By Nutritionist, Samantha Gemmell
As a wise woman once said: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don't shoot their husbands.” Moving your body does lead to endorphin production, boosting mood and energy levels.
How you move is entirely up to your personal preference. If you like to keep it zen, get your yoga or tai chi on. If intensity is more your thing, hit the local bootcamp or Crossfit gym. The type of exercise doesn't matter as much as consistency. Make sure you're exercising at least 3 times a week for optimal happy feelings.
Can anyone feel miserable about their lives after a genuine laugh-fest? I don't think so. Laughter is a great natural way to boost up the endorphins and help you feel better. The best part is, it's generally free – unless you're at a comedy club for it.
Having a good laugh at least a few times a week can help to relieve stress and improve mood. Although it's great to have a laugh with friends, you might feel like staying solo. In this case, YouTube is definitely your friend – there's something for everyone on there. If you're stuck for inspiration, we suggest looking up 'funny animal compilations' – you're welcome!
The sun is there for more than just soaking up on vacation days. It's actually an important environmental cue for many of our body's systems. When you get enough sunshine, your body syncs up with the world and resets your circadian rhythms.
Research shows that vitamin D, which comes from sunlight, is vital for mental health and well-being. The good news is, a little exposure goes a long way. Even just a few minutes at lunchtime in summer can do the trick for your daily vitamin D dose. During winter, try for at least 10 minutes with some skin exposed.
If you're under stress, chances are you're breathing very shallowly. Unfortunately, this signals to your body that something is wrong, which sends out panic signals across the board. On the other hand, deep breathing can soothe the nervous system and calm you down.
You don't have to be some kind of super-yogi to employ the power of deep breathing. All it takes is a few minutes where you can zone out. Place your hands on your belly, and breathe so that your belly expands instead of your chest. Make sure you breathe in as deeply as you can, and then breathe out as far as you can. If you're in a hurry, just 3 breaths can do the trick.
Who doesn't love grooving to their favourite songs over and over? The good news is, listening to music is actually a potent way to relieve stress, according to research. It's believed to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as everyday stress.
Try setting yourself up a playlist on your favourite music app. Add your favourite happy songs to it, and pull it out when you get down in the dumps. For bonus points, have a little bit of a boogie as well – no one can be sad when they're dancing to awesome music!
It's not just a myth – chocolate really does make you feel good! Chocolate's main ingredient, cacao, is packed full of feel-good chemicals like theobromine. These help you to release happy hormones and neurotransmitters that make you feel better from the inside out.
If you're thinking 'OK, so I eat 5 chocolate bars to make me feel good, but that's not really doing my health any justice'... you are right, this probably isn't the best option. But the good news is, you can experience all of the chocolatey bliss, minus the sugar and nasties, with a cup of cacao tea. The warmth of tea is soothing on the nervous system, so it's a two-for-one mood booster and also great to curb those sugar cravings.
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