5 Natural Mood Boosters

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lifestyle choices will greatly impact a person’s mood! If you struggle with a mood disorder, finding natural methods of boosting mood is key to living a happier life on a day-to-day basis. People who struggle with mood issues often find themselves less productive in daily life. If you find yourself feeling down, try to examine various daily choices and evaluate how they may be impacting your current mood. Read these five natural mood boosters:

1. Eat Healthy and Nutritious Foods – Life can be extremely busy and stressful, which often results in people turning to fast food or craving foods, like carbs and sugar, that are simply not good for a person’s mood. No matter how hectic a person’s life is, eating healthy is one of the simplest things a person can do to naturally improve their mood. While unhealthy cravings feel good when satisfied, the feeling does not remain after the initial eating process. Eating well is one of the first steps you can take to promote natural change in your mood.

2. Exercise – One of the best ways to naturally mood boosters to feel great on a regular basis is to get regular exercise. Getting the right amount of fitness every day will actually boost hormones in the brain responsible for elevating mood. Many people say being busy is the reason for their lack of physical activity. However, even just taking thirty minutes a day to take a walk in your neighborhood can be helpful in boosting mood.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3. Light Exposure – Particularly during the dark and cold months of winter, many people find their mood decline as a result of not getting enough sunlight, which can even become Seasonal Affective Disorder. Investing in a therapeutic mood light, such as a Veriluxis an easy, effective way to expose a person suffering with mood issues to the right amount of sunlight to improve overall mood.

4. Make Time for Hobbies – Many people have so many responsibilities each day that there is little time to do things that help maintain mood and keep a person happy. It is very important to make sure you are involved in activities that make you happy, otherwise of course your mood will suffer as a result! There are many great fun activities that are actually known to function as mood boosters, such as yoga, singing, and spending time with friends.

5. Neurofeedback – Did you know that neurofeedback actually finds the root of mood issues in the brain? Once this has been determined, neurofeedback sessions target the root of the problem to help the brain function more calmly and efficiently, leading to sustained better moods and also higher productivity! What’s the best part about neurofeedback? It’s completely natural!

To learn more about neurofeedback and how Advanced Neurotherapy can help you develop a plan to beat the daily blues with nutrition counseling, therapy, neurofeedback, and more, call our office to set up a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross. 781-444-9115

 

Sunlight and the Brain

Photo courtesy of Stoonn at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo courtesy of Stoonn at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Summer is finally here again, bringing great weather, perfect for outdoor activities! Did you know that sunlight also benefits the brain? Yes, indeed! Naturally, staring directly into the sun is not good for the brain (or eyes for that matter), however the brain actually functions better when a person’s eyes are exposed to sunlight. Additionally, the brain is capable of actually detecting sunlight, whether or not a person can see as studies have shown light can stimulate the brains of blind people as well.

Sunlight has the ability to stimulate brain activity an enhance:

  • Mood
  • Alertness
  • Performance
  • Productivity

Sunlight increases the release of a hormone in the brain called serotonin, which is associated with improved mood, which contributes to wellbeing and happiness. When a person is not exposed to the sun for long periods, serotonin levels are known to decrease. During the winter months when sunlight exposure is much lower, people are more likely to develop mood issues such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

5 Natural Ways to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is related to the changing seasons, beginning and ending at the same time each year. Most people experience SAD in the fall and winter months when sunlight becomes scarce. Symptoms include depressed mood, low energy, lack of motivation, sleep issues, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. To combat these symptoms, try these five natural solutions to improve your mood through the fall and winter season.

 

Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  1. Light Therapy Lamp

By fall and winter, a person’s exposure to natural sunlight becomes more rare, especially if you work indoors because you are hardly ever exposed to sunlight. Light therapy lamps mimic outdoor sunlight, which researchers believe causes a chemical change in the brain that lifts a person’s mood and reduces symptoms of SAD. Light therapy lamps are recommended for a minimum of 30 minutes each day to experience the benefits, and may be purchased at any online retailer. Check out Verilux’s Happy Light here!

 

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  1. Diet and Exercise

If you are experiencing symptoms of SAD, take note of your diet and exercise plan. Have you been eating more than usual? What kinds of foods are you using to sustain your body? How often do you exercise? Diet and exercise can directly impact mood. To ease symptoms of SAD, eat foods that will nourish your body and brain. Plan an exercise routine that works for your schedule.

 

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  1. Spend Time with Friends and Family

One of the best support systems when a person is feeling down is socializing with friends and family. Spending time with people you trust means being able to share concerns in a healthy, safe environment. Make sure you are getting together with your friends and family as often as your schedule allows. If you find yourself with little time, try scheduling a set time each week to get together with friends.

 

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  1. Therapist

Finding a professional therapist to talk to on a regular basis will help ease the symptoms of SAD. Having a trusted therapist to talk about your problems will make them seem more manageable on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, even the act of setting aside an hour a week to care for yourself emotionally can put the mind at ease.

Image courtesy of Chaiwat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Chaiwat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

  1. Neurofeedback

When affected by SAD, changes are occurring within the brain that produce the symptoms experienced by the sufferer. Neurofeedback aims to correct these brain imbalances by training the brain to produce healthy brainwaves naturally, easing the symptoms of SAD. Neurofeedback improves memory, focus, and mood, which improves a person’s overall performance.

