When You're Down, Try This 15-Minute Pick-Me-Up
Having a bad day? This tip should cheer you up because it's all about instant gratification. When you're down in the dumps, lace up your sneakers and go for a brisk walk. It's raining? Sweltering? Put on some music and dance madly like Andy Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers (women, this guy is more than just a great basketball player). You can expect a mood boost in a mere 15 minutes, and happier thoughts if you keep it up for another 15. Then, do it again tomorrow.
Why? Because if you'e one of the 8% of North Americans living with low-level or even major depression, getting a move on can ease your blues. Even if you'e already taking antidepressants or seeing a therapist. A new review of studies on exercise and emotional well-being concludes that when you're mentally down and out, physical activity may put your mind and emotions on the road to better days as well as any single drug could. Try these three healthy comfort foods for another natural mood boost.
Yet it's often a missing link. The researchers say not enough mental health professionals "prescribe" activity. So it's a good do-it-yourself treatment. That said, check in with your family doc if you're depressed. Many people benefit from a little sweat equity, but severe cases also require professional help.
It takes just minutes for movement to let you notice the good stuff -- the bright-blue spring sky, the zowie new paint job next door -- and contemplate future pleasures. That's a great return on a daily 30-minute investment! Here's how to relieve stress and get peace of mind while you walk.
Looking and feeling younger is also a nice pick-me-up. Take the RealAge Test to find out how to grow years younger.