Although it is easy to get down in the dumps from time to time, it’s important to recognise negative feelings and not to let them take over.
In this blog post, we’ve prepared a few tips to help you keep a smile on your face.
We often use food and drink to affect the way we feel, but can our diet actually make us happier? Scientists have found that the brain, like the rest of the body, needs between 40 and 50 different nutrients to function properly. The best way for the brain to get these nutrients is to eat a balanced diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables.
Your blood sugar levels go up and down during the day depending on what and when you eat. These rise and falls can make you not only feel tired but depressed and irritable too. This is one of the main reasons experts recommend starting the day with a good breakfast, made up of foods like wholegrain toast or porridge oats that release their energy slowly.
Not only does this kick start your morning, the slow-release energy will also help to control your blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full for longer. Eating regular meals is also important to help smooth out blood sugar ups and downs and deal with the daily mood rollercoaster.
It might be the last thing you want to do when you're feeling down, but exercise has been proven to help lift your mood by causing the release of feel good hormones called endorphins.
Regular exercise helps people cope better with anxiety and stress. Research has even shown it can be more effective than medication in treating mild to moderate depression.
Taking up a class or group sports activity is also a good idea because you can benefit from meeting new people as well as the activity itself.
Rest your head
Don't forget that sleep is also vital for your mental well-being. Not getting enough sleep will leave you feeling drained and less able to deal with stress, and can also affect your performance at work.
Most people need between seven and eight hours sleep a night, but make sure you get enough to feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning.
Despite your best efforts, there will always be times when your mood takes a dive or you feel upset. Here are a few pointers to help get you out from under that cloud as soon as possible.
Talk about it
Don't bottle up your emotions; go to a friend or family member you trust, or try a self-help group or confidential support service like Befrienders, and tell them how you feel.
Identify your triggers
Try to find out what situations, people or settings are causing you to have negative feelings and work out ways to deal with them.
Even if you can't avoid these situations altogether, identifying them will mean you're able to protect your emotions in future.
Get out and about
Try not to shut yourself away with the TV and a duvet when you feel down. Get out with some friends, go to the cinema, join a local group or volunteer in the community.
Being around people will take your mind off your worries and help you feel better about yourself. It's much harder to feel down when you're surrounded by smiling people having a good time.
If you are looking to attend a health and wellbeing event abroad, we’ve prepared a helpful list of options for you. Read out blog post here.
- Changing diets, Changing minds: How diet affects mental wellbeing and behaviour (https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/assets/ResourceFinder/changing-diets.pdf). Mental Health Foundation. Visited 13 July 2018.
- The Mind guide to food and mood (https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/food-and-mood/about-food-and-mood/#.WxpKCa0zuCQ). Mind (National Association for Mental Health). Visited 13 July 2018.
- Depression and diet (https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/depression-diet.html). The Association of British Dieticians (BDA). Visited 13 July 2018.
- Sleep and tiredness (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/the-energy-diet/). NHS Choices. Visited 13 July 2018.
- Physical activity, sport and mental health (https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/physical-activity-and-your-mental-health/about-physical-activity/#.Wxpgd60zuCQ). Mind (National Association for Mental Health) Visited 13 July 2018.
- The effect of high correlated colour temperature office lighting on employee wellbeing and work performance. Mills P et al. Journal of Circadian Rhythms. 2007; 5:2.