Want to feel fab, not constantly tired?
Are you feeling down in the dumps? Are you battling to bounce out of bed in the morning? Don’t have the get-up-and-go to get to the office, the gym or, worst of all, a new client meeting? What you may need is a quick boost, something that can raise your energy and help adjust your motivation in an instant.
Mood booster: Breathing Boost
Time till mood boost: Immediate to several minutes
Feeling down? Take a breath. A deep one! Deep breathing is one of the fastest tension busters around, lowering levels of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Try the 4-7-8 technique. Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat five times.
Mood booster: Eat a Balanced Breakfast.
Time till mood boost: 15 minutes.
Starting your day with a balanced breakfast will not only boost your energy, it will most definitely lift your mood too, and no, a balanced breakfast would not be a cup of coffee in each hand. A balanced breakfast is one that provides some fibre and also some protein. The fibre from fruit or cereals generally comes along with vitamins and minerals and the protein from dairy, eggs, or fish will help keep your blood sugar steady meaning you won’t launch into that pre-lunch irritability in the middle of a meeting with your client or the boss.
Whiz together this mood boosting smoothie in a blender: One banana, add a handful of frozen or fresh berries, a handful each of almonds and oats, some vanilla yoghurt, milk and ice cubes.
If you want to eat your way to happiness the key is to follow a diet that keeps your blood sugar level and provides plenty of tryptophan and omega-3 fats.
In practical terms this means:
For tryptophan: Have a serving of chicken, turkey, tofu, cottage cheese, bananas, dates or beans each day as these foods contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid used by the brain produce serotonin, a chemical that is instrumental in regulating mood. You could also benefit from taking a 5 HTP supplement.
For your omega dose: Have at least 3 servings of fish high in omega 3 each week e.g. salmon, pilchards, sardines, herring, trout, tuna or take an omega 3 fish oil, providing the equivalent of 500-1000mg of EPA and DHA daily.
Food for thought: While there is simply no denying that food and mood are connected, diet may be just one piece of the puzzle. Therefore, it’s important that you seek professional medical help if you are feeling down for a long period of time or before taking supplements.
An integral part of managing your mood is managing your molecules of emotion, your hormones.
Include these foods every day to help your body manage its hormones.
• Fruit and vegetables: These contain compounds that help with normal hormone production such as with the conversion of thyroid hormones. So grab fresh fruit as a snack and have some salad and vegetables every day.
• Healthy unsaturated fats: Eating small servings of healthy fats such as avocado, olives, cold pressed oils, nuts, seeds and fish high in omega 3 have a positive effect on hormonal balance.
So you are in a great mood but you’re feeling tired and sluggish. Whenever your energy engine is running on fumes, try the following for some high-octane mood juice.
Instant energy boosters:
• Start the day off with a steaming cup of water and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or fresh ginger. This will not only refresh and revitalise you, but will boost your liver function. TIP: Over the colder season why not keep a flask in your car so you can still enjoy lemon and ginger tea on-the-go.
• Drink enough water … one of the first signs of dehydration is flagging energy levels!
• Aromas can be powerful up lifters. Burn peppermint or lime essential oil in an oil burner in your office or spill a few drops onto a tissue and inhale deeply when you need the energy lift.
• Try something new. When you do something novel, the brain’s reward chemical, dopamine, is released. Dopamine is also a motivating chemical that gears us up to do more. So go to a dance class after work, try a new hobby, take a trip or learn French and you may also feel inspired at work too.
• Move around as the more active you are, the better your circulation will be. Big deal? You bet! When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, they deliver oxygen rich blood and nutrients to your tissues so you’ll have more energy to do the work you need to! If you have a desk job, get up throughout the day―once an hour is ideal―to give your body breaks from activities such as typing and staring at the computer. Also, stand up when you’re on the phone or pace around the office. When you’re stuck seated, like on a long car ride, do neck rolls, shoulder shrugs and sit upright with your belly button pulled in towards your spine.
• Cut back on the chronic caffeine fix. Caffeine can lead to a quick energy burst, but it usually results in restlessness and insomnia later. Caffeine also stresses the adrenal gland. Instead drink water. Our bodies and brains are 70% water. So filling up on water is like putting fuel in your gas tank. If you must go to caffeine for a pick-me-up, try green tea. It contains roughly half the amount of caffeine found in coffee but it contains powerful antioxidants and amino acids that function as great natural energy boosters and improve vitality.