[Photo: Liza Summer]
We are all for exercising here at All-Season Co, and we know how great it is for lifting your mood. We also know that at times stress, injury or other circumstances can get in the way of getting your heart rate up, and your mood-elevating sweat on.
If that's the spot you're in, you can still do a few simple things to boost your mood when you are feeling a down, stressed out or anxious. Here are three things to boost your mood, and hopefully make things a little bit easier.
Breathing is about as basic as it gets when it comes to calming your mood. Even just a deep breath in and out can feel like a game changer. But when you dig a bit deeper, and do some focused breath routines and find the proper way to oxygenate your body (moving away from distracted shallow breathing to more full, deep breaths), you may find that you surprise yourself in terms of how much stress and anxiety leaves your body.
Here's a basic one: Sit upright in a chair with your eyes closed, and shoulders, head, and neck supported against a wall or the back of the chair. Breathe in slowly and deeply. through your nose for three seconds, letting your belly fill with air. Hold for a second, then breathe out through your nose slowly. Repeat three times and see how you feel.
There's a ton of exercises you can do in this space to explore, and some great apps like Calm and Breathwrk that can guide you through exercises designed to help you relax or even energize.
Drink more water
Like breathing, drinking a big glass of water is another really simple mood booster. It's quite easy to get a little dehydrated, and that can quickly have an impact on your mood by impacting dopamine and serotonin levels. Feeling foggy, nervous, stressed or low energy may be helped out with topping up your hydration levels. Whether that's a few glasses of water, electrolytes or water-dense foods like fruits and vegetables like oranges, apples, melon or celery.
As for how much water you need in a day, the science on that seems to vary a bit. Six glasses a day should do, but will depend on how much salt you eat, how active you are and other individual health factors.
Get into nature
This takes a bit more effort than breathing or drinking water, but it's a good one. Spending time in nature has great impacts on your mood and decreasing cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress. There are studies ongoing that even looks at how bacteria in forest soil may increase serotonin levels. All of this contributes to a burgeoning field called ecotherapy, where time in nature is being prescribed as a means of helping with stress and anxiety. And of course, there's shinrin-yoku, the Japanese concept of 'forest bathing' created by Japan's government in the 1980s.
So if you're feeling a bit stuck, head into some nature, take some deep breathes and a big drink of water. Then, plan out your next run or hike and really take your mood up a level.
Do you have a favorite breathing exercise, hydration method or way to get in nature? Share in the comments below - and send this to someone you know that could use a boost!
You might also enjoy:
- Subscribe to the All-Season YouTube channel.
- Have you heard of Wandermap? A great tool for planning your next hike.
- Where does your meal land on the new 'Food Compass?'