Articles on mood

10 Foods to Improve Your Bad Mood

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
We all have days with bad mood where our brain decides there’s no way out of it. This natural gesture affects our productivity at work or creates an unexpected sensitive situation for our family members as well.Have you ever wanted to know the reason behind this cranky mood? Ever wondered why is it that whenever we feel upset or depressed about something we binge on our comfort food and repent later?The “Foods” which we eating on a daily basis are one of the major factors. It's time to keep a check on the things which we are eating or drinking on a daily basis.The following logics will answer all the doubts that each one of us might be living with since days, months, or maybe years.How  Can Food Affect my Mood?It is really important to explore the relationship between what you eat and how you feel. Here is an self assessment which you should first do.Are you eating regularly?                  Yes/NoDo you keep yourself hydrated?       Yes/NoAre you eating enough protein?        Yes/NoAre you having too much caffeine?  Yes/NoDo you include fruits and vegetables in your diet  Yes/NoIf Answer (1.) is No: This means your blood sugar drops which is why you feel tired, irritable and depressed. In this case your body holds on to high calorie stuff, which always worsens the condition. You should eat regularly to maintain your sugar levels. It is better to choose foods that release energy slowly such as oats and whole grains, proteins rich foods, nuts and seeds.If Answer (2.) is No: If you are not drinking enough water, you will not able to think clearly and your level of concentration will drop. Moreover you will also feel constipated. You should drink water regularly and include some good drinks like green tea, buttermilk throughout your day.If Answer (3.) is No: Protein contains amino acids which actually makes up the chemicals your brain needs to regulate your thoughts and moods. So it is always better to include good sources of protein in each meal. These could be eggs, chicken, legumes, nuts and seeds.If Answer (4.) is No: Having too much caffeine can make you depressed and anxious or disturb your sleep. You should always say no to the products that contain caffeine -Tea, Coffee, energy drinks and colas.If Answer (5.) is No: Vegetables and fruits contain vitamins and minerals that keep you physically and mentally healthy. It is important to include 2 to 3 servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, not only for good mood but also for a healthy, disease free life.This assessment brings you a step closer to a solution. Work on your food habits for a happier and healthier You :)For instant gratification, here are 10 foods that are known to help improve bad mood:1.Dark Chocolates: Chocolates, in general are loaded with chemicals that enhance mood, serotonin in particular.2. Yogurt: Besides being a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin B12, yogurt also contains a whole lot of useful bacteria which keeps our immune system intact and helps our stress combating ability. Studies have also shown that yoghurt can improve fat loss. 3. Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes help in reducing stress levels as they satisfy the body's craving for carbohydrates and sweets.   4.Nuts: The next time you're feeling down, help yourself to some crunchy nuts.5.Water: Lack of sufficient consumption of water leads to dehydration and even a small case of dehydration can cause stress. So, drink up!6.Fish: Fish is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein and importantly, Vitamin B 12 which is an important component for producing serotonin- also known as the happy hormone.7.Asparagus: Asparagus is rich in folic acid and also contains magnesium- both of which are popular for their mood-lightening properties8.Oranges: Oranges are a rich source of vitamin C containing up to 1000 mg of it. They also contain antioxidants which prevent the formation of free radicals that cause cell damage.9.Green vegetables: They provide stress relief, helps enhance mood with regard to depression, panic, anxiety and other emotional disorders. Many green veggies contain potassium which greatly helps calm one's nerves when stressed.10.Dried Apricots: Apricots are a rich source of natural sugars and, hence, another perfect option to beat those sweet cravings. A handful of dried apricots are bound to make you happy and healthy.

