There is nothing more exciting than the first snow fall of the season. Especially in the North East where summer temps reach over 100 degrees with very high humidity, the first chill in the air is a welcome occurrence.
In November and December we have the Holidays to look forward to. Families gather together, and we feast on delicious food while connecting with our loved ones. By February, however, our lack of activity has caught up with us.
We may feel depressed, bored, angry, or short of temper. Perhaps we’ve packed on a few pounds and are also upset for “letting ourselves go.” And all your body wants to do is hibernate; sleep more and keep those calories on to stay warm.
If you catch your mood slipping, here are three psychological ideas you can use to boost your mood:
Plan a Vacation
A study by the Journal of Applied Research in the Quality of Life found that the simple act of planning a vacation had a drastic effect on increasing happiness. While you may not actually have the budget for the Greek Isles, go ahead and put together your perfect trip itinerary.
If you do enjoy travel, consider taking the time now to plan a few family getaways for the summer. The simple act of immersing yourself in vacation research will help you boost your mood.
By the way, research indicated that the biggest boost in happiness actually came from the planning of a vacation. After the trip, study subjects excitement levels quickly dropped to their standard baseline. Therefore, plan away – it’s where you’ll get the most health benefits.
Find Your Flow
While hibernation is fine for bears and small woodland creatures, the rest of us may struggle to turn off our brains. Keep yourself busy by learning a new hobby or undertaking a special project.
Check on Groupon or other deal sites to find a dance class. Head to your craft store and teach yourself how to knit a scarf. Many games and puzzles end up at Goodwill; buy a few interesting ones to keep yourself entertained.
Now, psychologically speaking, when your brain is engaged in a hobby where you are concentrating on the task at hand, scientists have found that you enter a mind state known as, “Flow.”
The focus of the flow state has been proven to improve not only your mood, but to offer auxiliary benefits as well, such as improved overall health and dexterity. They also concluded that everyone is capable of entering the flow state – so challenge yourself to find something that you love to do.
Eat More Vegetables
According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly two thirds of people who do not report a daily mental health episode eat fresh fruit or fresh juice everyday. And mounting evidence continues to link nutrition to mood and mental health.
Additionally, they recommended eating regularly to maintain blood sugar levels. They also found that refined foods and food additives could contribute to poor moods. Pay attention to how much fat, sugar, and processed “junk food” you eat; these sneaky culprits might be affecting your happiness.
You might also stage a summer activity indoors. Make a pitcher of margaritas, turn up the heat, and broil your favorite tacos in the oven. Invite a few friends over so you can air your frustrations and connect on a meaningful level.
Research also shows that a strong sense of community is sure to boost your mood all year long, and in my professional opinion, bonding over a bowl of salsa is sure to cure those winter blues!
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Dr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well being, join her ecourse.