Natural Ways to Boost Your Mood
Bye-Bye Blues – 10 Natural Senior Mood Boosters to Try Now
Feeling a little low on energy and smiles? We all do sometimes. If that blue mood goes on for many days, of course, you want to consult with a medical professional. But for those days (or few days) when you wake up feeling a little “off,” start by trying out these 10 natural ways to boost your mood. Then add them to your regular routine to help keep the blues away.
10 Natural Ways to Boost Your Mood
- Start an Endorphin Rush – Getting your heart rate up is a great way to increase feel-good brain chemicals like endorphins, while reducing blood pressure and protecting against heart disease and diabetes. Exercise also helps curb the stress hormone, cortisol which, in excess, can contribute to weight gain and osteoporosis, among other maladies. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week and mix it up with walking, a bit of resistance exercise (3 – 5 lb. weights), and balance exercises.
- Commit to Daily Calm Time – When seniors ask their doctors about natural remedies to boost your mood, tai chi and yoga may be part of the recommendations. Each type of exercise has a wonderful calming (and mood lifting) effect thanks to the quiet focus that comes with repeating slow yet challenging movements. Be sure to find a class geared toward older adults that gently address the pain, joint stress, imbalance, osteoarthritis, and other physical limitations that occur in later years. Best of all, you can do tai chi or yoga on your own, anytime – no expensive gear required.
- Explore Mood-Boosting Foods – Studies that compared “traditional Western” diets (which are high in meat, dairy, and processed/boxed foods) to traditional Mediterranean and Japanese diets (which are high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood, and to contain only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy) found that the latter definitively reduced the risk of depression by 25% to 35%. Food really does impact your mood, so think before you eat!
- Reach for the (Dark) Chocolate – Yes, you can eat this sweet treat for your health, in moderation of course! Read the label before you bite though. The chocolate must contain at least 70 percent cacao to be healthy. And keep in mind that healthy doesn’t equal low calorie. While dark chocolate does provide antioxidants, fiber, potassium, calcium, copper, and magnesium, it’s also high in calories. One square a day is one of the tastiest natural ways to boost your mood.
- Discover the Great Outdoors – A Japanese study researched the effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or “forest bathing). The results showed that forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol (the stress hormone), lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure, among other benefits. And U.S. studies concur that even just 20 minutes outdoors can instantly boost mood and energy levels. Sunshine also supplies vitamin D, critical to fending off depression and cognitive impairment.
- Pump Those Brainwaves – If you have a computer, tablet, or smartphone, you’re always just a click away from a brain-boosting game app. Or you can go old school and test your brain skills with crossword puzzles, word puzzles and number games. Just do it! Brain exercises lessen your risk of dementia and keep your reasoning, memory, cognition, and processing skills sharp. Try to fit in at least 30 minutes a day of brain work.
- Get More ZZZ’s – We impress it on our children and grandkids, but a good night’s sleep is just as critical for seniors when it comes to mental, physical and emotional health. Since seniors are often prone to sleep disturbances and insomnia, it’s helpful to know some techniques for falling asleep and staying asleep for a full seven to nine hours (without medication).
- Cut Back on TV and Social Media – It’s easy to plop yourself in front of the TV or computer screen and suddenly realize you’ve been at it for several hours. Electronics are great for keeping up with friends and current events but be sure you keep your viewing time balanced with other activities. Get outside for a walk around your community, and schedule time with family and friends. Your brain and your mood will thank you for it.
- Be a Social Butterfly – It’s a fact that older adults who continue to socialize and maintain a support network of family and friends enjoy greater mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. With socializing, quality not quantity, is the key. If you can’t get out for lunches or coffee talks, keep in touch via social media and video chatting apps.
- Don’t Forget Checkups & Screenings – Getting a clean bill of health each year does wonders for reducing your worries about every ache and pain. Knowing that your body is working properly can add to your sense of well-being and happiness.
The Perfect Mood Booster – Living at Meadow Lakes.
At Meadow Lakes, we’re all about helping our residents lead healthy, fulfilling lifestyles with programs like LiveWell ®. From our packed activity schedule to our delicious dining to our close-knit community, there are so many reasons to call Meadow Lakes home. If you’d like to learn more, just fill out the request form and one of our staff will be in touch shortly.