Healthy Moms

Natural ways to feel happy
June 8, 2010 at 11:08 AM

I liked this article, so I am sharing it with you ladies.

Sweat away sadness

We all know someone who says they exercise for their mental health, and guess what? Research proves they’re right! It turns out that working out may be as effective at relieving mild to moderate depression as the antidepressant Zoloft, because it stimulates the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine in your brain, according to a study from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. And you don’t need to train for a triathlon to reap the benefits. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can improve your mood. If you’d rather stretch than stride, even taking a yoga class has been proven to boost levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid that helps keep depression at bay. 

Eat good food

Fish that contains omega-3 fatty acids enhances areas of the brain that affect your mood, so aim to eat a low-mercury swimmer, like wild salmon, arctic char or sardines twice a week. Have a baked spud on the side for a dose of vitamin B6, which lowers your depression risk. And foods rich in folate, such as spinach, beans and oranges, are filled with blues-busting serotonin—dig in, feel better!

Have sweet dreams

It’s not just beauty sleep—it’s happy sleep! Logging a solid seven to eight hours of rest is one of the most important things you can do for your emotional health. People who have insomnia are five times more likely to develop depression compared with those who are well-rested, a study from the University of North Texas in Denton finds. To make it easier to drift off, skip late-night TV and web surfing, jot down your worries on a notepad so you can rest with a clear mind and try soothing stretches before turning in.

Claim some quiet time

Something to contemplate: Frequent meditation is as effective as medicine at reducing bouts of depression, according to research. Yoga is a great way to clear your mind, but if you’re not the oming type, try setting aside 10 minutes in the morning to do deep breathing. Or, if you’re like me and prefer to stay in motion, try this “walking meditation:” Stride slowly for 20 minutes sans iPod. Stare at the ground 6 feet ahead and focus on the soles of your shoes lifting and dropping.  

See the light

Depressed people who were exposed to a bright light for an hour upon waking up in the morning for five weeks experienced a 54 percent improvement in symptoms, according to a study from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Try flicking on an energy light, such as the Philips goLITE BLU ($199), as you read your morning paper or answer your email.  Spending more time outside can also lift your spirits and tame stress, according to research. Read a book on a park bench during your lunch break or bike to run your errands. Stuck inside? Try to sit near a window.

Phone a pal

Not surprisingly, lonely folks are more likely to be depressed, research from the University of Chicago suggests. To feel your happiest, aim to strengthen bonds with at least three close pals. Make buddy dates by automating them—agree to meet at the gym twice a week, or gather for a night of takeout and movie watching the first Friday of each month. You’ll keep your spirits high with a little help from your friends


  • RanaAurora
    June 8, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    Thanks!  That has some great tips.

  • evwsquared
    June 8, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    I just want to point out that these work for mild depression.

  • smurfy88
    June 8, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    Yes I agree, and you should still see your doctor to make sure you don't need medication. Depression can be very serious.

    Quoting evwsquared:

    I just want to point out that these work for mild depression.

  • ethans_momma06
    June 8, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    I read that it was 15 mins. of exercise a day, but I guess 30 would make you feel a WHOLE lot better ;)

  • thingz123
    June 9, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    Great list. I wanted to add a few more of my personal favorites-communing with my plants (I'm a fiend for indoor and outdoor gardening), creating new things (crafting, jewelry making), decorating and staring at my fish tank.

  • BornToRun84
    June 9, 2010 at 10:18 AM

     running is my therapy (well in addition to the dreadul woman I speak too... ::sigh::)

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