Whether we like it or not, we experience stress every now and then. As long as it involves money or work, it hits us. By the way, did you know that 33% of Americans are living with extreme stress? And almost 50% of Americans believe that their stress levels have increased over the past five years!
Whatever the statistics say, doesn’t matter. What matters is that we stop digging immediately the second we realize that we’re in a hole. And focus on what we’ve gotta do to move towards the light. Below are 8 simple habits that can be easily formed by anyone from any part of the world, whether you are from Bangkok or Washington DC.
- Listen To Music.
- Sleep Right.
- Eat Right.
- Have Sex.
- Shopping (Mindfully).
- Participate In Arty, Crafty, Endeavors.
This is by far the most effective natural way of improving your mood naturally. Nope, neither typing nor mouse clicking counts as exercising involves sweat. A workout at the gym or a brisk walk around the park nearest to your housing area helps you calm down. It stimulates various brain chemicals, which leaves you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you broke sweat. Other related mood improving benefits of exercise include managing your weight (as it boosts HDL cholesterol, lowers LDL-cholesterol, burns calories) and strengthening your entire cardiovascular system. The ‘happiest’ type of exercise is team participation sports like rugby, soccer, tennis doubles, basketball, hockey, etc. Personally, I enjoy regular badminton with friends every week.
Ever heard of music therapy? It’s a type of health care that helps you maintain your physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic and spiritual health. Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state. It keeps your mind positive and creative which will both lead to many other positively creative benefits. You know, you may also stumble upon an inspirational lyric that may be about what you are going through =)
Sharing multiplies the joys and divides the sorrows. As we age, friends and family truly can be lifesavers. The friend who brings the chicken soup makes as much difference in feeling better faster as the soup itself. With technology like video conferencing and social networks, people between thousands of miles of each other can continue staying in touch and even make new friends. Good friends can help each other feel good by providing support, involvement and encouragement. Sorting things out together take bits of strain off from you. Human beings are social beings. Satisfying the need to feel ‘connected’ feels good.
Sleep is a natural restorative cycle that allows the body to rest and properly rejuvenate, restore and regenerate itself, so that it can continue to function appropriately. It is so important that if a human being is totally deprived of sleep for an extended period of time, he/she will actually die. A good night’s sleep lowers blood pressure and the elevated levels of stress hormones, both of which are natural results of today’s fast paced lifestyle. Too much stress causes excess ‘wear and tear’ on the body, and increases the aging and degeneration of organs, cells and other body parts. So get your sleep right, reverse the negative effects and encourage a mental state of relaxation.
Throw away that Prozac. Eating right, besides exercising, is one of the 2 keys to a long disease free life. It is important to eat a healthy diet that has lots of fruits, leafy greens and fatty fish(tuna, salmon, etc) in it. Leafy greens especially, are abundant in folic acid, a type of vitamin that low mood people seem to lack. If possible, eat home cooked. It’s better than eating out. It usually contains more fruits, vegetables, and dairy products along with additional nutrients such as fiber, calcium, vitamins A, vitamin C and folate. Home cooked meals are usually not highly salted, plus soda and sweetened beverage consumption is lower at the dinner table. Saves money too.
It certainly does improve your mood but the length of the improvement depends on the depth of the connection and intimacy you have with your partner. Oxytocin, a neurotransmitter for the brain secreted from the pituitary gland, affects social recognition, bonding, anxiety and trust behaviours. Oxytocin and endorphins are two major hormones released through orgasm and their effects normally last minutes or hours. If there is a connection and love with the partner, the afterglow of the sexual connection and mood lift can last a long time. Along the way, you will reap the benefit of having your blood oxygenated and body relaxed by the deep breathing.
It’s actually good for your mental and physical health. It releases mood-lifting endorphins, boosts your immune system, keeps your brain nimble, and even fulfills basic social needs. The experience is linked to a heightened sense of happiness. It may not be as tiring as exercising or as provocative and interesting as sex, but as long as you love it, it gives you the same kind of high by releasing a flood of endorphins. Dopamine, increased during pleasurable moments during sex, rises sharply even when you’re merely window shopping. Shopping makes you become more mentally engaged, psychically active and socially involved, all of which keeps your brain sharp into your olden days. Whatever the case, be mindful so as to keep your bank account healthy at the same time.
Activities of the creative nature has a substantial value in improving moods, relaxing oneself and raising energy levels as well. Whether it is photography, knitting, blogging, playing music or dancing, the effect is definitely positive. Some even have a social aspect to it. For some creative ones, going too long without blogging or taking/editing photographs has a negative impact on their habitual lives.
If you can finish it today, you don’t have to worry about it tomorrow. ~ Chinese proverb.