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 secondes.
Eat a banana
NANAS are our most popular fruit and they are high in the hormone serotonin, which helps to improve mood and reduce anxiety.
The fruit also contains the amino acid tryptophan as well as vitamins A, and B6 – with the latter also linked to the same happy-helping hormone.
Take a sip of tea
THERE’S nothing better than a cuppa to perk you up and much of the reason is thanks to the amino acid theanine in the drink.
Mixed with caffeine, theanine boosts brain activity, mood and gives a sense of relaxation and well-being while also improving alertness, Aussie boffins found.
IF tea isn’t your . . . er . . . cup of tea you can get a lift from the nation’s other favourite hot drink.
Even the smell of coffee helps, travelling to the part of the brain responsible for emotions.
One study found that coffee scent in a room improved wellbeing for 90 per cent of people there.
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Light a candle
CANDLE light sends calming signals to the brain and the smell, particulary when scented, is a help too.
Psychologist Emma Kenny says: “Anything that offers sensory pleasure, such as nice smells, connects us with nostalgia.
“It’s ritualistic and makes us feel grateful for the moment, lifting mood.”
A STUDY in Japan found using gum regularly can reduce anxiety and improve mood in healthy young adults.
It increases blood flow to the brain and releases nervous energy by reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
It improves alertness too, but choose sugarless to save your teeth.
Reach the big O
ORGASMS are a half-minute mood booster because they flood the brain with health-boosting, feelgood endorphins.
The average male and female orgasm lasts ten to 35 seconds and regular sex means more orgasms – a quick and surefire way of warding off the winter blues.
Sing the chorus
SINGING stimulates a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus which is linked to the part of the brain that registers pleasure.
Singing the chorus of your favourite song will activate it, while deep breathing caused by singing slows the heart rate, raises oxygen levels and relaxes the brain.
Stroke a pet
PET owners are less likely to suffer from depression.
Stroking, hugging or simply touching an animal can relieve stress.
Psychologist Emma explains: “The exchange between cat, dog and owner – that mutual appreciation – helps to bring calm and also stops us feeling on high alert.”
Hold eye contact
US researchers say brief interactions with strangers can lift moods.
In a study, half of the volunteers who were asked to start a chat with a stranger reported a better mood than those who weren’t.
If such a task feels daunting, holding eye contact for 30 seconds also brings similar benefits.
Make a victory list
COMPLETING a task and spending half a minute ticking off a to-do list releases dopamine, a neuro-transmitter that generates feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness, say researchers.
Making a “victory list” of achievements will make you more driven to face other tasks, trop.