Feeling blue? The Wellness Advisor has some advice which may help brighten your mood. Here are some tips which may help you feel a bit sunnier.
Exercise: We know exercise is good for our health and exercising regularly can also help maintain our emotional health and well-being. The physiological benefits of exercise are well-established in the scientific literature; research also supports the psychological benefit of exercise. The clear benefits for our mind/mood should be emphasized equally, since the psychological benefit of exercise may be very relevant to the present life situations of some individuals. The type of exercise doesn't seem to matter. Engaging in either aerobic or anaerobic exercise seems to be equally effective for boosting mood. Aerobic or endurance exercise is exercise that requires extra oxygen, such as walking, jogging, biking, aerobic dancing, etc. Aerobic exercise can be sustained for a longer period of time. Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, does not require extra oxygen, and consists of shorts bursts of exercise such as powerlifting, sprinting, etc. Anaerobic exercises are short in duration due to the strenuous nature of the exercise. Before beginning a regular exercise program, you should obtain your physician's clearance. Increasing your physical activity and regular exercise (for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week), is a positive way to get yourself on the road to better health.
Fadillioglu MD, et al. Effects of Moderate exercise on mild depressive mood, antioxidants and lipid peroxidation. Bull Clin Psychopharmacol 2000;10:194-200. Scully D, et al. Physical exercise and psychological well-being: a critical review. Br J Sports Med 1998;32:111-120. Pollock ML, et al. The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and flexibility in healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998;30:975-991.
Social Activity: Being around loved ones naturally lifts our spirits. This is true at any age, but especially as we get older. Make it a point to go out with friends and family, join clubs, or start a hobby with a group of friends which increases social activity. Another idea is to reap double the benefits and start a walking club with friends or in your neighborhood! You can socialize while exercising -both help to boost mood. Also, keeping active and social may help to keep stress to a minimum to help enhance overall mood.
Diet and Nutritional Supplementation: It is always important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean protein sources (fish, poultry) for good health and to help keep us in balance. However, it may be difficult to eat well on a daily basis., In turn, may affect our physical and emotional balance may be affected. There are some nutritional supplements that may also help boost our mood. Before taking supplements for mood or emotional health i t is important to speak to your health care practitioner, to be sure you are choosing the right treatment for you.
SAM-e: Although there are numerous factors that can contribute to mood changes, there are some supplements that can help enhance mood. SAM-e, or S-adenosylmethionine, is produced in our body naturally. As we age, however, we have lower amounts available. The supplement SAM-e can help the nervous system work properly. Although it is not completely understood, SAM-e may work by allowing brain serotonin levels to increase, and may ease mood disturbances. B vitamins also help SAM-e work effectively. For mood enhancement, SAM-e and a B-complex supplement is recommended.
B vitamins: B vitamins are involved in many biochemical reactions in the body, including the brain and nervous system function. B vitamins are involved in energy production and a deficiency may result in poor cognitive functioning, which may also affect mood. Also, individuals under a high amount of stress may be depleting B vitamins from their body more rapidly, and therefore their need may increase. As mentioned above, if considering SAM-e for boosting mood, B vitamins (particularly folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12) help SAM-e work most effectively. Therefore, a complete multivitamin/mineral supplement or a B-complex supplement is recommended to ensure an adequate amount of these B vitamins when taking SAM-e.
St. John's Wort:St. John's Wort has a popular history and is used today for enhancing mood and emotional well-being. The exact mechanism of how St. John's Wort works is unknown, however, it is thought to work similarly to common prescription anti-depressant medications used today. St. John's Wort may exert a mild anti-depressive action, and therefore may help to elevate mood. The mood-elevating effects of St. John's Wort were originally thought to be due solely to the active component, hypericin, but hypericin does not act alone. As with many herbal medicines, St. John's Wort relies on the complex interplay of many active constituents for its antidepressant actions. Note: For people who tend to be sensitive to the sun (such as fair-skinned individuals), they should be cautioned when taking SJW, or, individuals taking large doses of the herb should avoid excessive sun exposure. In addition, St. John's Wort may have additive effects with SSRI's and other antidepressants, and should not be used at the same time due to possible adverse effects. St. John's Wort is also contraindicated in pregnancy because it may stimulate uterine contractions It has also been discovered that SJW may affect the Cytochrome P450 system, which is responsible for metabolizing various common medications. If you are taking prescription medication(s), it is important to check with your health care professional before taking St. John's Wort.