Natural remedies to reduce the magnitude of damaging mood swings
You cannot always wish your mood swings away. But try the following simple natural remedies to help overcome bad moods.
1. Laugh, laugh and laugh
Mark Twain once said: “The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
Laughter has always been proposed as the key to good health. Right from the Zen monk of yore, Hotei to laughter guru, Madan Kataria, the benefits of laughter have always been acknowledged. Dr. Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford, feels that the physical act of laughing itself promotes good health. The simple muscular exertions involved in producing the familiar “ha, ha, ha” trigger an increase in endorphins, the brain chemicals known for their feel-good effect.
Mental tension is linked to impairment of the endothelium, the protective barrier lining the blood vessels. This can cause a series of inflammatory reactions that results in fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries and ultimately to a heart attack.
Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine.
A good laughter helps increase oxygen absorption in the blood and increases immunity. It is also good for weight loss as it optimizes oxygen levels in the system and helps burns more calories.
Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Researchers have found out that people with heart disease were 40 % less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
Laughter also relaxes muscles, relieves pain and keeps blood pressure in check.
2. Cry when you have to
This advice might seem odd, as most of us had been made to believe that to cry is to accept that we are fragile. However, medical science has a different story to tell. Research has revealed that tears are a medium for flushing negative chemicals out of the body.
A study by Dr William H. Frey II, a biochemist at the St Paul-Ramsey Medical Centre in Minnesota, discovered that emotional tears contained more of the protein-based hormones prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone and leucine enkephalin (a natural painkiller), all of which are produced by our body when under stress. It is beneficial to remove adrenocorticotropic from the body as it generates cortisol, the stress hormone.
3. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise and good moods always go hand-in-hand. James Blumenthal, a clinical psychologist of Duke University, explored the mood-exercise connection through a series of randomized controlled trials. His trials suggest that active people are less depressed than inactive people. Exercise alleviates depression by increasing serotonin, the neurotransmitter targeted by antidepressants.
Physical activity can provide one with a safe outlet for anger. Taking a brisk walk or running a few blocks can help us, if we feel that we are going to erupt.
4. Do regular Breathing exercises and meditation
The study carried out in Departments of Physiology and Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy Education and Research, JIPMER, Pondicherry on 90 subjects aged 18-25 years and published in the 2013 July edition of International Journal of Yoga revealed that there was a perceived decrease in perceived stress scale (PSS) after 12 weeks of pranayama practice. If you are feeling constantly anxious about life, try enrolling for any Breathing workshop program.
5. Listen to Music
The concept of music helping individuals runs deep into human history. Of late, science has also established that listening to music can lead to reduction in stress hormones. The study by Barry Bitman along with researchers from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems published in 2005 found out that playing a musical instrument can reverse multiple components of the human stress response on the genomic level. (A genome is the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism.) They further found out that stress reduction was more in individuals who participated in music lessons than in those who just relaxed or read newspapers or magazines of their choice.
Researchers have also found that music with a strong tempo can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo encouraging a calmer state of mind.
Anci Sandell, a music therapist of 35 years, has presented research findings, which show music therapy increases quality of life for people who are being treated for severe medical or psychosocial conditions.
Indian classical ragas have been widely acknowledged as a mood enhancer, with each raga signifying a particular feeling. The raag Natabhairavi is said to cure psychological disorders and raag Sahana is considered helpful in bringing down anger.
If you are feeling stressed out after a long day at work, listen to your favourite song/s. It can lift your moods instantly.
6. Eat… Pamper yourself
Are you feeling angry all of a sudden? Go out and have a bowl of your favourite ice cream. According to Belgian researchers, fatty foods can help you overcome a bad mood. The study by Dr. Lukas Van Oudenhove of the University of Leuven published in 2011 found out that fatty acids in food works to decrease sad emotions.
Spicy food is set to release endorphins, the natural painkillers. If you are feeling down, a plate of spicy Indian food could do wonders to your moods.
7. Don’t sweat about the past
Live in the present and forget the past – You would have often heard this message from the spiritual masters. But is this message scientifically relevant?
Brooding over the past, whether it is an argument or a defeat or even a failed relationship, makes the blood pressure rise again. It is tough to erase the bad memories of the past, but it is worthwhile to accept that you don’t have the power to change the past. However, acknowledge or try to realize the lessons it taught you in the process. Be grateful for the good things in your life-your parents, your spouse and so on. A feeling of gratitude boosts immunity, lowers blood pressure and speeds Oxytocin induced healing in the body.
8. Physical contact… A Hug or a Cuddle helps
A hug or a cuddle or a handshake-what do all of these have in common? It has been found out that all these simple acts of body contact release low levels of oxytocin, which in turn release DHEA, considered to be the ‘anti-stress’ hormone of the body. DHEA hormone is important to buffer stress and to counter its negative impact on physical and mental health.
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