This should be a noticeable one, but a current study shows that most of us are not reaping sufficient sleep. You need about seven to eight hours of sleep a night, but most of us get about five to six. So go and hit the bed an hour early if you can. Those excess minutes can help improve your health.
No, you don’t need to come to be a gym bunny to have a healthful mind, but it’s proven that acceptable exercise can do wonders for your mental health and self-esteem. If you are feeling low, put your shoes on, turn on your melody and go for a 20-minute brisk walk. It’s been proven that 20 minutes of walking can remake your mood. And if you are up for it, turn that steps into a jog. Drip the badness away.
Have you ever read those self help books that tell you that you should swap chocolate for an apple? Eating healthier does not mean binning the Pringles for a salad, it’s about getting the balance right. There are certain foods that DO help improve your mood. They are:
Yes… chocolate! There’s some science behind the theory that chocolate makes us happy: eating dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it, to be exact) every day for two weeks reduced stress hormones, including cortisol, in people who were highly stressed, a study done at the Nestlé Research Centre in Switzerland (who are not bias at all *wink wink*). Experts believe it could be thanks to the antioxidants in chocolate. When you do indulge, be sure to account for the 235 calories that 1.4 ounces of chocolate delivers, or you may be stressed to see extra pounds creeping on.
Despite persistent myths to the contrary, carbs don’t make you fat and they can boost your mood. In a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who for a year followed a very-low-carbohydrate diet – which allowed only 20 to 40 grams of carbs daily, about the amount in just half cup of rice plus one piece of bread – experienced more depression, anxiety and anger than those assigned to a low-fat, high-carb diet that focused on low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit and beans.
Eating oily, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, rainbow trout) and mussels will give you omega-3s – a key mood-boosting nutrient and one our bodies don’t produce. Low levels of serotonin are linked with depression, aggression and suicidal tendencies.
When you’re stressed, the scent of coconut may blunt your natural ‘fight or flight’ response, slowing your heart rate. The researchers speculate that inhaling a pleasant scent enhances alertness while soothing our response to stress.
OK, it’s not food but drinking caffeinated black, green or oolong tea may elicit a more alert state of mind, says a study in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers think theanine – an amino acid present in these tea varieties – may work with caffeine to improve attention and focus. To reap the benefits, the study’s results suggest drinking five to six cups of tea daily, although this may interfear with sleep. Talking of which