We live in a toxic world and for most of us, trying to strike a balance between work, home, and our individual pursuits is in itself already a part-time vocation. Not many people can hold the gaiety and skip-in-the-steps all throughout the day. Chances are, from the moment you drive off from your home to the time you take your lunch, you would have already sent an angry sms to someone; picked up the phone and yelled at a supplier; or slammed a proposal by a subordinate just because you were feeling out of sorts.
But all these and a few other self-destructive behavior stemming from loss of control over our emotions can be controlled, or prevented even, by mood enhancers such as food, music, and certain activities. Stabilizing your mood is not only good for your self-esteem – it extends all the way to how you manage your day-to-day activities and the relationships you have with the people around you, whether in the workplace or at home.
While serious and/or prolonged depression needs attention from a medical professional or at least some pharmaceutical assistance, there are natural mood enhancers that you can have or practice in order to keep physiological chemistry in check.
Exercise. For most people, the fitness center is the last place they want to go when feeling out of sorts. They would rather stay in bed, curled up in a ball, with all the lights out, while riding out the waves of depression instead of doing a bit of exercise. Bad idea. Exercise gets blood pumping around the body, gets oxygen to the vital organs, releases endorphins and lowers stress and anxiety. Exercise puts people in a better place mentally and is prescribed by many doctors to help depression. A brisk walk, jogging, dance classes, martial arts – anything that will distract a person from what is upsetting him or her and get them to focus on something external – these things often works better than anti-depressant medication.
(Spring) Cleaning. Scrubbing the house is a wonderful way to lift the mood . It is positive and will result in more orderly surroundings and gets a person up and active. How about you re-organize your book and cd collection? Or reorganize your closet, rid it of clothes you haven’t worn in ages and donate them to an orphanage or a welfare community? By doing this, not only are you creating a tidy home environment which significantly staves off the blues, you are also helping the needy.
Mood Food. A good diet as any nutritionist would tell you has a big influence on mental well-being. A diet lacking in much-needed vitamins and minerals, high in fat and sugar will lead to erratic energy levels, fatigue and feelings of ill health. When experiencing anxiety or low moods, have freshly cooked meals, colorful and nutritious salads, lots of fruit and vegetables, lean meat, and fish in your diet. However, take care not to turn it into an emotional eating as that could bring more damage than good.
Cooking. Preparing a meal from scratch can be very therapeutic. When feeling low, grab that cookbook and do a Rachel Ray: bake fresh bread or a cake, make home-made pasta, and prepare a healthy slush for yourself to enjoy. If living alone, invite some friends over to share the meal you have just prepared and have some good laugh.
Art and Music. Looking at art and enjoying the real depth of expression of quality art or music can help us regain balance in our emotions and tap into our deeper sense of purpose and serenity. Making art and music (and dance and drama if you are so inclined) a regular part of your life can refresh you, enliven you, lift you up and give you something almost magical to look forward to on a regular basis.
Aromatherapy . The simple act of lighting a wonderful aromatic candle can change your entire outlook and bring your mood back into harmony with your life. Running a warm bubble bath and applying that vanilla lotion that you love, or even having scents you love in your workplace and bathroom at home will transform your energy and re-center you. If you have time and cash to spare, getting pampered at your favorite spa for an entire day is also an option you can consider.