Does your emo-meter range from morose to ecstatic? Here’s how to beat the blues or ride your high
Happy, positive; sad, unproductive; angry, snappy. It’s no secret that moods affect your thoughts, judgements and actions-so we checked out the science and spoke to experts to find out just what goes on in your body and how to harness the power of (or beat) your moods.
1. You feel: Happy
- What’s Happening In Your Body : When you’re giddy over the purchase of a new bag, it’s because the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin are being released in your brain – and this can change your body language: “You may find that you sit up straighter and walk with a spring in your step. A New Approach To Getting The Life You Want, only 10 percent of the happiness you feel is because of external circumstances (that bag), 50 percent is down to genetic make-up and the other 40 percent is due to your attitude. Lasting happiness has more to do with how you behave and think, which you can control: “If you do the work, research shows that you can become happier, no matter what your set point is”.
- Use Happiness To Your Advantage : A study published in Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences found that being happy can increase your ability to think creatively. Now’s a good time to get painting, plan your winter wardrobe or work on a new marketing campaign.
- Keep Up Good Vibes : Start a gratitude journal. A Visionary New Understanding Of happiness And Wellbeing, people who write “gratitude letters” to someone who has made a difference in their lives score higher on happiness and lower on depression – and the effect lasts for weeks.
2. You feel : Sad
- What’s Happening In Your Body : When you’re sad, you may find that you’re moving slower and taking longer to complete tasks because you feel tired, your energy levels are low and your concentration levels have dipped. This is because there’s a lot going on in your brain. Research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that sadness appears to cause that sadness appears to cause altered activity in more than 70 different brain regions-including the regions that process conflict, pain, social isolation, memory, reward, attention, bodily sensations, decision-making and emotional displays.
- Shake It Off : Turn on some tunes. According to a study reported in Nature Neuroscience, listening to an upbeat song for three minutes can boost your mood. In the study, levels of dopamine were listening to music they enjoyed.
- Perk Yourself Up : Flip through old photos. It may make you happier than a block of chocolatey goodness would. Researchers at the UK’s Open University found that viewing pictures made people 11 percent happier eating chocolate left moods unchanged, while sipping an alcoholic drink or watching TV resulted in a slight one percent lift.
3. You feel: Angry
- What’s happening In Your Body : A study published in the journal Hormones and behavior revealed that anger testosterone levels, and your breathing becomes heavier as your body pumps more oxygen and sugar into the bloodstream. Your muscles tense and blood pressure rise; essentially, your body is preparing itself for action. Humans are programmed to react with anger as a means of self-protection. “Your body doesn’t differentiate between a blow to your pride or a matter of life and death, so when we feel offended, we’re wired to react as though it’s a treat to our life.”
- Shake It Off : Defuse your rage with a run. research at the university of Georgia shows that exercise can quell anger-even a single bout can have a robust effect on your mood.
- Time To Brainstorm : A study found that angry people are less likely to think systematically, and this is consistent with “creative” problem solving.
4. You’re Feeling : Stressed
- What’s Happening In your Body : When you’re on edge, your adrenal hormones kick into action. This triggers a series of reactions: your blood pressure rises, there’s increased blood flow to your muscles, your pupils dilate and your hearing sharpens. Your brain signals to your pituitary gland to release cortisol-and a regular high of this hormone can cause nerve damage, up your blood pressure and increase your cholesterol levels.
- Shake It Off : Spend time with Marley. Studies have found that people with pets have lower blood pressure than the rest of the population. Why? They provide unconditional affection.
- Keep Stress At A Distance : Sign up for yoga. German studies found that women in yoga groups showed improvements in anxiety and overall wellbeing-and headaches and poor sleep quality were reduced.
5. You’re feeling : Confident
- What’s Happening In your Body : When you’re standing tall, your shoulders are comfortably straight and your chest elevated. How do you look? Confident. A study found that good posture not only projects power to other people, but actually makes you feel more powerful yourself. When your brain registers this stance, it increases your body’s production of testosterone (which makes you more assertive).
- Stay Like This : Nodding while thinking or speaking boosts confidence in your own opinion, suggests a US study. “We think of nodding or shaking our head as something that communicates to other people, but it turns out that we’re also communicating with ourselves.
- Time To Kick A Habit : Like smoking or that cheesecake addiction. By harnessing the power of positive emotions, you can programme your mind for success.
Feel The Pressure
Diy Hand Reflexology Can Be A Mood-Lifting Mix
1. Hold one thumb between your other thumb and fore finger. Using an inchworm-like motion, work your entire thumb from top to bottom, in every direction. Apply enough pressure so it feels good and doesn’t hurt. “This technique helps relax the reflexes of your head and neck muscles,” says reflexologist.
2. Knead the fleshy area of your palm (below the thumb) in the same way to relax the reflex of your spine. “You’ll feel less stressed and your mood will improve”. Do both for five minutes on each hand several times a day.