This article was written by Rosie Millen, or Miss Nutritionist; a qualified Nutritional Therapist, Public Speaker, and Author with a huge wealth of knowledge in wellness and mental health.
Since the pandemic hit, anxiety levels have increased by 75%, which is massive! I don’t think anyone has gone unscathed by the effects it’s had on us mentally and physically. This past year has not been easy, so I’ve put together some key mood boosting tips to lift you between now and the end of the year.
5 Mood-Boosting Tips: Food and Mood
The first mood boosting tip is to change your diet. What you eat massively dictates how you think, feel and behave. Making the right food choices can make you feel emotionally stronger and lift your esteem. Here are some recommendations:
1) Eat more protein. Protein foods such as chicken, fish, quinoa lentils, etc. don’t affect blood glucose which means your mood will be improved. Protein foods also contain an amino acid called tryptophan which gets converted into serotonin in the body - the happy hormone. You need roughly a gram of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day.
2) Manage your caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it will give you a quick burst of energy, but then may make you feel anxious and depressed or disturb your sleep (especially if you have it before bed). Swap it for caffeine-free alternatives.
3) Eat the right fats. Your brain needs fatty acids (such as omega-3 and -6) to keep it working well. So rather than avoiding all fats, it's important to eat the right ones. Healthy fats are found in: oily fish, poultry, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), olive and sunflower oils, seeds (such as sunflower and pumpkin), avocados, milk, yoghurt and eggs.
4) Take probiotics. A healthy gut is a happy one and a happy gut is a happy mind! Probiotics are friendly bacteria living in our intestines and known for aiding digestion, boosting the immune system and cleaning the gut. They’re a key contributor to the health of the gut-brain axis and have a calming effect on the body. A happy gut means a happy brain. Your gut provides fuel for the brain and affects all the biochemistry and neurotransmitters. My favourite probiotic at the moment is FARMASSIS+ Billionaires Biotic because it contains 15 different strains of live bacteria and 30 billion CFUs per capsule.
5) Reduce alcohol! If there is one thing that affects your mood the most it’s too much booze! Research has shown that regular, excessive, alcohol consumption can alter the chemistry of the brain. It can put the brakes on the brain chemicals that are linked to energy levels and good mood - serotonin. It also increases feelings of anger, anxiety and feelings more sinister. Please drink sensibly and in moderation peeps!
5 Mood-Boosting Tips: Sleep Better
One fundamental change we can make to feel good every day is to get a good night’s sleep! Studies have shown that even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood.
Subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When the subjects resumed normal sleep, they reported a dramatic improvement in mood.
So many of us struggle to nod off, so here are my top tips:
1) Put your phone on airplane mode. It’s a game-changer!
2) Make sure your room is nice and dark. Too much light can interfere with the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
3) Take 5HTP. This is an amino acid helps to promote sleep by increasing melatonin production which is the hormone that tells the body to fall asleep. Studies also suggest that 5 HTP significantly reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. It also gets converted into the hormone serotonin which makes us feel happy and calm. Check out the Sweet Dreams Capsules by FARMASSIS+ – they are specifically designed to improve your quality of sleep thanks to the 5HTP and co factors.
4) Check your temperature! Your body needs to be 2 degrees lower to initiate sleep.
5) Invest in good pillows. Having decent pillows can be the difference between getting an extra hours’ sleep! Is it time to invest in some new ones?
5 Mood-Boosting Tips: Reduce anxiety
And lastly, a huge factor in determining your mood is anxiety. Suffering from anxiety can have detrimental effects on your mood, wellbeing, and quality of life. But luckily, there are some ways you can reduce and manage your anxiety.
Here are my top tips for reducing anxiety:
1) Remember that you are NOT your feelings. I know it’s hard to not blur the lines, but the feeling you’re feeling is fleeting!
2) Take a deep breath. Breathing out slowly for 5 seconds lowers levels of cortisol in the bloodstream.
3) Dive into a passion that you usually put on hold. What can you focus on that you really love? Getting distracted by something that fascinates you will take your mind and thoughts to a more positive place.
4) Avoid triggers that make you feel worse - the search button on Instagram is a big one! Certain people may trigger anxiety.
5) Work out. Exercise is paramount for our mental health. When your heart is pumping hard, suddenly the worries disappear!
6) Talk it out. Get on the phone and chat with a loved one. It really puts things into perspective – a problem shared is a problem halved.
7) Consider B12 drops. There is a strong correlation between low levels of B12 and increased rates of anxiety and depression. B12 is a co factor for serotonin – the happy hormone. It’s quite hard to increase B12 levels from food alone which is why supplementing is a good idea. I’m a huge fan of the B12 drops from FARMASSIS+. It is taken sublingually to maximise absorption.