. You can find it in a variety of strengths to be taken on a daily basis to improve mood.
4. Try Aromatherapy -- Our sense of smell is quite powerful and what we smell can affect us in a number of ways. Lavender or chamomile can help you relax while the scents of citrus fruits and lemongrass can brighten your mood and help you feel refreshed. You could put a diffuser on your desk at work with an uplifting essential oil or add some to your body wash or shampoo.
5. Do Something for You -- Many of us are far too overscheduled and don't leave much time for ourselves. Whether it's a job or family, you can get lost in the shuffle. Schedule a weekly manicure with your girlfriends or join that local softball league. Just do something purely because you want to and enjoy it and add it to the calendar so you plan around it.
6. Eat More Plants -- A plant-based diet is better for the entire body thanks to the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Limiting your consumption of processed, high fat or artificial foods nourishes the brain along with the rest of the body, helping restore imbalances that can impact your mood.
7. Get Your B's -- B vitamins (there are eight of them) play a vital role in the function of the central nervous system. They're also needed for cellular metabolism and energy production. B vitamins are water soluble though, so taking an excess of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) won't do you any good -- just make sure your multivitamin has them. Your doctor can determine if you have a deficiency and require anything stronger than that.
8. Communicate -- If your mood continues to worsen, it's important to speak with your family and perhaps a professional about what may be causing it. They can help you work through your issues and find the solution that is right for you. Keeping a journal is also a useful tool that you can bring with you to your doctor.
9. Valerian Root -- Another herbal remedy, this supplement can help you relax and beat stress. Valerian root will also help you get the good night's sleep you need without the side effects of sleeping pills, which can also be habit forming.
10. Exercise Regularly -- Exercise is a great way to boost serotonin, but not if you're doing a form of exercise you can't stand. Try different classes or sports until you find a routine you enjoy enough to stick to. You can even turn on your favorite album and dance around your house. Aim for 30 minutes a day.
11. Prioritize Sleep -- Not getting enough sleep can worsen depression, stress and anxiety. It also weakens the immune system and can cause weight gain. Re-examine your schedule and create a plan for yourself that allows you to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Removing electronics from your room as well as any items that could interfere will also help.
12. Get More Omega-3s -- Omega-3s and essential fatty acids support cognitive health, which may be beneficial for those suffering from depression or other mood disorders. You can get omega-3s into your diet by consuming fish or avocados, or you can take a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement.
13. Meditate Daily -- Working through your feelings and emotions is important and taking some time every day to just be with yourself is important. Go into a room and shut the door. Perhaps light some candles, use a diffuser or even play soft music -- no words -- to help you clear your mind. You can sit or lay however is comfortable. Concentrate on the positives in your life and provide yourself with some reinforcement.
14. Be Intimate -- Intimacy boosts endorphins and lowers the blood pressure, not to mention, it's essential for a healthy relationship. Intimacy doesn't mean just sex either. Being intimate with your partner could mean a massage, holding hands and going for a walk or just kissing.
15. Change Environments -- Removing yourself from an environment that negatively impacts your mood can help you feel reinvigorated. Turn a new corner of your home into an office or even schedule a "staycation" at a local hotel or spa. Taking yourself out for a moment can allow you to recharge.
If you're currently being treated for a mood disorder, stress, depression or anxiety, speak with your doctor before adding any supplements to your routine or making any changes to your medication regimen.
You can find these supplements and other products to support a positive mood at eVitamins. Check back tomorrow for the latest health news and information!