10 surprising things that affect your mood
Food intolerances are responsible for a wide range of physical conditions including nausea and abdominal pain, but they can also affect your mood, causing irritability, mood swings, lack of focus, aggression, nervousness or hyperactivity. If you suffer from regular mood swings, try keeping a food diary – noting what you eat as well as any changes in mood – to see if you can identify a link.
Your home decor
If you want to give your mood a boost, try changing your home decor as your surroundings can heavily influence your mood. While red can make some people feel irritable or hostile, yellow communicates happiness and blue aids relaxation, so try accessorising your home with colours that enhance your mood. Research has also suggested that hanging up soothing pictures — such as beautiful landscape paintings —can positively affect a person’s mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
While many of us dream of getting a promotion in work, the reality may not be as rosy as you think. A study by researchers at the University of Warwick has found that rather than improving quality of life for workers, following a job promotion employees suffered from increased mental strain and there was on average a 10 per cent decrease in people’s mental health.
Many of us are aware that lack of sleep can contribute to a low mood; however, research suggests that when you go to sleep could be almost as important as how much sleep you get. According to a study published in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, night owls are almost three times as likely as early birds to experience severe symptoms of depression, so try getting some early nights to boost your mood.
While depression can be caused by a number of things, symptoms can be worsened or improved by your diet. Deficiencies in vitamin D, the B vitamins (particularly B6, B12 and folate) and omega-3 fatty acids can all lead to feelings of depression and anxiety. Try introducing more foods rich in these nutrients into your diet to see if symptoms improve.
You might think that spending time with your friends is a great mood booster; however, that could all depend on their mood. Research has found that emotions – both positive and negative – are contagious and easily passed from person to person, often without you being aware of it. Furthermore, you don’t even need to see your friends to catch their mood, as a study suggests that the emotions of Facebook users directly affect the emotions of their friends for up to three days.
A study by researchers from Monash University has found that women who take birth control pills are twice as likely to be depressed as those who don’t. For some, certain birth control pills can also lead to mood swings, increased anger and loss of libido. If you think that your mood has changed for the worse since you began taking the pill, visit your GP to discuss the alternatives.
We all know that smoking causes cancer, heart disease and premature ageing, but it is less well known that cigarettes can also affect your mental health. According to the results of a large study conducted by New Zealand researchers, people who smoke cigarettes may increase their risk of developing depression, and those who are addicted to nicotine may be more than twice as likely to have depressive symptoms than those who are not.
Most of us have heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) caused by dark winter days, but did you know that sunlight can also bring on the blues? While summer SAD is thought to affect less than 1% of the population (compared to the 5% affected by the winter version) it can be a serious condition for those it affects, bringing on insomnia, decreased appetite and depression.
Your bedside lamp
If you regularly fall asleep reading or watching TV, this can have repercussions on your mood the next day. Research has shown that night time light can suppress the production of melatonin; a mood-regulating hormone which is only produced during darkness. So, try investing in some heavy curtains and make sure you turn off all lights at night to give yourself a happiness boost. Read more on realbuzz.com...
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