10 Types of Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States today, affecting more than 15 million people. On average, people start experiencing depression at 32 years old, however 3.3% of teenagers between 13-18 have depressive disorders as well. Depression is greatly influenced by biological, genetic, environmental, nutritional, and/or psychological factors. Impaired functioning between neurotransmitters in different regions of the brain that are responsible for regulating mood may result in onset of depression. Neurofeedback is a great supplemental method to help retrain the brain to function most efficiently. Neurofeedback specialists pinpoint exactly where the brain is having trouble functioning, and teaches the brain to self-correct, reducing or eliminating the symptoms of depression over time.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

There are several different types of depression, all of which neurofeedback can assist in correcting. Symptoms of depression are highly varied case to case, however certain symptoms are known to be associated with certain types of depression. The causes of each type of depression and the methods of treating them are very different depending on what type of depression exists in any given case. Learn more about the various types of depression, their causes, and symptoms by reading this list of ten different types of depression.

 

1. Major Depression

AKA: Clinical depression, unipolar depression, major depressive disorder

Affects: 7% of American adults

May Be Brought on by: Alcohol/drug abuse, chronic medical conditions, traumatic/stressful life events (such as death, divorce, etc.), certain medications, sleep issues, unexplained aches or pains, decreased sex drive, thoughts of death and/or suicide

Symptoms: Poor mood, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, fatigue, agitation, irritability, trouble concentrating, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, changes in sleep habits, suicidal thoughts, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, self-hatred, anger, and/or helplessness

2. Adjustment Disorder

AKA: Exogenous, reactive, or situational depression

Affects: 12% of Americans(varies greatly)

May Be Brought On By: A traumatic and/or stressful experience

Symptoms: Sadness, poor mood, frequent crying, anxiety, stomach aches, head aches, heart palpitations, changes in appetite, weight gain or loss, fatigue, unusual recklessness, unusual destructive acts, alcohol or drug abuse, isolation.

3. Persistent Depressive Disorder

AKA: Dysthymia

Affects: 2% of Americans

May Be Brought On By: Family history, imbalances in the brain, trauma, gender (more common in women), brain injury, additional mental disorders such as anxiety or addiction

Symptoms: Depressed mood most days for at least 2 years, poor appetite or overeating, insomnia, hypersomnia, fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration, feeling hopelessness or worthlessness, difficulty making decisions.

4. Psychotic Depression

AKA: Depressive Psychosis

Affects: 3 out of every 100 Americans

May Be Brought On By: Genetics, stress, drug use, lack of sleep, can be caused by certain illnesses including brain diseases (such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and some chromosomal disorders, brain tumors or cysts, dementia, HIV, syphilis, epilepsy, and stroke.

Symptoms: Delusions, hallucinations, difficulty concentrating, poor mood, changes in sleep habits, anxiety, suspiciousness, isolation, unusual or suicidal thoughts or actions, trouble functioning

5. Bipolar Disorder

AKA: Manic Depression

Affects: 3 million Americans

May Be Brought On By: Genetics, traumatic events may trigger predisposition, chemical imbalances in the brain

Symptoms: Dramatic cycling mood changes reaching extreme highs (mania) and extreme lows (depression), explosive behavior, irritability, changes in sleep,

Symptoms of Mania: High energy, excitement, joy, poor judgment, reckless behavior, racing thoughts, feelings of invincibility

Symptoms of Depression: Sadness, hopelessness, anger, suicidal thoughts (high suicide risk)

6. Melancholic Depression

AKA: Depression with melancholic features, a DSM-IV subtype of clinical depression, most common type of clinical depression

Affects: 2%-10% of all depression diagnoses

May Be Brought On By: genetics, chemical imbalances in the brain

Symptoms: Poor mood, feelings of meaninglessness, emptiness, numbness, failing to find a purpose in life, change in appetite, severe weight loss or gain, waking in the early morning, excessive guilt, fatigue, initiation difficulty, difficulty with regular or mundane tasks, cognitive slowness, physical slowness, poor concentration, physical agitation, inability to feel pleasure, hypersomnia

7. Atypical Depression

AKA: Depression with atypical features, subtype of clinical depression

Affects: Up to 36% of depression diagnoses

May Be Brought On By: Chemical imbalances in the brain, genetics, traumatic/stressful life event, drug/alcohol abuse, isolation

Symptoms: Poor mood, mood is usually and strongly reactive to environmental and situational circumstances, increased sensitivity to rejection, issues with social relationships, insomnia, hypersomnia, eating too much, weight gain, fatigue, weakness

8. Seasonal Affective Disorder

AKA: SAD, winter blues

Affects: 4%-6% of Americans

Brought on By: Lessened exposure to natural sunlight

Symptoms: Poor mood during the winter months that disappears in spring, anxiety, increased irritability, fatigue, weight gain.

9. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

AKA: PMDD

Affects: 2%-10% of menstruating women

May Be Brought On By: Low levels of serotonin (neurotransmitters in the brain that control mood, attention, sleep, and pain)

Symptoms: Depression occurs during the second half of menstrual cycles, loss of interest in relationships and daily activities, trouble concentrating, fatigue, sadness, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, feeling a loss of control, mood swings, food craving, binge eating, panic attacks, irritability, anger, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, joint and/or muscle pain, trouble sleeping

10. Postpartum Depression

AKA: Intense baby blues

Affects: 16% of new mothers

Brought On By: Hormonal and physical changes after giving birth, stress from new responsibility of having a child, develops within a year after giving birth

Symptoms: Extreme sadness, fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, anxiety, fear of something happening to the baby, feeling disconnected from the new baby, suicidal thoughts

 

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, neurofeedback is an excellent solution to improve mood and functioning so you can live a happier life. In addition to relieving the symptoms of depression, neurofeedback improves mood, sleep, and overall performance for school and/or work. Any coexisting brain-based issues such as ADHD are corrected simultaneously.

Everyone deserves to feel their best! Let us help you achieve your best. Call our office at 781-444-9115 to schedule a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross.