February 17th, 2011
In the wintertime, it can be hard to stay cheery. With dreary weather, lots of time indoors, and lowered activity levels, it's not surprising. But there's a lot you can do to do nurse your happiness, even in the winter months. Read on to find out about food, supplements, and activities you can try to beat the winter blues.
Food & Supplements
These foods and supplements are great for a mood boost.
Natural sweeteners: Sweeteners like agave nectar or maple syrup are great alternatives to refined sugar, which has been linked to depression.
Poultry: Tryptophan and B6 help produce serotonin and other amino acids are good antidepressants.
Water: Dehydration can cause fatigue and depression, so be sure to drink enough water.
Eat lightly and often: Prevent dips in blood sugar that can bring down your mood by eating often and lightly.
Cheese: The tyrptophan in cheddar and swiss cheese can release serotonin.
Walnuts: Try walnuts as a snack for omega 3 fatty acids and uridine that can elevate your mood.
Spinach: Turn to spinach for a good source of folic acid, which can help you maintain proper physical and mental health.
5HTP: The 5HTP supplement can be a precursor to increase serotonin levels.
Whole wheat: Wheat bread with whole wheat can help you produce healthy amounts of serotonin.
Sushi: Fish oil offers a way to increase omega-3 fatty acids in your system, which can help fight depression.
L-tyrosine: L-tyrosine is a precursor to norepinephrine, and it's good for those who don't respond to most antidepressant drugs.
Eat lean protein: Protein offers a great feeling of alertness, as well as productivity.
Oranges: The Vitamin C offered in oranges and citrus fruits can help your body produce dopamine.
Dark chocolate: Boost your spirits with a dark chocolate treat.
Red pepper: Red peppers have good Vitamin C for producing dopamine.
Limit refined carbs: Soda, white flour, cookies, and other foods high in carbohydrates can cause you fatigue and depression.
St. John's Wort: Researchers believe that St. John's Wort may be able to help lift depression.
Phenylalanine: This amino acid can help the body make norepinephrine, an essential neurotransmitter for the brain and happiness.
Calcium citrate: Prevent a calcium deficiency, which can cause irritability, insomnia, and anxiety, with calcium citrate.
Vitamin B-12: B-12 can give you great energy and a mood lifter.
Sam-e: This coenzyme enhances cognitive function, and can treat depression as well as other psychiatric illnesses.
Fish oil: Some instances of depression can be from a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids, and fish oil can help treat the nutritional roots of this deficiency.
Folic acid: A deficiency in folate can cause depression and other mood disorders, so make sure you're getting enough of this supplement.
Kanna: This medicinal herb is part of a class of compounds that can treat depression, anxiety, and more on an as-needed basis.
Ginseng: Ginseng can improve your energy levels and cope with stress.
Try these activities to lighten your mood this winter.
Read inspiring quotes and jokes: Keep a list of inspiring jokes and quotes to refer to whenever you need them.
Maximize light: Use natural daylight or full-spectrum lighting to inspire happiness.
Call a friend: Reconnect with a favorite friend for an uplifted mood.
Aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise can offer a natural mood lift.
Get some sunshine: Spending time in the sunshine can help you get the Vitamin D you need to increase serotonin in the brain.
Fake a smile: Pretend you're happy, and it just might happen.
Light Therapy: Light Therapy with bright lights like a fluorescent light unit can be used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Avoid stress: Staying away from prolonged periods of stress can help you avoid imbalances that lead to depression.
Reminisce: Look through old journals or albums for an uplifting walk through memory lane.
Vital energy exercise: Exercise like yoga, t'ai chi, or dance can offer a natural mood lift.
Meditation: Meditation's health benefits include improving mood, as well as reducing anxiety and stress.
Gardening: The act of gardening, as well as friendly bacteria in soil, can increase levels of serotonin and improve your mood.
Make something: Using your creative mind can feed your soul and make you happier.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture may be able to improve your mood, and depressive symptoms.
Inspiring music: Music that inspires you can give you a better mood.
Eat a healthy diet: Taking in enough protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals can keep your nutrition on track to a positive mind.
Cheer someone else up: Do something thoughtful for someone else, and you just might feel better yourself.
Take a bath: Use essential oils to kick back and enjoy a bath for a natural happiness boost.
Burn frankincense: Frankincense can create a peaceful environment and activate channels in the brain that help depression.
De-clutter: Take on a small de-cluttering job for a sense of accomplishment that can make you happier.
Get some good sleep: Well rested people tend to lower their risk of depression.
Laugh: Having a good laugh can reduce stress hormones that typically cause depression.
Exercise: Getting active can boost your mood and reduce the risk of depression, as well as trigger positive feelings with endorphins.
Taking a time-out: Meditation can reduce the likelihood of depression, allowing you to treat your thoughts as just thoughts.
Consider depression's source: Using depression to make you stronger and solve problems can improve your outlook overall.