Beat the Blues

BEAT THE BLUES

The tinsel’s down, it’s no longer acceptable to eat mince pies for breakfast and you’re definitely going to go to the gym every day this year…ah, another January has arrived. And, while the prospect of 365 days ahead and fresh starts fills some people with excitement, for others, this time of year evokes negative feelings and anxieties.

Blue Monday also falls this month – the third Monday in January is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, with a combination of the weather, debt problems, low motivation, returning to work after Christmas and abandoned New Year resolutions all contributing to low moods. In short, unless you’re jetting off somewhere sunny or hibernating until April, you’re going to have to face the world. But, fear not – we have ten easy ways for you to beat the blues – and they even include drinking wine and going shopping. You are welcome.

Beattheblues

EAT YELLOW FOOD

Forget eating certain nuts and seeds to boost your mood – the trick could be in the colour instead. New research has revealed that happiness may in fact lie in eating yellow foods. Research from The Happy Egg Company found that consuming yellow food releases significant levels of happy hormones, because we associate the bright colour with feeling joyful.
Apparently the reason we love yellow so much is deep rooted
in our childhood. According to psychologists, children associate yellow with happiness due to it being the bright colour of children’s toys and sunshine.

GET CREATIVE

If you’ve been putting off taking up a new hobby, especially a creative one, then now’s the time to start. Studies have found that engaging in creative activities contributes to an ‘upward spiral’ of positive emotions, psychological wellbeing and feelings of ‘flourishing’ in life. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an artist – anything from trying out a new recipe to creating a Pinterest board and searching for shoe inspiration counts.

FALL IN LOVE

While the idea of winning the lottery or thinking up a million pound business idea seems like the dream, the reality is that having a partner makes us happier than having a payrise. According to a study by the London School of Economics, finding love and enjoying good mental health are the most important keys to a happy life, with increases in income having a very small impacts on overall happiness. Turns out money really can’t buy happiness…

DRINK WINE

Although we’re always reading articles about the negative effects of wine, let’s pause for a moment and focus on the fact that wine can actually make us happier. The alcohol stimulates the release of several neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, and opioid peptides. These natural brain chemicals will produce pleasurable feelings like euphoria, reward, and wellbeing. The good news is that if you practice moderate drinking, you will feel this chemical release every time you have a drink. Of course, we only ever have the one…

INDULGE IN SOME RETAIL THERAPY

Yes, we all know that we’re supposed to de-clutter for a calmer life and mind, but, when science says that shopping makes us happier, resisting that spending splurge becomes a little trickier. When you’re having a terrible day and you buy something, this causes your brain to release more serotonin, which is a chemical that makes you feel good. Some studies suggest that just coveting an item you’ve seen is enough, but we’re all for making the purchase…

ADMIRE SOME ART

If visiting a museum or art gallery isn’t on your list of weekend activities, then perhaps think again – especially if you’re feeling a little blue. Research shows that not only can visiting a museum reduce the risk of anxiety and depression, frequent visits have a similar effect to receiving a pay rise. Although, maybe try and get the raise too, so that you can splash out on some of the art you’ve been admiring…

SLEEP
Many of us are guilty of not getting enough sleep, but perhaps it’s time to start getting some more shut-eye. As well as having lots of benefits, like making you more alert and helping your skin, getting enough sleep is also one of the best ways to boost happiness. Studies have found that those who get between seven and nine hours every night have fewer negative thoughts and are less stressed. Time to prioritise that pillow…

SNAP A SELFIE
Taking pictures of oneself can be viewed as narcissistic, but studies have shown that those who regularly take selfies could actually be happier, due to the act of repeatedly or regularly smiling. But, before you up the amount of daily pictures you post in the pursuit of happiness, it’s worth remembering that last year, more people died worldwide while taking selfies than from shark attacks, so choose your scenarios wisely…

WORK OUT
This wouldn’t be a New Year feature if we didn’t mention exercise, and its blues-banishing power. But, it may come as a surprise that you actually don’t need to spend hours at the gym to feel better. Just moderate amounts of exercise lasting 20 to 30 minutes can trigger endorphin release, and, even better, if you’re new to fitness, you’re likely to feel the effects even faster.