Food and Nutrition: Boost Your Mood With Some Food

Dr. Sangeeta Malu, Dietitian/Nutritionist
If you thought poor nutrition only affected the poor, think again. Millions of human beings across the world suffer from under-nutrition. Under nutrition refers not to lack of access to food, but to the body's inability to absorb nutrients. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. This doesn't apply only to your physical health, but to your mental health as well. Here are some things you should know about foods and your moods.  Say NO! to these foods1. Dump the junkMost fast foods contain trans-fats, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners and other synthetic ingredients and have little nutritional value. These ingredients have been linked to irritability and depression in the long run.2. Sugar and glutenThe sugar and gluten present in some foods affect mental health. Consuming them in high quantities will suppress BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) activity BDNF is a growth protein which keeps brain neurons healthy. This can lead to depression, schizophrenia and other mental problems in people.Say YES! to these foods1. Omega-3 fatty acidsFoods like flax seed, walnuts and salmon contain Omega 3, which affects neurotransmitter pathways in the brain, and improves heart function by reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.2. L-Tryptophanis an essential nutrient for brain function. This amino acid is responsible for the production of a chemical called serotonin, which is used to treat people with depression. This can be found in red meat, dairy products and turkey.3. MagnesiumThis vitamin helps maintain physical and mental health. Leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and avocados contain magnesium, and their regular consumption will keep your mood light and your body healthy.4. Folic acid and vitamin B-12Both these essential nutrients increase metabolism and production of blood cells, which keep the brain healthy.Low levels of these nutrients are associated with depression and mood swings. Folic acid is present in fruits and leafy vegetables, and vitamin B 12 in seafood, meat and dairy products.What we eat determines how we feel! So, eat right and boost your mood with nutrition dense food!

Five Tested Tips That Keep Your Mood Up

Dr. Rahul Kolamkar, Homeopath
Daily routines and fast lives have always been a source of mood swings. Today most people are suffering from mood swings knowingly or unknowingly. These mood swings, if repeated can bring a lot of stress because they impact our personal and professional lives. The outcome of this is sense of dejection. This dejection can project itself in the form of sadness, depression, gloominess, anger, and even sleeplessness. Then how can we over come it?Following are five result oriented tips to keep your mood up:Make a SMART scheduleA smart schedule is one which is specific, measurable, and time bound. This helps you keep all your tasks in line. Following this you can manage to complete multiple tasks throughout the day.Know when it's time to take a breakResearch has shown that the brain working continuously in one track gets bored easily. The other side is that brain finds it hard to concentrate on one issue for too long. Thus, taking a break makes the brain refresh and focus completely in the game again. Exercise regularlyExercise improves our health and increases our pain bearing capacity. It also improves the overall muscle strength. Regular exercise keeps the serotonin levels up, which is the hormone responsible for happiness. Read more or explore new musicIf you are interested in reading then read some books on self help. Books of interest bring joy to the brain. If you enjoy music then try to explore genres, find songs that soothe you. It has been seen that the brain responds well to music and functions better. Meditate regularlyMeditation is the key to maintain our inner stability. We build up a lot of expectations out of our daily lives and if not met, they make us feel sadness or anger. Both of these have can impact our health a lot. Meditation increases all the constructive activities of the body which are needed for healing or balancing our health. All these habits are time tested and have shown good results for anyone who has practiced them regularly. Consistency in following these is the key to successfully managing stress. 

6 Ways to Maintain Your Everyday Mental Health

Dr. Mehak Nagpal, Psychiatrist
When we feel physically unwell, most of us visit the doctor. But many of even when we feel we are in the wrong frame of mind, have bad moods, feel sick of ourselves,etc. we simply get on with life, not really being aware of the effects our behaviour and thoughts might be having on our general sense of wellbeing. With that in mind, here are six steps aimed at keeping you in top psychological condition. These are the areas that are important for building self-confidence and living a life that is not thwarted by anxiety or low moods. Where to focus your efforts and to seek help if that doesn't work. Work on accepting your situation: Accept what you don't like in your life. That doesn't mean you can't try to change it, but acceptance helps everything feel far more bearable as you work towards a happier situation.Be nice to yourself: Every human deserves the same kindness, love and understanding, even you.Make the effort to stay fit: There exists a definite link between mind and body. Your ability to cope with life is improved by a nutritious diet and a regular exercise programme.Connect with others: Lonely people are at greater risk for immune and cardiovascular system disorders, and sleep is often more of a problem for people affected by loneliness. Making connections with new people as well as tending to family ties is extremely important.Take time out for yourself: Work out what truly interests you and make sure it is a genuine decision, not one forced by anyone else's desires or limitations.Stay organised so you have to worry less.

