When you feel sore, you stretch.
When you feel tired, you sleep.
When you feel hungry, you eat.
Common sense, right? But when you’re feeling low, the solution isn’t so obvious. Sadness can manifest in a multitude of ways, but research has shown there are some specific and simple methods anyone can use to beat the blues.
Read on for some practical, science-based solutions to stop one upsetting experience from sabotaging your whole day.
Feelings of sorrow, despondency, and unhappiness are not arbitrary parts of your personality. These emotions are tangible, trackable parts of your brain (1). Whether they are triggered by memories, interactions, or circumstances, you are not the only one going through it. An imbalance of hormones or the absence of good-mood neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine makes it impossible for you to feel happy. Luckily there are steps you can take to get your brain back on track!
RBF, or 'resting bitch face,' may be considered cool, but so is a longer lifespan (2), reduced stress(3), and a stronger immune system(4). Studies have shown that when you smile, especially during stressful situations, there is a biological response in your body to counteract feelings of unhappiness. Your brain registers your mood based on your facial expressions so you can trick it into releasing dopamine and serotonin (5). Fake it ‘til you make it!
Music therapy is proven to help reduce pain and anxiety during surgery and childbirth so it can certainly help with less traumatic events like a bad day(6). When you play a happy song associated with good memories, your brain can respond by releasing dopamine for immediate feelings of happiness(7).
In her podcast 'Savvy Psychologist,' Dr. Ellen Hendriksen points out that during times of stress, your body craves carbs because that is a natural way to increase serotonin(8). Before turning to cake and donuts to solve your problems, remember this quick fix brings its own risks in the form of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease… not to mention the sugar crash that follows. Luckily, carbs do not have to be unhealthy! Try reaching for sweet potato fries, dried chickpeas, or an apple instead of a sugar bomb.
Constantly scrolling and comparing your life to other people’s extremely-edited, highlight-reel version of their lives, is a sure-fire way to induce sadness and dissatisfaction, whether you actively realize it or not. While studies are still being conducted to determine the exact biological processes in play, it is undeniable that social media use contributes to feelings of insecurity, perceived social isolation, addiction, and general mental unhappiness.(9). So, instead of reaching for your phone for a reality-break, consider picking up a good book or taking a walk.
Segway much? Elle Woods said it best, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” As little as 10 minutes of exercise can boost your mood(10). More blood is pumped through the body to clear away brain fog and improve how you feel. Even if you cannot fit a workout in every day, take a dance break, go for a walk, or do a quick yoga flow; anything to get your body moving!
The science behind this is simple: more sunlight means higher levels of serotonin(11). Alternatively, when you don’t receive sunlight, (for example at night), your body starts producing melatonin to signal your brain that sleep is approaching and your body needs to wind down. If you feel your mood dipping during the short winter days, a few minutes of sunlight and brisk air can make a significant difference in your day. If you still can’t shake your lousy mood, consider buying a light therapy lamp to imitate the effect of the sun!
It makes sense that insufficient sleep results in a crankier human. When those restless nights turn into sleepless weeks, the result can be anxiety, irritability, and anger(12). More than being annoyed, those emotions make you more reactive to your environment. You lose the ability to distinguish between a slight and a legitimate offense.
To fall asleep faster, ditch your phone, computer, and tv at least one hour before you plan to be asleep. The blue light these devices give off is a big disruptor to our natural circadian rhythm.
One of the hardest things about being unhappy is the feeling that you are dysfunctional, a bad person, or an unappreciative friend. It is a chemical response, and everyone experiences it at one time or another. If you feel more affected or, like you're in a slump, tips and tricks will only get you so far. You need to re-establish the bridge between your body and your brain.
When you’re feeling down it can be difficult to focus and function optimally. BrainJuice contains 13 key ingredients specifically chosen to boost focus, clarity, memory, and mood. Vitamin B6 and the amino acid N-acetyl L-tyrosine work together to provide your brain with the building blocks needed to produce more dopamine.
When your brain is getting the nutrition it needs, your whole world can change. Try BrainJuice today and thank yourself tomorrow!
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