Here are just a few ideas on how to start feeling great all day:
#1 Nourish your body – More often than not, our moods are often affected by lack of nutrients to balance the body and mind. When you are hungry, the stomach sends out a single of “growling” to let you know that it needs more food or drink. If the needs are not met, your mood can change to being cranky or short tempered. I don’t know about you, but I have been known to become “hangry” if I don’t eat. If you are on the go and can’t eat a proper meal, try eating a banana or hardboiled egg. For dinners, focus on fatty fish, for Omega -3s and salads with berries and nuts.
#2 Get outdoors – Multiple research studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D can contribute to mood disorders. People with low D levels were at much greater risk of depression – as much as 58 percent more. This is why we can get blue when the time changes in November. It has also been suggested that low vitamin D can contribute to COVID complications. Now that our weather is amazing, take a short 15-minute walk around the neighborhood or even just sit outside and enjoy the air.
#3 Do some chores – Aside from the old adage, “move it or lose it,” engaging in household chores can benefit your brain health. Even small tasks like straightening up the living room or washing the dishes my reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. A clean house and preventing mental decline? Win-win.
#4 Set small goals – A now infamous speech given by U.S. Navy Admiral McRaven was the viral catapult to taking charge of your day from the moment you get up. “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and will encourage you to do another task and another and another.” While it is important to set up large goals for yourself to achieve, it is just as imperative to achieve small goals too. Are you someone who likes to make lists and then cross items off as you accomplish them? Me too! You know why? Because each time you complete a goal – no matter how small – your brain releases the feel good hormone dopamine. So make some easy lists and start crossing them off!
#5 Make sure to rest – As we get older, our body experiences changes to our internal clock. Our suprachiasmatic nucleus (say that 10 times fast) controls our circadian rhythm. As we age, there are hormonal changes in melatonin and cortisol which can affect sleep. Another big player to keeping your clock “on time” is exposure to daylight. One way to help your clock is to stick to a nighttime routine, banish electronics from the bedroom and avoid napping later in the day. It is a misconception that we need less sleep after 60. We still need at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
There are so many things you can do to help your mood: listen to music, spend time with friends, meditate, garden, and more. No matter what you prefer to do to boost your mood, it is also important to make an effort to see situations and events from a positive point of view. As emperor Marcus Aurelius once quoted, “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”