7 Ways to Counter Routine Depression

Dr. Rohit Garg, Psychiatrist
In the recent past years, depression has become a part of our lives, with the ever growing demands of the modern society which hardly gives us time to introspect about our daily routine life. We are so involved in the superficial world and in keeping up appearances that we ignore foreseen problems in our lives whether they are emotional or financial.Let's look at some of the ways to fight regular depression cycles that we all face in our lives: Reduce social media activity- One should look to reduce the time spent on social media where often everything is glamorized and depicted in over the top manner. In the time saved one should dedicate it towards reading a book. This will significantly help you in diverting your mind and reducing the stress levels.Take a day off- When feeling de-motivated and upset take a day off from your routine life and go explore the city, visit museums, historical monuments, catch a movie or eat out. This will help you look at life from a different perspective, which may help you find a way to be more positive.It’s okay to cry- Psychologist state that it is better to cry sometimes especially for men when they no longer can hold on to a negative emotion. This instantly gives relief both within the heart and in mind and helps in thinking more clearly.Share your emotions- It is important to share your emotions with someone who values them, it lifts the burden of the problem to an extent and makes us feel more important. In case, you can’t trust anyone it is advisable to consult a psychology expert.Spend time with people who matter- It's in your best interest to spend more time with your friends and family when you are depressed. This makes you realize that your problems don’t only affect you but also your loved ones, being together at times solves more than half of the problems.Eat your favorite food- When feeling low order or make your favorite culinary delicacy, enticing your taste buds instantly helps in improving your mood and think more optimistically about life. At the end, we all earn money to eat food and maintain a lifestyle.Take a walk- Take a long walk alone or with your loved one in a park away from all the pollutants and automobiles. This will freshen up your mind and soul and help in facing things with a rejuvenated outlook.One fact that is important to note is that clinical depression which persists for more than 2 weeks should be brought to the notice of a psychiatrist and help should be sought for a healthy recovery.

I Am Do I Help Myself?

Dr. Milan Balakrishnan, Psychiatrist
Is there anything I can do to help my treatment?Absolutely, yes. First, you should become an expert on your illness. Since bipolar disorder is a lifetime condition, it is essential that you and your family or others close to you learn all about it and its treatment. Read our related blogs on depression and bipolar disorder.You can often help reduce the minor mood swings and stresses that sometimes lead to more severe episodes by paying attention to the following:Maintain a stable sleep pattern:Go to bed around the same time each night and get up about the same time each morning. Disrupted sleep patterns appear to cause chemical changes in your body that can trigger mood episodes.Maintain a regular pattern of activity: Don't push yourself too hardDo not use alcohol or illicit drugs:Drugs and alcohol can trigger mood episodes and interfere with the effectiveness of medications. You may sometimes find it tempting to use alcohol or illicit drugs to “treat” your own mood or sleep problems—but this almost always makes matters worse.Enlist the support of family and friends: However, remember that it is not always easy to live with someone who has mood swings. If all of you learn as much as possible about bipolar disorder, you will be better able to help reduce the inevitable stress on relationships that the disorder can cause. Even the “calmest” family will sometimes need outside help dealing with the stress of a loved one who has continued symptoms.It is okay to seek professional help. Family therapy or joining a support group can also be very helpful.Try to reduce stress at work: Of course, you want to do your very best at work. However, keep in mind that avoiding relapses is more important and will, in the long run, increase your overall productivity. Try to keep predictable hours that allow you to get to sleep at a reasonable timeLearn to recognize the “early warning signs” of a new mood episode:Early signs of a mood episode differ from person to person and are different for mood elevations and depressions.The better you are at spotting your own early warning signs, the faster you can get help. Slight changes in mood, sleep, energy,self-esteem, sexual interest, concentration, willingness to take on new projects, thoughts of death (or sudden optimism), and even changes in dress and grooming may be early warnings of an impending high or low. Pay special attention to a change in your sleep pattern, because this is a common clue that trouble is brewing. Since loss of insight may be an early sign of an impending mood episode, don’t hesitate to ask your family to watch for early warnings that you may be missing.All this will help you tackle bipolar and reduce relapses so bring it on BIPOLAR!!

Bipolar Disorder- What Is It? (Symptoms)

