Did you know the best antidepressants on Earth don’t necessarily come from a pill bottle? From exercise to getting more sleep, here are simple, natural ways to boost your mood and prevent depression:
Get enough sleep
A lack of sleep will put you in a bad mood, but sleep disturbances can cause more serious problems. Disturbances in circadian rhythms (mental, physical and behavioral chances that follow a 24-hour cycle and respond to light and darkness in an organism’s environment) have been linked to depression. Resynchronizing circadian rhythms using melatonin supplements or light therapy can have antidepressant effects.
If you’re dealing with major depression or just want to boost your mood, improving your sleep hygiene is an important first step. Go to bed at the same time every night, turn off your screens earlier and look into light therapy if you don’t get much sunlight.
Exercise is beneficial for your general health and mood-boosting effects. This doesn’t mean you need to run a marathon to reap the benefits of exercise. Researchers found that depressed patients who used a stationary bike for 15 minutes showed reduced symptoms of depression and cortisol levels.
Regulate your blood sugar
You’ve probably eaten a sugary snack only to feel starving and miserable an hour later. A blood sugar spike followed by a crash is a one-way ticket to a bad mood. According to one study, sugar has a bigger role in depression than originally thought. Researchers analyzed data from six countries and discovered that there was a significant connection between sugar consumption and depression rates.
Avoid the afternoon crash and balance your blood sugar. Make sure to eat regular meals and snacks, including a good source of protein every time.
Eat healthy fats
Eating omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids like those found in salmon, trout and sardines reduces symptoms of depression. Flaxseeds and walnuts are also great sources of omega-3s.
A sense of purpose is the best way to boost your mood. People who feel they have a sense of purpose will live up to seven years longer, according to Richard Leider from Blue Zones. People without depression have a history of physical exercise, a healthy diet and the presence of hobbies throughout their lives. Finding activities you enjoy and giving yourself a sense of purpose is a surefire way to improve your mood and reduce the risk of depression.