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SW: Nutrition & Fitness Channel
Reported February 6, 2012

6 Natural Ways To Boost Your Mood

The saying “smiles are contagious,” may have more validity than you think. Researchers at the University of Hawaii found that it only takes milliseconds to subconsciously catch and feel emotions that are similar to people around you. But like any common cold, a bad mood can be cured naturally. We have the top mood boosters to keep from ruining your day.

LeNeva Spires suffers from the blues. She says it’s the winter blues.

"You sort of feel like you're half awake… all day long,” Spires told Ivanhoe.

But for many, the cranky mood culprits aren’t seasonal. From having no money, to job hunting to guy issues, bad times come and go, but research is giving us new reason to leave our negativity at the door. One study found employees who bring negative emotions to work, stay in a bad mood all day and their productivity falls by more than 10 percent! Another found each happy friend increases your own chance of happiness by nine percent, and each unhappy friend decreases it by seven percent.

 While many medicate their moods with antidepressants, licensed mental health counselor Abeela Haq, says some chemicals treated by these meds, can be boosted naturally. First, serotonin. For a good dose, include dark cherries and bananas in your lunch.

“If you have a lack of serotonin basically that can trigger a mood disorder or depression,” Haq told Ivanhoe.

Next grab some milk or a turkey sandwich; both are rich in the proven mood booster tryptophan.

“That’s the happy food. You eat turkey, you fall asleep, you feel good,” Haq explained.

Also, dark chocolate! The comfort food helps release mood-elevating hormones called endorphins. A few squares will do the trick.

“I love it, it’s good for me especially the dark chocolate,” one woman told Ivanhoe.

Another trick, lower your breathing rate.

“You take a deep breath in and you would feel your stomach,” Haq explained.

It seems simple, but diaphragmatic breathing is a proven way to calm your nerves. Try breathing deeply 15 times a day.

“You’re bringing oxygen in the correct way. We often breathe incorrectly,” Haq said.

Fifth, exercise. Not all workouts are created equal, but a 15 minute walk can work magic!

“The key is you have to do what you enjoy if you do that you'll actually naturally start boosting neurochemicals in your brain,” Haq said.

Finally sip some valerian root or chamomile tea. Both herbs contain plenty of relaxants- so much they’ve even been used to calm horses!

A perfect blend of food and exercise to turn your frowns…upside down.

Abeela says one of the best ways to affect your mood, is to watch what you put in your body. Many simple carbs such as soda and junk foods are downers, while protein and vitamin rich foods improve stability.

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