Dr. Milan Balakrishnan, Psychiatrist
What Is Bipolar Disorder?Bipolar disorder, also commonly known as manic depression, is a brain disorder that causes shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can result in damaged relationships, difficulty in working or going to school, and even suicide. There are generally periods of normal mood as well, but left untreated, people with bipolar disorder continue to experience these shifts in mood. The good news is that bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?Bipolar disorder can cause dramatic mood swings—from high and feeling on top of the world, or uncomfortably irritable and excited, to sad and hopeless, often with periods of normal moods in between. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.MANIC PHASE• Feeling on top of the world. A sensation of sheer and utter happiness that nothing—not even bad news or a horrifying event or tragedy can change.• Sudden or extreme irritability or rage. While mania is often portrayed as a pleasurable experience, that is not thecase for many people with bipolar disorder.• Grandiose delusions. Individuals believe that they have special connections with God, celebrities, or political leaders.• Invincibility or unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities. The person feels that nothing can prevent him or her from accomplishing any task.• Hyperactivity. Scheduling more events in a day than can be accomplished; inability to relax or sit still.• Excessively risky behavior. Reckless driving, outlandish spending sprees, foolish business investments, or out-of character sexual behavior.• Uncontrollable racing thoughts/rapid speech. Ideas that abruptly change from topic to topic expressed in loud, rapid speech that becomes increasingly incoherent.• Less need for sleep.DEPRESSED PHASE• Intense sadness or despair. The person feels helpless, hopeless, and worthless.• No interest in activities they once enjoyed.• Loss of energy, fatigue.• Sleep difficulties. Either sleeping too much or not at all.• Changes in appetite. Either a noticeable increase in appetite or a substantial weight loss unrelated to dieting.• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions.• Thoughts of death or suicide.PS. 30th of March is World Bipolar Day. Birthday of Vincent Van Gogh who committed suicide due to the disorder. Follow #WBD2016 #Mumbai on Twitter.

6 Important Thoughts About Life

Dr. Swapna Patker, Psychologist
Depression is becoming common these days. People have many reasons to feel sad depressed and suicidal. More the advancement, more the expectations from life and more the disappointments. Less marks in exams, love break up, death of loved ones, professional disturbances, joblessness, loneliness, insults and helplessness are a few highlighted reasons that lead to severe depressions and suicides. Younger generation is less tolerant and gives up on the intimidation of every thing that's not as per their thinking. Of course, the pressure on the generation now is too high, to perform well, to live well, to look good and to be accepted. In the bargain, the mental health goes for a toss. Suicide is not an option at all. Meeting a psychologist and taking help is more easy, ethical and intelligent than leaving this world for some reason that could be sorted. 6 Important Thoughts that you need to know about life are: 1. Depression is a choice. If you allow too much negativity to seep in your thought process, you are bound to feel low. Positive attitude of people keeps depression away from their minds. Practice positivity for a depression free life. 2. Don't depend your life on people's judgements about you. Believe and respect yourself. Don't fall for over appreciation or hurting comments and insults of people. Don't give up your mood or  life because someone said something wrong to you. Be aware of yourself and don't let anyone tell you your worth. Take control of your self image and self worth. 3. Be comfortable with yourself. The way you look, the way you are and the way life is treating you is your life. Accept it. There are sarcastic and condescending people in this world, learn to mute them in real life. Don't let that affect your peace. Your life is precious; it's not worth giving it up for people who do not accept you the way you are. Learn to accept facts about yourself and plan to make the most out of whatever you already possess. 4. Mental wellness is more important than physical beauty and worldly pleasures. Skin colour, disability or illnesses should not be issues of depression in life. Love yourself. Some people intend to corner you and make things difficult for you. Don't fall for their trap. Safeguard yourself from people who are not concerned about your well being. 5. Each one feels low or lonely at some point time in life. Some succumb to the pressures of emotional turbulences and some get swayed away into the limbo called hopelessness. Take charge of your feelings and elevate yourself every time such negative thoughts touch your mind. 6. Help is available. If you ever feel that your mental pressures are beyond your control, take help of a psychologist or a counselor. Don't hesitate. It's better to take help and sort things than spoil or give up a precious life . Life is beautiful, if you can see it that way. Life will treat you the way you see it. Practice positivity and love yourself.

Simple and Effective Tips for a Stress Free Life!

