3 hundred million people on this planet suffer from depression and while there are a myriad of factors for all of these cases there are 3 time-tested and proven habits that can lift a depressed mood.
- SLEEP – Don’t underestimate the power of consistent, quality rest. Sleep deprivation can lead to very serious health problems like heart disease or suicidal thoughts. Insufficient sleep can contribute to both mental and physical health problems, including depression. Most experts agree that 7-8 hours each night is the right amount for most people. It's never too late (or too early) to develop great sleep habits!
- MOVE - It's a physiological fact that activity fights depression. If you get your heart rate up 20 minutes a day, five days a week, it has been scientifically proven that you will feel better emotionally. Exercising increases the neuro-plasticity of your brain and releases neurochemicals called endorphins, which help to elevate your mood.
This does not mean trips to the gym (unless that’s your thing). It does mean that anything involving movement, counts. Stretching, walking, swimming, biking, playing a sport, preferably something you enjoy, will do the trick if you are willing to get movement into your routine at least 5 days per week. Supercharge your movement by taking it outside for fresh air and sunshine.
- EAT – Would you put maple syrup in your car’s gas tank and expect the car to preform well? Nor should you expect that somehow your body will magically produce copious energy and a great mood without the correct fuel. The best things you can do to improve your mood is to adopt a vegetable and protein dense eating style. Limit the grains and greatly limit the sugar. Yes, occasionally enjoy a small sweet indulgence BUT DON’T allow the sweets to become a habit. Refined sugar is one of the most energy zapping substances on this planet.
Good eating habits are associated with more abundant nutrient levels available for your body to use. When it comes to mood, Vitamin D ranks very high. Without a good diet, rich in Vitamin D sources, sunshine simply is not enough for most people.
A part of eating is NOT eating. Fast from 6 PM to 6 AM every day. Go deeper into fasting here but know that allowing fasting to take place several days each week helps train your body to use fat for fuel. Fat is a much better source of energy than sugar. The rest of the day be a nibbler, eating several, small, nutrient dense (not sugary) meals throughout the day. Hydrate well and avoid beverages that are sugary or carbonated. If you are able to follow this eating style you will stimulate your metabolism to run smooth and steady all day without the slumps. If you find that certain foods cause you distress, you may have a food sensitivity or allergy. Learn more about that here.
Right now, as you read this information, you have already had thoughts about how you could implement some or all of these habits. Don’t create obstacles to your own success. A better mood is within your reach right now. Start with these basic three habits. If the struggle continues, see your physician to manage the low mood symptoms or a seek out a functional medicine practitioner to uncover the mystery of your low mood.
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