7 Ways to Improve Your Mood
The HealthCentral Editorial Team Apr 3, 2012 (updated Sep 26, 2013)
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In a nod to all of the evidence supporting a link between physical and mental health, here are 7 tips to improve your physical, and as a result mental, well-being.
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Get an annual physical examination
An annual physical is important so you monitor your health and catch any potential issues early on. Mental issues can sometimes be caused by a physical ailment or induce another medical condition, so regular check-ups are a good idea. For example, schizophrenia has been linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis.
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Ask your doctor to check your vitamin levels
While you are having your annual physical exam, ask your doctor to do the bloodwork necessary to check your vitamin levels. Some physicians will automatically check, but others skip this test. Vitamin deficiencies can lead to neurological and mental issues - schizophrenia has been linked in some cases to insufficient Vitamin D.
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Consider taking supplements and vitamins
Although vitamins are sometimes regarded as "alternative" therapies, doctors are increasingly embracing them as supplements to other medications. A variety of supplements and vitamins exist, with a range of potential health benefits.
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Do a physical activity you love
Get moving by choosing a form of exercise that you find fun. You are more likely to keep up the activity if you enjoy it. Your activity of choice may be bike riding, running, swimming, hiking, roller blading, pilates or a team sport like basketball.
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Start with 5 minutes of daily exercise
Start off by doing five minutes of cardiovascular exercise (something which gets your heart pumping) and increase the time by five minutes each day you exercise, until you are able to do 30-45 minutes of aerobic activity. You can even multi-task while working out - use an exercise step while watching TV, listen to music while weight lifting, or read while on the stationary bike.
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Eat foods known to boost your mood
There are some foods and diet which will more likely lead to bad moods and there are foods which boost your immunity, give you more energy and make you feel good emotionally. Processed foods have been shown to increase the risk of low moods, whereas whole foods decrease the risk. Some feel-good foods include salmon, flaxseed, fruits, nuts and vegetables.
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Get a good night's sleep
This is a simple but powerful tip. If you are tired because you aren’t sleeping well then your mood disorder, can be even more magnified and dramatic. Some people will stay up most of the night during a period of mania and then crash into fatigue, irritability, and depression some time later. It is also not enough to just sleep, it has to be deep REM sleep.