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7 Instant Mood Boosters


Just one of those days huh? Don't worry we all have days where we are feeling a little down in the dumps, it's normal.

For those days where you are feeling down in the dumps, U.S. News and World Report has a list of seven things you can do to pep up -- If you've been exercising then it should come as no surprise that getting your body moving tops the list.

  1. Set your body in motion. Getting active for 30 minutes a day, six days a week can alleviate chronic sadness as well as antidepressants, according to a 2005 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Even a more modest regimen might provide a quick pick-me-up and neutralize a bad day. A brisk, 15-minute walk "can improve your mood and increase your energy for up to two hours," says Robert Thayer, a professor of psychology at California State University and author of Calm Energy: How People Regulate Mood With Food and Exercise.
  2. There are six more ideas so read more

  3. Know thyself. As beneficial as exercise is, it's often the last thing you want to do when you're down in the dumps. You might feel like reaching for a candy bar or a cold beer rather than your sneakers. While food or alcohol can provide a temporary lift, you're likely to feel even more drained later, says Thayer. When you recognize what Thayer calls "tense tiredness," force yourself to get a real, lasting mood boost. Think back to how you felt after your last power walk, and use that memory as a motivation to get moving.
  4. Take a breathing break. For 10 minutes, focus on the flow moving in and out of your lungs. Doing so, says Thayer, will help initiate a "relaxation response," which lowers breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure, thus reducing tension. To achieve this response, sit in a comfortable position and pick a meaningful word or phrase, like "love" or "peace on Earth." Close your eyes, relax your muscles, and breathe slowly and naturally. Each time you exhale, repeat your focus word or phrase. Meditation and yoga are also great ways to get this response.
  5. Wake up without an alarm. Without enough sleep—most adults need seven to eight hours—even a Pollyanna type will feel cranky. What's more, prolonged sleep deprivation can actually lead to depression. Yet about 60 percent of American women say they get a good night's sleep only a few nights per week, according to a March 2007 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation. Not surprisingly, more than half the women polled said they had felt unhappy, sad, or depressed in the previous month, and one third reported feeling hopeless about the future. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule will help you sleep through the night and wake up in the morning without an alarm, which is a good sign you've met your sleep quota. Also, try to make evenings as relaxing as possible—free of caffeine, work-related E-mail, and heavy-duty workouts.
  6. Think fish oil. Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon, and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which appear to protect against depression. Some studies, for example, indicate that fish oil supplements can alleviate depressive symptoms, according to a review article published in the June 2006 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Aim for several servings a week of omega-3-rich fish, and look for omega-3-fortified foods (listed on the label), including somebrands of eggs, margarine, and yogurt. Taking fish oil supplements is another way to boost your intake of the good fat.
  7. Turn on the tunes. In his research, Thayer has found that listening to music was the second-most-effective way—after exercise—to turn around a bad mood. The kind of music? "We don't have a definitive answer on that," he says, "but I'd guess it would be songs with energizing, toe-tapping beats."
  8. Talk it out. Having a strong network of family and friends to lean on can be crucial for dealing with sadness. You might also benefit from talking to a professional. A form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy has been found to be particularly beneficial. It teaches you to overcome irrational thoughts that trigger depressed feelings and to find ways to incorporate pleasurable activities into your life. Studies have shown that this therapy works as well as medication in many cases, points out Jerome Wakefield, a psychology researcher at New York University and coauthor of The Loss of Sadness. And it can give you enduring tools to overcome these feelings for life.

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