Although the sun is shining outside, you might not be feeling bright on the inside. Sometimes we feel down in the dumps and are unsure of what’s causing this gloominess. These feelings can often be attributed to a poor diet, bad sleep and an unwelcoming atmosphere. To combat this and to improve your mood, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has some recommendations that can be easily implemented into any lifestyle:
- Get some quality Z’s
Many of us overlook the benefits that sleep brings when it’s regular, consistent and sufficient. Lack of sleep — or even just poor sleep quality — can negatively affect many facets of our lives, from work productivity to personal relationships, to our overall mood. At its worst, sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, depression and other illnesses.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep because of jet lag, a sporadic work schedule, or from being exposed to the bright, blue light of your computer screen or smartphone at night, try taking a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our sleep patterns. A supplement can help you get to sleep and improve your quality of rest.
- Change the ambiance with essential oils
Scent has a powerful effect on our emotions and can affect how we perceive other people and our experiences. Similar to how scent can make or break a great meal, being surrounded by calming scents in your day-to-day life can improve your physical and emotional state.
Aromatherapy goes hand-in-hand with improving your quality of sleep. Furthermore, there are many applications for different scents. Finding one you enjoy and surrounding yourself with it can make you feel calm, and lower your stress and anxiety levels. Some essential oils commonly used for their healing properties are lavender, chamomile and sandalwood. When looking for essential oils, choose those that are natural and made without synthetic chemicals.
- A healthy gut makes a happy person
Next time you think about heading to the junk food aisle, keep walking and check out some healthier alternatives instead. Although indulging your cravings may seem like a good idea at the time, making a habit out of junk foods can have negative effects on not only your body, but on your mind as well.
Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and lean protein not only provide more energy for your body so you can stay active, but they have been found to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that is thought to be a major factor in feelings of well-being and happiness.
Other nutrients that can help improve mood are magnesium and vitamin D. Magnesium helps to regulate stress, and vitamin D keeps the immune system in check. If you’re having trouble getting enough of these nutrients from your diet, consider supplementation.
CHFA recommends that you consult with your health care practitioner to find out what options are best for you. Quick and reliable information is also available at chfa.ca, where you can easily locate a natural health food store in your neighbourhood.