THREE quarters of us say we need a mood boost in January.
We crave daylight at this time of year, but in the absence of that, Yasmin Harisha and Claire Dunwell bring you ten easy ways you can cheer yourself up in just 30 seconds.
Eat a banana
NANAS are our most popular fruit, and they’re packed with the hormone serotonin, which improves mood and reduces anxiety.
The fruit also contains the amino acid tryptophan as well as vitamins A and B6 – the latter of which are also linked to the same happiness hormone.
Take a sip of tea
There’s nothing better than a soft drink to refresh you and that’s largely due to the amino acid theanine in the drink.
Combined with caffeine, theanine boosts brain activity, mood and provides a sense of well-being while improving alertness, says Aussie boffins.
The smell of coffee
IF the tea is not yours. . . eh. . . cup of tea you can raise a glass from the nation’s other favorite hot drink.
Even the smell of coffee helps, moving to the part of the brain responsible for emotions.
One study found that the scent of coffee in a room improved health for 90% of people there.
Light a candle
CANDLE lights send calming signals to the brain and odors, especially when smelled, are also a help.
Psychologist Emma Kenny says: “Anything that provides sensory pleasure, such as a scent, connects us to nostalgia.
“It’s ceremonial and makes us feel grateful for the moment, lifting the mood.”
A study in Japan found that regular gum use can reduce anxiety and improve mood in healthy young people.
It increases blood flow to the brain and releases nerve energy by reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
It also improves alertness, but choose the sugar-free variety to save your teeth.
Achieve the big O
ORGASMS are a half-minute mood booster because they flood the brain with health- and feel-good endorphins.
The average orgasm for men and women lasts between 10 and 35 seconds, and regular sex means more orgasms – a quick and surefire way to ward off winter boredom.
Sing in chorus
SINGING stimulates a small organ in the ear called the sacculus, which is involved in the part of the brain that registers pleasure.
Singing the chorus of your favorite song will trigger it, while taking deep breaths due to singing will slow your heart rate, increase oxygen levels, and relax your brain.
Stroking a pet
PET holders are less likely to be depressed.
Petting, hugging, or simply touching an animal can relieve stress.
Psychologist Emma explains: “The exchange between cats, dogs, and owners – mutual appreciation – helps bring calm and also keeps us from feeling on high alert.”
Keep eye contact
American researchers say that brief interactions with strangers can elevate mood.
In one study, half of the volunteers who were asked to initiate a conversation with a stranger reported being in a better mood than those who didn’t.
If such a task feels daunting, keeping eye contact for 30 seconds offers similar benefits.
Make a list of winners
Completing tasks and spending half a minute ticking off a to-do list, researchers say, releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that induces feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness.
Making a “winning list” of achievements will also help keep you motivated to face other tasks.
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