May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Diagnosis of and medications for conditions such anxiety, depression, and ADHD are rising and at an all time high. This comes as no surprise with the increasing amount of physical, chemical, and emotional stressors that the modern American is exposed to. As chiropractors, we do not diagnosis or treat mental health in any way, but we want to give you 5 things you can do to boost your mood, no matter where you are.
- Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is one of the easiest ways to boost happiness – you can practice it literally any time of the day, in any way (written, drawn, alone or with others, spoken, mental). There is now a body of research pointing to how practicing gratitude on a daily basis can boost your mood, help you feel better in body, mind and spirit, just see this link. The easiest way to practice gratitude is to start a gratitude journal. Every morning and every night write down 5 things you’re grateful for. You can also practice gratitude by telling someone who has made a difference in your life.
Getting a workout in is always an effective way to boost your mood and overall energy. Exercise will increase blood flow to the brain as well as cause your body to release mood-boosting endorphins.
You can reap the benefits from doing either strength training or cardio workouts. If you’re pressed for time, try doing a tabata workout (Read our blog on tabatas HERE).
- Take care of your gut
If you have an interest in healthy eating, you’ve probably heard about the gut-brain connection. There is a direct correlation to the health of your gut and your mental health. People who tend to have inflamed and leaky guts will also have inflamed and leaky brains. When proteins from our foods are able to slip into our bloodstream and pass the blood brain barrier, our brain’s immune system attacks these proteins and causes an inflammatory response. This can lead to symptoms like anxiety, depression, and ADHD. If you’re concerned about gut health, start by drinking a serving of bone broth with each meal and avoiding inflammatory proteins such as gluten and dairy.
- Spend time with nature
Spending time outside will ground you with nature and help calm your body. Activities such as gardening, going for a hike, or even sitting outside on the ground have all been shown to reduce stress and boost your mood.
- Get Adjusted
Outside of the plethora of other benefits chiropractic adjustments have on the body, they also can help regulate emotions. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to lower the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. When your body produces less of these hormones, your body will be in a relaxed state, making you less likely to feel anxious or depressed. In addition, when chiropractors make adjustments to the top bones in your neck, pressure is taken off of the brainstem, which is a key area for regulation of emotions.