With the long sunny summer days falling behind us and the longer darker autumn night’s drawing in, now is a good time to prepare yourself to avoid those inevitable winter blues by finding some easy ways to give yourself a happy mood boost.
While our mood can be affected by a huge number of elements, a particularly important aspect of maintaining a positive mood is our exposure to the sunshine. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to spend a greater amount of time travelling to and from work in the dark as the autumn and winter months progress, limiting the amount of sunshine and vitamin D you absorb. This can lead to periods of low moods, irritability and a lack of motivation and even lead to increased stress levels and restless sleep.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting good restful sleep is key to helping you remain positive but when you are feeling low, consider these easy pick-me-ups that’ll put a smile on your face.
Catch Up with a Friend
Getting together with a loved one is a great way to feel positive and get a mood boost, whether it’s a casual coffee, planning a film night or even a phone call. Talk to your friends and arrange to meet up regularly where possible during the colder months, especially friends that might not be able to get around as easily in the winter or you have noticed particularly suffer from low winter moods. Laughter is the quickest way to get a lasting boost in endorphins (chemicals attributed to “happy feelings” in the brain) and being around those you love is guaranteed to be a great time!
Spend Time with an Animal
Got a pet? Fantastic! Know someone with a pet? All the love without the responsibility! Spending time with a cute and cuddly animal is proven to raise our mood levels and this is why emotional support animals have been trained to provide support to those in hospitals and care homes. Spend time bonding with your pet, whether it’s going for a walk, playing together or simply an evening of brushing and grooming, not only will you show your pet you care but you’ll feel happy and calmer too and will help you get a mood boost.
Give to Charity
Giving to charity or volunteering your time for a good cause is a win-win situation for feeling good while doing great work to help others. It can be as simple as adopting an endangered animal such as a tiger or a gorilla, contributing to victims of a natural disaster such as the Cyclone Idai emergency relief or donating goods to your local food banks. Studies have shown that volunteering and giving especially activate the brain’s pleasure centres and contribute to positive moods.
Eat Spicy Foods for Mood Boost
A little cheat for those who already enjoy their foods with a bit of a kick. Endorphins are automatically released in response to stress and pain and certain chillies and spicy dishes can trigger the ‘pain’ reflex in our brains, creating a rush of endorphins that make us feel happy. Not to mention the satisfaction from a hearty, tasty meal. Next time you are making a curry, add an extra dash or two of spice and enjoy the thrill!
Turn Up the Music and Sing
Certain songs will always make you feel good, just like a selection will also make you feel sad, so find your favourite mood-lifters, turn up the volume and have an enjoyable sing-along. Not only because the music itself will make you feel happy but taking part in creating music has been shown to offer an endorphin boost and can be enjoyed from singing, dancing and even tapping along to your top tunes.
Don’t let the winter get you down, add a couple of these activities into your weekly schedule and enjoy a healthy mood boost regularly.