There are several factors that can affect our moods. The foods that we eat, the role exercise plays, the social interactions we surround ourselves with, and the thoughts and behaviors we have can all lead to lows in mood that can hurt our productivity.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on finding positive practices that can better mood and on avoiding certain triggers that they know can mess with their happiness and wellbeing. By maintaining a healthy balance of physical activity, nutrition, self-care principles, relaxation time and social interactions, we are better able to crush a negative mood and fight back when one approaches. By thinking of the things that are wonderful in our lives and allowing those attributes to uplift our spirits and help put things in proper perspective, we are able to be more positive each day and knowledgable of when a negative mood hits and how best to overcome it. Boosting happiness is so key to stabilizing emotions and avoiding such triggers from taking over and affecting our thoughts and actions. Here are eleven things that can be messing with our moods and how best to deal and to get back to being more optimistic and energized.
1. You Are "Hangry"
"Sometimes we get in a bad mood simply because we need food," says dietician Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, who is also a spokesperson for America's Better Sandwich over email with Bustle. "The term 'hangry' — becoming angry, grumpy or frustrated because you are hungry — describes it well. Whether it be a snack or a meal make sure what you eat is balanced," she adds. It's best to eat something with protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, combined, rather than something sweet or refined.
2. Not Recovering After Exercise
While exercise is great for boosting endorphins and bettering our moods, if not given time to repair and recover, our muscles can ache and our moods might be compromised. "Hydrate and refuel with a little protein, a little carb, and a little fat," says running coach and personal trainer Susie Lemmer, over email with Bustle. A banana with nut butter, a yogurt with almonds and berries, or a sandwich with chicken and avocado will do the trick.
3. Your Menstrual Cycle
Unfortunately for people with periods, menstrual cycles can seriously impact our moods. Hormone fluctuations can affect our emotions, leading us to feel happier at certain moments in our cycle and more negative, irritable, hungry and fatigued during others. When we are on our periods, we might experience heightened negative emotions, so it's important to be wary of that influence.
Stress can be a killer for our moods. When we are stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, which can lead to greater anxiety, irritability, appetite surges and muscle pains. If you feel anxiety coming on, squeeze a stress ball, take a walk outside, eat something, listen to music, or watch a funny clip to distract yourself and ease the tension.
5. Watching The News
While watching the news is important for being aware of what's happening in the world and being able to speak freely in conversation with others, top stories on the news often involve political debates, killings, fires, lawsuits, and other tragedies that can be deeply upsetting and can result in a darkened mood. After watching, do something more positive to get back to neutral.
6. Your Social Media Makes You Feel Inadequate
Experts say that spending time comparing ourselves to others, whether it be an old high school friend (or nemesis!) or a celebrity, can make us feel inadequate, as though our lives are less cool, successful or glamorous as theirs appear to be. Put the social media away to feel confident and more in control of your life and the wonderful things you can experience each day.
7. There's Too Much Clutter Around
Whether there's literally too much clutter around your home and office desk, or there's disorganization when it comes to social and work appointments and scheduling conflicts, too much untidiness can make us depressed. If you notice a drop in happiness and positivity, check in with your space and consider whether a de-cluttering session could help.
8. You're On A Diet
Eating well and living a healthy lifestyle is great for longterm happiness and wellness benefits; however, diets that are based on restriction and deprivation can make us feel sad and moody. Removing all sweets and temptations can really dampen quality of life, so it's best to enjoy those in moderation and strive for a balance, where most of your meals come from whole foods.
9. You're Out Partying All Weekend
While being out late with friends is a fun way to relax on the weekend, staying out too late and drinking in excess can affect our mood overtime and make us feel irritable, less productive and sad. Not only will alcohol make us emotional, but the lack of sleep will definitely add up, and it is not necessarily easy to make up those lost hours during the work week.
10. You're Not Eating Enough Healthy Fats
Healthy fats, such as unsaturated and omega 3 fatty acids, found in avocados, nuts, olive oil, oily fish and coconuts, among others, can increase levels of serotonin in the body and can contribute to a more positive, peppier mood. If you are not getting enough of these nutrients, you might experience a dulled mood.
11. Other People
Experts say that negative moods can be contagious, meaning that if those around you are acting pessimistically or irritable, then you are likely to catch on and alter your own mood respectively. If you notice someone being negative around you, simply remove yourself from the situation and focus on remaining happy and energized.
While it's hard to always maintain a positive mood, it's worth noting which factors can negatively affect your emotions and how best to avoid those triggers. If you are feeling down, think about something happier and transport yourself to a better place, where you can get back to feeling productive, perkier and in control.
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