Integrative Nutrition Blog

Simple steps to improve your mood and happiness instantly

September 27, 2016

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Every day, we find ourselves in stressful situations. Whether it’s an argument with a spouse or partner, a difficult coworker, or a traffic jam, it certainly isn’t smooth sailing all the time. In the midst of our busy lives, sometimes even the smallest of mishaps is enough to set us off!

So what can we do to improve our everyday mood and overall health?

In a recent Business Insider column, authors Erin Brodwin, Jessica Orwig and Dina Spector share 25 habits that psychologists have linked with happiness, all of which can help combat these common daily stressors. According to psychological research, these habits and activities have the power to lift your spirits and even improve your mood and overall health.

Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to boost your mood:

Write down three things you’re grateful for in a weekly journal. In a study conducted by UC Davis, three groups of volunteers kept weekly journals focused on a single topic: the first group recorded major events, the second group recorded hassles they’d experienced and the third group recorded things they were grateful for. After 10 weeks, those who recorded things they were grateful for reported feeling more optimistic and satisfied with their lives in comparison to the other two groups. At Integrative Nutrition, we encourage the practice, of keeping a journal and even have our own “Integrative Nutrition Journal.”

Drink a little coffee or green tea. Research indicates a connection between caffeine consumption and reduced depression risk. We find this particularly interesting because there is so much conflicting information on the consumption of caffeine in the health and wellness space. Some studies indicate that caffeine can improve mood and cognitive performance, while others indicate that it negatively affects sleep. Overall, caffeine affects everyone differently, a concept we refer to as bio-individuality, so if caffeine improves your mood, then we say – drink up mindfully!

Volunteer. A series of 40 studies conducted over the course of the last 20 years, indicate volunteer work as the top activity for boosting psychological health. Individuals who exhibited a reduced risk of depression and higher amounts of overall satisfaction similarly engaged in volunteer work on a regular basis. So get out there and give back! You’ll feel better once you do. 

Check out the full list of habits and activities here!

At Integrative Nutrition, we emphasize that good health is not solely dependent on the food we eat. There are multiple factors that contribute to our overall health and wellness, which we’ve termed Primary Food, including our relationships, careers and spiritual practices. By practicing activities on this list and incorporating other creative ways to manage stress like meditation, making time for friends, and enjoying nature, we are able to reduce the stressors of life and practice self-care, which is essential for overall health.

What types of activities do you do to improve your mood and happiness? Share with us in the comments below!

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