Dr. Milan Balakrishnan, Psychiatrist
Sleep and RestOften, we just need a good night´ sleep or 6-8 hours for a fresh mind. Then it becomes easier to focus on what is happening around us and to function smoothly. Stress may lead to sleep-related disorders like sleep apnea and in serious cases, insomnia. When the same issue keeps playing in our mind repeatedly, it becomes difficult to change the focus to the need for sleep as opposed to getting rid of the problem.RelaxationMeditation, yoga, spa treatments, herbal remedies can all reduce stress. Practice deep breathing if you do not have the time to plan out a relaxation schedule. Visualize pleasing situations and concentrate on the present. Special aromatic oils and music are also known to soothe your senses.Deep BreathingHave you ever noticed your breathing pattern when you are tense or under stress? It is usually shallow, jerky and unsteady and from the chest region. Until and unless this shallow, erratic breathing is replaced by deep and even breathing from the abdomen, the body will continue to be in a state of tension. Practicing abdominal breathing makes us feel calm and relaxed, mentally and physically.Muscle relaxation trainingOne of the most tangible experiences of bodily stress is muscle tension or a tight contraction of several muscle groups in the body. By consciously doing the opposite, i.e. learning to keep the muscles loose and relaxed you could induce physical ease and mental calmness. To do this you have to first tense a set of muscles deliberately, as hard as you can do to feel real tension and discomfort in the muscles. Then slowly allow the muscles to relax and become aware internally the difference between tension and relaxation.VisualizationThrough the power of creating positive, desirable images in your mind, you can literally wish away tensions and relax both your body and mind. All you have to do is to sit or lie down in a quiet place, close your eyes and allow your mind to form mental sense impressions — using all the five senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste — create visions, scenes of your own favourite place, real or imaginary. As you do so, affirm verbally your ability to relax ´(I am letting go of tension from by body´ or ´I am calm and peaceful, etc.)´. Practice this thrice a day for 5-10 minutes regularly and then increase the time.MeditationMeditation is not necessarily a religious practice, nor is it just a form of rumination or mind control. Meditation is a process of making the mind free from disturbing thoughts. It teaches you to let your mind wander free and leads to pleasant experiences, heightened awareness and higher states of consciousness. It allows you to see yourself in a true perspective of being an observer, while being a part of it. It is deeply relaxing and rejuvenatingHobbies/RecreationMusic, films, theater, painting, concerts, television, spectator sports, adventure sports, or amusement parks can all be regularly spaced out into your life to provide the much needed diversion from stresses of daily living. They may mentally block out stressors, providing a refreshing and safe outlet that enables the body and mind to regain balance and negate the ill effects of stress response.PostureKeeping your back straight and neck upright will help to prevent muscular strains. You may often feel more tired and stressed because some part of your body aches.ExercisePhysical activity helps to release negative energy. Exercise of any kind is indispensable to good health, and if done consistently can provide a safe outlet for our day to day stresses and frustrations. It relaxes the muscles, floods the brain with oxygen, renews energy, regulates sleep and appetite, makes one more alert. Exercise also releases natural pain killers in the body and chemicals in the brain to improve mood and concentrationJogging, biking or swimming done at least 3-5 times a week or games and sports like tennis, golf, badminton is highly effective for younger persons. Aerobics, squeezing special stress balls and walking or playing in a park will help you to regain focus on the simpler joys in life.Eat RightWhat you eat can promote or relieve stress. Stay healthy and stress-free by taking time out for meals, eating at regular times and avoiding sugars and fats. If you are stressed out and need a break from anxiety, try foods low in fat and protein and high in complex carbohydrates for a calming effect. If you´re looking to concentrate your energy to help get you through a stressful day, look for food that enhances alertness. Try to avoid drinking too much caffeine to get you through the day as it makes it difficult to relax when you get home.Dark Chocolate and StressEating dark chocolate seems to have a lot of potential benefits. Recent studies shows that eating dark chocolate may lower levels of stress hormones in people feeling stressed out. Researchers found that eating the equivalent of one average-sized dark chocolate bar (1.4 ounces) each day for two weeks reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as stress inducing hormones known as catecholamines in highly stressed people. It was noted that dark chocolates partially corrected other stress-related biochemical imbalances. Cocoa which is one of the main ingredients of chocolate has also been found to be rich in a class of antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been linked to a number of health benefits.Social SupportTalking about things that bother you will help to give vent to your emotions and help to clarify the exact nature of problems. It may be possible to create a counselling or peer support group of say, women suffering from domestic violence, but these issues need not be the only reason for like-minded persons to come together. Kitty parties are an example of social support groups where it is easy to share one´s feelings and problems.Keep a DiaryIf you are afraid of being judged by other people when you pour your feelings out to them, then a personalized way to vent your thoughts and emotions is by keeping a diary. Going through the diary may give you peace and the ability to look back, in retrospect and realize how trivial some problems are.LaughLaughter reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body. It increases the level of health-enhancing and antibody-producing cells enriching the body´s immune system. As a physical and emotional release, laughter distracts us from guilt, shame, anger and other negative emotions while connecting us to those around us. So laugh away your blues and your tensions.Encourage, reward and love yourself!Never underestimate your potential. Believe that you can achieve all that you set out to if you work conscientiously. While it is good to be meticulous, do not worry or get upset over small details. Take them in your stride and move forward. Reward yourself for making small things happen like getting an A grade, or having a productive day at work or pursuing the hobby of your choice.