Believe it or not, the presence of negativity and depression in your life can have a direct impact on your physical health. Research on behavioral medicine has linked depression, stress, negative emotions and isolation to many adverse health conditions. Among these health conditions are cancer, heart disease and substance abuse.
Serious and chronic mental health or mood disorders warrant treatment and monitoring by your physician. But if your bad mood has more to do with a difficult or stressful day than anything else, you can use these five mood-shifters to improve your mood and protect your health.
- Exercise the Blues Away. Thirty minutes of brisk walking, biking, swimming or jogging gets your heart pumping and helps your body release a hormone known as Endorphins. Endorphins are often called the “feel good” hormone because they naturally elevate your mood, making you feel happy or euphoric.
- Give and Get Hugs. Hugs have the same effect on your body as exercise. The close physical contact with someone you love or care about causes your body to relax and slows down adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones. Hugging also lowers your blood pressure, which lowers your risk of heart disease.
- Write Down the Positives. The written word is more powerful than the spoken one. Have you ever noticed that you get more done if you write down your To-Do list, instead of making a mental list? The same power holds true for writing down the positives in your life. Post your list on your mirror or by your bed to direct your thoughts to the positives throughout the day.
- Audio or Visual Mood Enhancers. Music, movies, televisions and family photos provide you with audio and visual mood enhancement. Listening to upbeat music, watching a funny movie or looking at treasured family photos can lift your mood and create a long lasting mood-enhancing connection.
‘Fake it Till You Make it’. You may not feel like trying any of these or other mood-shifting suggestions.
Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part. Commit to five minutes of any of these techniques, regardless of whether you’re feeling it or not. Once you get going, your mood will shift and you’ll feel better than you did when you got started.
In addition to helping you maintain good health, attempting to be happy and positive more often than not also makes you look and feel better. A cranky, sad or angry attitude causes you to assume body language and facial expressions that add years to your age and cause your muscles to tighten and cramp.
When you’re in a positive mood, your body relaxes, your face softens and you naturally look younger and more attractive. A positive attitude and good mood becomes easier to maintain as you make them both a part of your daily routine.
Check your mood throughout the day; when it seems to be going south, use one or more of these techniques to shift it back to the positive. Doing so will benefit your physical, mental and emotional health.