Around 300 million people are affected by depression, one of the major mental health disorders in the world (WHO, 2017). In the US, the incidence of depression is high with 44.7 million (1 in 6 adults) experiencing mental health issues (NIH, 2018). Low mood which is a symptom of depression and anxiety disorder is prevalent. While it is important to distinguish between low mood which is a temporary disorder and depression/anxiety which can last for months or years, treating the symptom can influence the progression of mental health illnesses. Mood improvement can be achieved by significant lifestyle changes and natural remedies.
Increase Activity Levels
A sedentary lifestyle only worsens feelings of anxiety and depression. Sitting down a lot and lack of movement weaken the muscle, prevent good blood circulation and increase risks for certain diseases. There is a correlation between being inactive, obesity and life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and heart attack. Not only is an inactive lifestyle terrible for your physical health, it is also bad news for the mind and mental health. Inactivity causes spikes in anxiety levels, the Deakin University’s Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research in Australia, suggests. Low-energy consuming activities such as sitting down or working on the computer all day long erode mental alertness and cause anxiety. Exercise, staying outdoors and even doing yoga, improve the mind and uplift the mood. They also help clear cobwebs or make you think coherently what is causing the low mood in the first place whether it is a life event or personal goals.
Eat Properly Balanced Meals
Food is fuel for the mind and body. When you consume the right type and amount of food, it has a big effect on your body and mental condition. Low moods may be attributed to lack of minerals and vitamins that you can get from your food and beverages. Good nutrition helps the body fight inflammation, enhances brain function and promotes gut health (where serotonin, the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters are made). In effect, food and drinks affect your energy levels that, in turn, have an influence on your mood and mental disposition.
Take Supplements to Improve Health and Mood
Taking supplements can contribute to overall health which in turn affect the mood you are currently in. For example, kratom is a tropical plant harvested for its leaves that contain powerful alkaloids touted to boost energy levels, improve concentration, reduce anxiety, kill pain and promote good moods. Other supplements that are known for their mood lifting properties include St. John’s wort, valerian, lavender and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin B is also helpful for cell metabolism and to stimulate the central nervous system while vitamin D can treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Get More Sleep
Adequate rest and sleep are essential for physical and mental functioning. Sometimes, a good sleep is all it takes to improve moods. Sleep deprivation or having less than 7-8 hours of sleep a night for adults has many negative consequences. It affects your ability to concentrate and focus. Pilcher and Huffcott also suggest that lack of sleep has the biggest effect on moods. It often results in cranky and odd behavior but there are several ways to improve quality and quantity of sleep. Exercising, good diets and supplements when taken together and at proper doses are some ways to improve the quality of sleep.
While there is no cure-all for low moods, it helps to change lifestyles and adopt good nutrition to mitigate the symptoms of persistent depression and anxiety. Self-care is also vital in ensuring that your physical and mental health is at its optimum to fight your way out of bad days.