If you’re feeling low, irritable, anxious or stressed there are lots of things you can do to balance out your emotions and improve your mood.
Sometimes just the smallest thing can make the biggest difference to how you feel, and just consistently incorporating one small thing each day can have a big impact on how you feel.
Here’s a quick overview on some things that can help.
Eating a breakfast high in protein. This is one of the best things you can do and will have an impact on your physiology all day helping reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, overwhelm and low mood. What you eat at breakfast impacts your physiology all day, and can affect your mood, cravings and energy levels well into the evening.
Eat foods high in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in protein rich foods and is a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the ‘feel good’ hormone. Foods such as Turkey, bananas, walnuts, sunflower seeds and eggs eaten regularly will help balance brain chemicals and have a beneficial impact on your mood.
If you follow a low carb diet be sure to still eat plenty of carbohydrates such as fruit, vegetables and legumes. Tryptophan requires the presence of insulin to be transported into the brain so it can be converted into serotonin. A low carbohydrate diet can increase feelings of stress and anxiety in some people.
Don’t skip meals and let blood sugar levels drop too low. Choose low glyceamic carbohydrates, protein and fat at each meal to balance blood sugar levels throughout the day. Refined carbs, bread, white rice, pasta, cereals and baked goods will leave you with increased anxiety, irritability and low mood.
Low levels of certain nutrients such as vitamin D and Zinc are shown in people with depression. Studies show the lower the zinc the more severe the depression. Zinc foods include spinach, beef, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, beans and chicken.
A large number of the population are also deficient in vitamin D and Studies show a direct link between improved levels of depression and vitamin D levels in the body. Increase exposure by getting outside in the sun, and eating vitamin rich foods such as oily fish, sardines, salmon, tuna, milk, eggs and mushrooms. It may also be worth getting tested for nutrient deficiencies.
Omega 3s are shown to protect against depression, anxiety and mental health problems and are needed for healthy brain function, cell membranes, hormone and nerve transmission. It is recommended you eat 2- 3 portions of oily fish, the best source of omega 3s per week as well as a handful nuts and seeds regularly.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Optimal amount being 7 – 9! Fruit and vegetables contain lots of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals important for mood. Broccoli, asparagus and leafy greens contain folic acid for example which is essential for balanced mood. Leafy greens contain magnesium essential for a healthy stress response and B vitamins found in sweet potatoes, mushrooms and avocados can help alleviate depression. You get the idea!
Activity. One of the best antidepressants and ways to improve mood. Just a quick 10 minute walk is shown to alleviate feelings of stress, lower depression and increase well-being. And for even better results try and do something outside in nature.
Be sure not to overdo the exercise though. If like me you have a tendency to overdo things, this will only leave you irritable, lacking in energy and have a negative affect on your mood. You should feel energised and invigorated after exercise not totally exhausted.
There are lots of things under your control that you can do to improve mood and begin to feel better and this is just a small amount.
Your diet, activity levels and lifestyle are directly related to your mood, health and levels of well-being. Think of the therapeutic lifestyle changes that help you feel better. What are they?
Have your strategies in place, your daily rituals or habits that keep your mood up and you feeling good. Being consistent with diet, sleep and activity is what will help you long term.
Undergoing testing to see if there are any underlying imbalances can help too. Several imbalances can largely effect mood, levels of depression, and how we deal with stress. I'll talk about these in another post.
Just start with one small thing today to start feeling better!
And get in touch if you want any advice or help.
Click here to find out more about my programmes and my 3 steps to overcoming low mood and depression and bringing back your spark. Learn how to remove the fog, balance your emotions and get back to you.