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Healthy Aging | 04/26/21
It’s quite normal to feel down in the dumps now and then, even if it’s for no particular reason. Giving yourself a little grace and exploring some natural remedies to boost your mood may be all you need to perk back up and start feeling like yourself again.
No, we don’t mean eating a gallon of ice cream (although sometimes an extra scoop is nice!). There are actually certain mood boosting foods that can help give you a little lift when you’re feeling down. Research suggests that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, walnuts, and plant-based oils, may make you less susceptible to depression. In addition, thanks to their nutrient and vitamin content, leafy greens, caffeine (in moderation), foods rich in vitamin D (like cheese and milk), whole grains, and foods with probiotics (like yogurt) are all natural remedies to boost your mood.
Another way to improve your outlook is to start each day with breakfast. Some research suggests those who eat breakfast regularly have a lower incidence of depression, and numerous studies support improved cognitive performance among regular breakfast eaters. From a purely practical standpoint, eating breakfast means you’ll have more energy, so you’re less likely to feel run down or moody.
Getting your body moving isn’t just good for your physical health; it can be a natural mood booster, too. When you work out, your brain releases chemicals known as endorphins, which are neurochemicals that help block pain and also trigger the pleasure centers of your brain. Similarly, exercise stimulates the release of serotonin, which is the main hormone that regulates your mood and sense of well-being. Most research suggests you need at least 30 minutes of exercise to trigger these natural chemical responses in the body.
Dogs may be man’s best friends, but it turns out they aren’t just for companionship and affection. Pets may actually be a natural remedy to lift your mood. One study at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that stroking a dog for 15 minutes a day releases serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin — all feel-good hormones that influence mood. Similar research has prompted the growth of therapy dog programs at medical facilities across the nation, and cat lovers can rest assured that studies have found similar outcomes with feline friends.
At Stonebridge at Montgomery, we believe pets are part of the family and welcome well-behaved domestic pets to our senior living community. In addition to the personal joy pets bring residents, we also recognize they serve other important roles, including reducing depression and encouraging residents to get more exercise using our grounds and walking trails.
Social connections are important at every age, but as an older adult, you may find yourself interacting less with friends and family members. Spending quality time with a loved one can keep a sense of loneliness from creeping in, but it also gives you a sounding board when there’s something worrying you and a chance to focus your attention on a pleasant experience. After all, shared laughter and fond memories are often natural remedies to lift your mood.
If you can’t get together in person, you can always talk by phone or plan a video chat. Even taking time to write a thoughtful card to a loved one can help shift your mind to a more positive direction.
Sometimes improving your mood is as simple as adjusting your mindset and choosing to focus on the positive. Taking control of your thoughts is an empowering natural mood booster that allows you to put yourself in charge rather than playing a passive role in your circumstances. A natural remedy to boost your mood may be as simple as approaching each day with optimism.
Like exercise, natural light gives your body a boost of serotonin for energy and mood enhancement. Conversely, darkness actually stimulates melatonin, which has the opposite affect of making you sleepy and less energetic. That’s why throwing open the curtains each morning can serve as a natural mood booster. At Stonebridge at Montgomery, our inviting floor plans offer many options with large windows and outdoor living spaces so you can welcome each bright new day with a smile.
We believe ongoing opportunities to learn and grow lead to the greatest sense of well-being, and that’s why discovering and engaging are a way of life at Stonebridge at Montgomery. Contact us to learn about upcoming events and arrange for a personal tour to see the Stonebridge lifestyle in action.