Monday, September 27, 2010

6 Easy Mood Lifters

From Self Magazine ;)
Sweat to smile. Exercise may be as effective at relieving mild to moderate depression as the antidepressant Zoloft, reveals a study from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. "Physical activity stimulates the feel-good chemical dopamine, which increases our sense of well-being," explains Stephen Ilardi, Ph.D., author of The Depression Cure (Da Capo Press). A little stressed out? Of all of the things you can do to bring on calm, aerobic activity may be most effective. Studies show that workouts counteract stress-related memory loss by speeding up production of new nerve cells in the hippocampus, the brain's memory processing center. Tweak your diet. "The omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish help the brain respond to signals from the mood chemicals dopamine and serotonin," Ilardi says, adding, "The antioxidants and flavonoids in colorful fruit and veggies work in combination with omega-3s to protect the brain from harmful inflammation that can trigger depression." I love fish!!! I'll add more Salmon in my diet. ;) Sleep off sadness. People who have insomnia have a fivefold risk of developing depression compared with those who are well rested, according to a study from the University of North Texas in Denton. Lack of sleep has also been linked to weight gain. That is the only thing I'm not doing right. I'm sleeping late and waking up early... I'm just not getting enough sleep. Just say om. Some studies suggest that regular meditation reduces the recurrence of depression as effectively as medication. If sitting and chanting aren't appealing, start with baby steps by focusing on your breath. If your mind wanders, let your thoughts go and refocus on inhaling and exhaling. Aim to do this for a couple of minutes a few times a day—or anytime you feel like your head is ready to explode. I can't wait for the weather to cool a little so I can have long meditative walks in the evenings. See the light. "Sunlight is key for regulating your biological clock, which affects mood, sleep and energy," Ilardi says. Depressed people exposed to bright light for an hour upon waking for five weeks experienced a 54 percent improvement in symptoms, finds a study from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Well not with our sun...but I do have a lot of natural light during the day from the big windows around my home.
Lean on a Friend
University of Chicago suggests that having a close circle is critical; people who are lonely have increased levels of depression. A study in the American Journal of Health and Behavior reports that socializing with friends can have as positive an impact on health as quitting smoking, working out or eating right. Curling up on the couch with a pal can be restorative, too. "A friendly touch puts the brakes on the brain's stress-response signals," Ilardi explains. Give someone you love a hug. Yes...this is the plan!!! Going out with friends during the week.

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