When we are feeling tired and fed up it is all too easy to reach for that latte and double chocolate muffin. Most of us know that caffeine and high sugar foods only worsen mood-swings in the long run and lets face it, no woman ever went to bed at night feeling good about herself after gorging on cake. Try adding these five healthy mood and energy boosters to your routine instead.
1) Get-happy maca smoothie
Maca or ‘Peruvian ginseng’ is a member of the crucifer plant family. For centuries the root has been used for its remarkable nutritional and medicinal benefits by the native people of the Andes. This wonder root not only provides energy but also has mood regulating and hormone balancing properties, and is said to ease depression and anxiety. It is a perfect supplement for women suffering from premenstrual tension or going through the menopause, and for those of us who are just having a bad day or week!
Try adding powdered maca to a blend of live yogurt, banana and your favourite fruit to kick-start your day. You can also add in oats, honey and protein powder depending on your preference. But don’t forget the bananas! They are full of tryptophan and eating them causes a release of the feel good chemical serotonin in the brain.
2) Positive energy aromatherapy blend
For a joyful bath, mix up this blended oil to enliven the senses and promote positive energy. Add five drops bergamot oil, five drops grapefruit oil and five drops ylang ylang oil to two ounces of carrier oil such as jojoba. Store in a dark bottle and mix approximately a quarter of the blend into your bath water just before you get in. All three oils have uplifting, anti-depressant properties to lift even the darkest of moods. Alternatively, to fill your home with positive energy, add equal amounts of bergamot, grapefruit and ylang ylang to an oil burner, sit back and enjoy.
3) Get creative and change your point of view
Spend some time focusing on the positive. Get creative – making an online photo book and filling it with your happiest moments can be a fun way to distract yourself from whatever it is that is making you unhappy. Alternatively, get inspired and create a mood board out of magazine cut-outs. Fill the board with beautiful places you want to visit or your favourite colours and images. When we are young, creativity is actively encouraged however as we get older the thought of ‘wasting’ time on activities we consider trivial fills us with guilt. The truth is that creativity and self-expression are essential to wellbeing.
4) Feel the love with raw cacao
If you really MUST have chocolate then have it in its purest and most potent form – raw. Raw cacao nibs are not only nutritious; they also contain three neurotransmitters that are associated with promoting good mood: serotonin, dopamine and phenethylamine. Raw cacao also contains tryptophan, producing serotonin in the brain. This all-natural cocktail of happy chemicals means that eating raw cacao produces the same feeling in the brain that we experience when we are in love. So when people say that they love chocolate they actually do!
Try adding cacao beans to porridge or making a delicious raw brownie. Simply combine five tablespoons raw cacao powder, one cup ground walnuts, one cup ground dates, four tablespoons shredded coconut and two tablespoons honey. Mix the ingredients in a food processor so that you are left with a smooth brown mixture. Press the mix into a cake tin and refrigerate.
Sounds obvious but it just wouldn’t do to miss this one out. High-intensity exercise set to loud music, such as spinning classes, are great for releasing pent up anger. Much more constructive than giving your significant other evils or starting a fight with a call-centre customer service rep.