Need a Mood Booster?

 Try one or two of these 20!

Who doesn't want to shine a little brighter and have their spirits lifted, especially at this time of the year? We've gathered some ideas from the experts along with our loyal YVW readers to help your mood go sky high naturally.

Surround yourself with happy thoughts. Make your walls or shelves a testament of things you love. Line them with your favorite family photos, prop up one of your grandma's treasured plates, or show off a cherished piece of art. Keeping a visual reminder close by and making a point to take notice is sure to bring a smile.

"I love to take 15 minutes each day reading my daily devotional after the kids leave for school. It's what centers me and helps me face what the day has in store." ~Jennifer Nieto

When stress starts to creep in, make sure you ease up on the refined carbs like soda, candies or cookies. These foods often cause that immediate sugar high that, after a few hours, can cause a major crash. Nothing kills a mood more than a case of sugar-induced fatigue.

Take time to follow the mantra "Serving saves us from ourselves." The act of giving to others not only gives you a case of the "warm fuzzies," it helps you to appreciate your own life's blessings.

Make sure each meal offers a serving of lean protein. Studies show that protein raises levels of the amino acids that serve as the chemical messengers in your brain. The result will leave you feeling more alert and energized.

"Being in my kitchen always makes me feel better. It's truly my happy place!" Mara Haynes

Take time to stop and smell the roses! Researchers say that sniffing a floral scent tends to increase our state of happiness. Roses, magnolias, jasmine, gardenia and lavender are the aromas that tend to have the greatest effect on our overall mood.

Hug someone! The simple act of a warm embrace releases endorphins, which is a natural stress reliever.

Get moving! Whether it's pumping iron or taking a walk around the block, getting that heart pumping provides a natural mood and energy booster. Studies show daily doses of exercise have a long-term effect on battling the blues.

"When I need a mood booster, I like to schedule time with friends. It can be coffee with an old friend, going out for drinks with the soccer/basketball moms or having game night with another family. A good laugh with friends helps me to refocus and stay positive. It really is the best medicine!" ~ Tina Molvig

Book a vacation or if the funds don't allow, just look at pictures of places you'd love to go. Researchers discovered that even looking at a calming scene and imagining yourself in the middle of it reduces those stress-inducing hormones.

Rent a comedy! We all know that laughter isn't a joke when it comes to creating a chemical reaction in your body. Not only does it cure the blues, it can stimulate muscle relaxation, send an increased dose of oxygen to your brain, reduce your heart rate and even lower your blood pressure. The result is a peaceful, easy feeling!

Capture an inspirational quote. Find those sentiments that bolster your spirit and put a few around your home on Post-It Notes to reflect on when you need that emotional boost.

 "I'm a lover of coffee so when I need a lift out of the ‘blahs’, I make a coffee. But it's not just the coffee, it's the act of making the coffee, from grinding my favorite local roast, the smell of the fresh grounds, pulling the shots and making the perfect foam. It's a private moment no one else can share." ~Linda Heins

 Be Thankful! Take time each day to write down at least three things you are grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal and reflecting on your entries is bound to help you count your blessings.

Take in a little sunshine. Spending a few minutes each day to catch some rays helps your body to increase its levels of serotonin, a.k.a. the happy hormone.

Catch enough Zzzzzs! Studies show getting less than eight hours sleep can lead to irritability and even binge eating.

Take time to stretch. Just by doing simple movements to improve your flexibility, you'll release any tension that's been stored in your neck, shoulders and back. Mix in some deep breathing and you've got a sure-fire way to exhale the day's troubles.

Have a 30-second dance party! Crank up the tunes and let your body move and groove. Not only will some of your favorite songs channel good feelings, raising your heart rate will help the oxygen flow to your brain making you more alert and energized.

"I get a mood booster in one of two ways. I call my friends for a quick get together. They always lift my spirits without even knowing I need a boost! Or, I have a day of total "schlumping", meaning no demands and no meal preparation (bean dip and Fritos – yum). I say no to laundry and just stay in my jammies watching mindless TV and catching up on stacked up magazines. I love it! The best part — no guilt allowed!" ~ Pam Purinton

Play like a kid! Grab some sidewalk chalk, take your bike for a spin or have a roller skating date with your hubby. Not only will you be reminded of some of the best memories of your childhood, you'll take time to smile and enjoy a more carefree youthful spirit.

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